Any fan of the new cover star for People's 2018 Beautiful Issue already knows the title is well-deserved. But it's Pink's progressive comments on gender that really make her the perfect choice for the magazine's annual issue. The singer is not only beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well, and she does her best to bring that outlook not only into her own family, but into the entire world around her. Just when you thought she couldn't get any more admirable.
The Beautiful Trauma artist, real name Alecia Moore, is married to Carey Hart and the mother to their two kids, 6-year-old daughter Willow Sage, and 15-month-old son Jameson Moon. And the closest term for how she's raising them is "gender neutral," although as Pink told People, even that label doesn't necessarily apply. In her cover story, she said,
"I feel like gender-neutral is in itself a label and I’m label-less. I don’t like labels at all so I believe that a woman and a girl can do anything. And I believe that a boy can do anything. So I have boys that flip dirt bikes and I have boy friends that wear dresses. It’s all okay to me. It’s whatever floats your boat. So that’s the kind of house that we live in."
Whether you label it as raising her kids gender neutrally or not, the idea is to bring them up outside of the standard societal expectations that might typically fall on them. "We are a very label-less household," she told U.K. outlet The Mirror in December 2017. "Last week Willow told me she is going to marry an African woman." And instead of reacting with either encouragement or discouragement, Pink reacted neutrally, by emphasizing another part of her statement. "I was like: ‘Great, can you teach me how to make African food?'"
It leaves room for her kids to figure out for themselves who they are, what they want, and, later on, whom they're attracted to. It gives her kids an early leg up on stripping away some of the stigma that can follow issues of gender all the way into adulthood. Just imagine if the people who are debating bathroom bills right now had gotten this kind of training in early childhood. Without hangups over the "differences" between genders, or what gender even is and if it exists, then the conversations politicians are having about this issue right now might be a lot less heated. And with transgender people's rights and safety seemingly hanging in the balance, that's a big deal.
Pink believes in giving kids the freedom to think and feel however they want, and she thinks that when it comes to disrupting traditional gender norms, the earlier, the better. As she continued in that same The Mirror interview:
"I was in a school and the bathroom outside the kindergarten said: ‘Gender Neutral — anybody,’ and it was a drawing of many different shapes. I took a picture of it and I wrote: ‘Progress.’ I thought that was awesome. I love that kids are having this conversation."
And as you can note, it's not just her kids she wants this for, but all kids. She's not pushing any agenda except for open-mindedness and curiosity, which is a really beautiful mindset, when you think about it. That's why it's such a big deal that Pink is covering People's Beautiful Issue, and with her kids right beside her, no less.
It shows that as a nation, Americans are moving steadily toward a world where progressive thinking is viewed as beautiful. Where everyone is welcome, where everyone is embraced, and where beauty is about more than just what you look like. For Pink, it means knowing who you are and extending love and compassion to those around you. And at this point, she has down to a science, even using her platform at the 2017 VMAs to share a story about how gender norms can be upended to help instead of harm.
Pink's 2017 VMAs speech revealed that Willow told her out of the blue one day, "I'm the ugliest girl I know," because "I look like a boy." But the singer transformed the moment into a positive one by showing her daughter that she'd gone through the same thing and came out stronger. As she recounted on stage, Pink asked her daughter:
"'Well what do you think I look like?’ And she said, ‘Well you’re beautiful.’ And I was like, ‘Well, thanks. But when people make fun of me, that’s what they use. They say I look like a boy or I’m too masculine or I have too many opinions, my body is too strong.’”
The crowd was already cheering, but she wasn't quite done yet. She added that she told her 6-year-old, standing in the crowd watching the speech, "Baby girl, we don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty."
That's exactly what Pink is doing on this cover — opening the world's eyes to more types of beauty. She's taking her own advice and raising her voice to make sure the world hears her, and turning the gravelly criticism from others into the world's most beautiful pearl.