Alas, Poor Pink

Alas, Poor Pink

Kate Harding has a great article in Salon about the color pink.  Surely one of the most divisive colors in the spectrum in American right now.  (Although humanity has a long history of sending colors in to fight our proxy wars.  Think of the Crips and Bloods.  Talk to a Jewish person about brownshirts.  Ask an IRA member to wear orange.)

Pink is a minefield for third wave feminists. 

On the one hand, you want to actively resist labeling girls with the color pink, and speak out against things like the "laptop for girls" (which is a regular laptop, but pink) or the "car for girls" (which is a regular car, but pink), or the "camera for girls" (which is a regular camera but.. you get the idea).

On the other hand, a lot of females (girls and adult women both) LIKE pink.  And you know what?  It is okay for girls and women to like things.  Women are free to choose whether they want to pursue a career or work as a stay at home mom.  Girls are free to choose if they want to play with Lego or Barbie.  These are all valid choices!

And on the third hand (yes), many third wave feminists actively embrace and support the color pink.  Pink stands for femininity - there's no point arguing otherwise.  In which case, do we not embrace and support femininity?  Do we not seek to honor and respect that which is feminine? 

And if so, aren't we kinda beholden to defend the color pink against its attackers?

Things get even more complicated when you edge into "breast cancer" territory.  The pink ribbon is ubiquitous.  I accidentally bought some pink yogurt last week.  You can clothe yourself head to toe with breast cancer awareness gear.  I'm pretty sure you could literally live your entire life only eating, touching, wearing, and purchasing pink ribbon items.

Breast cancer research is good, right?  Sure, I'm a fan of research.  But I think a lot of companies are getting a little too sanctimonious with the hard sell, donating too small a percentage of their profits to research foundations, and using the all-purpose but ultimately sort of useless term "awareness" to indicate "a thing you should buy in order to feel better about yourself for no good reason."

Wait, where were we?  Oh right: pink.

As a Breyer Horse blogger, I spend a lot of time talking to teenage and pre-teen girls.  And let me tell you something: these girls know what they like.  If they like pink, then trust me: they like pink.  They haven't been brainwashed or browbeaten into it.  These girls, they don't brainwash easily.  And if they want to like pink, then I support them in that.

(If they maybe want to like a secondary color that's a little more subtle but still fun and interesting, like coral, or salmon, or periwinkle, or Payne's grey, or cyan, or tangerine, then I support them in that, too.  Just sayin'.)