Did you know that it’s 2016 and we’re still yammering on about painting our little girls’ nurseries pink? Or apologizing for not doing it? “Well, I just don’t believe in gender-assigning/policing/stereotyping/pandering, so…” Why is this conversation even happening today? Where did “pink is for girls” even come from? Is it is old as the 1800s? Maybe, but it is kind of hard to know exactly what color this little girl is adorned in, isn’t it?
In actual fact, in 1918, it was Ladies Home Journal that advised parents (mothers, actually) to dress their boys in pink and their girls in pink. Why? “Pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl."Just a couple decades later, clothing manufactures began asserting the reverse preference, and this was quickly adopted by the Stepford Wives of America who are only too willing to acknowledge the moral and textile authority of retailers and other purveyors of cloth and linen designed for infants and children.
While it is true that there are some independently thoughtful women out there who understand that pink is just one color available to them and their XX-chromosome offspring, the intensely “pink marketing” of Victoria’s Secret, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and, well, the Pink Agency (marketing and media strategists) is a stark reminder that women even today are being constantly assailed by the notion that pink is for girls, pink is for women and that you are something other than a girl or a woman if you are wearing anything but (and let’s not even remark on what this says about boys and men who like to wear pink). Even allegedly progressive and innovative entrepreneurs like New York’s Audrey Gelman can only see pink when designing physical spaces that supposedly appeal to women. Gelman says, “"Sue me, it’s just a welcoming calming color."
IYHO, Ms. Gelman. It makes some women want to vomit cotton candy and never stop—hardly a soothing and calming sentiment. Would you like that on your cool, Danish floor? Of course, Ms. Gelman is betting on the fact that the type of woman who can afford her social space at a rate of $1,950 a year will also be the type of woman who will be effortlessly drugged by some pink pixie dust. And many will, but many will also hopefully consider whether this is how they wish to be identified and marketed to.
Pink is made to prettify, to feminize, to hyper-sexualize, to daintify and soften edges that perhaps don’t need amelioration as much as they need realization.