“The generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. The reason is that pink being a more decided and stronger colour is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department, June 1918
The above statement doesn’t typically reflect the sentiment we see today, with little girls dressed in daisy adorned pink dresses, in their pink painted nurseries and of course the pink blanket they’re nestled in from birth. Pink has a very colourful history, but society often forgets pink was a masculine colour and little boys often wore dresses a little over a century ago.
Pink has been used as a gender signifier for men and women, as a political signifier for communists, as a sexuality signifier for gay men, both through force by Nazi’s and reclamation within the modern gay rights movement. It has been shunned by second wave feminists wanting to embrace gender neutrality, welcomed back by the third wave, and now I believe we should see the power of pink.
So often we assign these connotations to something so flippantly without any kind of basis and society just rolls with it. I don’t think a colour should have to go through this much prejudice, inaccurate stereotypes about it and hate. (I believe this about people too, but in this day and age it’s dismayingly too political to believe in human rights so here I am defending the rights of a colour as it is more palette-able…get it?). Anyways, I’ve compiled a list of some things where pink has been embraced and its dignity once again restored, showing the power of this hue.
This particular hue of pink (RGB code 255, 145, 175) was found to reduce hostile, violent or aggressive behaviour by Alexander Schauss who researched this phenomenon. He tested his theory by painting prison cells with this hue and hostile behaviour dropped dramatically to zero in the pink space. Can you imagine?! It makes you think why don’t we Dulux up more spaces to enable a calmer mind frame for people to reduce aggression. Maybe a lick of pink paint could really do more good in the world than we realise.
This trailblazing organisation aims to eradicate gender bias in the sweetest way possible – with sweets! Traditionally in south Asian culture, having a boy is celebrated with gifts and Indian sweets such as ladoos, whilst having a girl is seen as burdensome in many cases. The Pink Ladoo Project has invited many into the conversation of gender equality with a box of their bright pink ladoo that you can buy via the providers listed on their site. Dismantling misogyny has never tasted so delicious!
This is actually a book that motivated this post, because the many women that have contributed to the book are all so inspirational in their own ways. It features words from Jameela Jalil, Kat Dennings, Lolly Adefope and many others describing what feminism means to them, actions they’ve taking for gender equality and some background on feminist theory. Oh, and of course the cover is a very pretty shade of pink!
Through the variety of women, we see how encompassing and empowering feminism actually is and it doesn’t mean you have to shun pink or burn your bra to be a boss. I thoroughly recommend it to all people that want to begin or are even settled into their feminist journey as this is written in a very relatable and accessible format.
Whether you’re a fan of Ms Minaj or not, whether you even enjoy hip hop or not, there is no denying Nicki’s influence in this genre that is often male dominated. She exploded onto the scene with her debut album Pink Friday going triple platinum complete with pink costumes, sets and wigs. She has amassed numerous accolades, been nominated for 10 Grammy’s, has been dubbed the Queen of Rap and is one of the most influential people in the world.
Labelled anti-feminist by some who claim her videos objectify women with her Barbie doll persona, and labelled empowering by others because of the way she owns and embraces her sexuality, Minaj is no stranger to controversy. I believe she is the latter and she has rocked the colour pink in a plethora of ways from stunning to sexy, all whilst changing the landscape of hip hop.
This Japanese protest group is known in full as Chūzetsu Kinshi Hō ni Hantai Shi Piru Kaikin o Yōkyū Suru Josei Kaihō Rengō (Women’s Liberation Federation for Opposing the Abortion Prohibition Law and Lifting the Pill Ban). Thank goodness for the abbreviation of Chipuren! It was led my Misako Enoki and you can tell what its main goals were from the lengthy name, but they also addressed legal rights in divorce and marriage, equal pay and women’s liberation in general. They wore bright pink hard hats to gain media attention. Whilst they disbanded in 1977, a mere five years after its formation, the pink hats and Enoki became a symbol of women’s liberation in Japan.
An NGO based in Ahmedabad, India, The Pink Foundation aims to instills independence primarily in women and children that are marginalized, with an emphasis on; entrepreneurship, employment, education and empowerment. All of these sectors are addressed so women can seek financial independence and children gain an education that will allow them to become future leaders.
All connotations of weakness and meekness are removed as here pink stands for; prosper, inspire, nurture, and knowledge. There is strength in the colour and strength in the work this wonderful organisation is doing to provide help in a holistic and sustained way, so that the people they work with can lead truly fulfilling and independent lives.
Get your tits out…and check them for lumps so you know what to look out for. Every October, you’ll see Breast Cancer Now raising funds and awareness, with an array of pink ribbons. The Big Pink (which happens 23rd October) is one of the most powerful, memorable campaigns, and it has raised £35 million to date.
Year after year, they raise awareness so that women and people with breasts know how to check their breasts properly, and how to seek advice if they have breast cancer. They raise lifesaving funds which go to research and treatment, with their ‘Wear it Pink’ campaign and bring a dose of amusement to something that can be an emotionally heart-breaking and physically draining time for those diagnosed with breast cancer.