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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

Dear Daughters, Pink is Powerful

Dear Daughters,

Who would think that a single color could have such influence over people?  Although simply a toned down red, pink is arguably the most powerful color in the world. A simple pink ribbon symbolizes the fight to stop breast cancer. Pink t-shirt clad students symbolize the stance against bullying. Pink is said to be the color of love.  Pink skies are said to warn sailors of upcoming weather… “pink skies at night, sailor’s delight. Pink skies in the morning, sailors take warning.” Most recently, pink is the color of choice for Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl initiative. One of their most popular fundraisers is a Pink LemonAid stand.

Most famously, however, pink is known as a girl’s color. Because of the strong pink equals girl association, pink has the power to cause boys to refuse to wear articles of clothing, play with toys or eat off of dishes, simply because they are pink. You, my dear daughters, have seen it happen numerous times when your boy friends have been at the house. They have outright refused to borrow a t-shirt or even drink from a cup because they were pink. That is a lot of power for a color!

Pink shirts

Two dear daughters in pink shirts

What is ironic about this is that pink was not always a “girl’s color”. In fact, before the 1940s, pink was deemed more appropriate for boys and blue for girls. According to a June 1918 article in a trade publication called Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that 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.” And that was the beginning of gender identification by color in North America.

The reasoning behind the color choices indicates that almost 100 years later our attitudes haven’t changed much. Society still deems boys the stronger sex and girls to be more delicate and dainty.

Pink is just a color. It does not have a gender. I am hopeful that someday all colors can be worn by all people, regardless of their gender. I have seen many indications in the last few months that this change may happen sooner than later. At the beginning of this month, I saw a teenage boy wearing a white and pink helmet while performing tricks on his scooter at the local skateboard park. Also performing tricks at the same skateboard park alongside him was a pre-teen boy who proudly wore fluorescent pink laces in his sneakers. Only last week at your gymnastics’ class, dear youngest daughter, I saw a young boy wearing a pink t-shirt with Grover adorning the front of it. Pink was marketed towards boys and men in the 1980s and it seems that it is starting to make a comeback for our male counterparts again. And why shouldn’t it? Pink is a fun color. Why should they miss out on the enjoyment of it simply because they are boys?

2 Comments

  1. I totally agree with your article. Pink IS just a color! It is strange that we genderize colors. In Kansas, you will hear little boys saying purple is a GIRL color. These same boys then proudly wear their royal purple shirts to show their loyalty to K-State, their favorite college football team. Obviously, it isn’t about color. It’s about social influence!

    • Thanks for your comment! We have the power to change what we created. And I know a famous Canadian singer who happens to like purple too…isn’t that right Mr. Bieber?

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