Today I came across this month-old op-ed in which Barbara Ellen of the Guardian writes that the color pink infantalizes women, so it’s our responsibility to eschew it once we reach adulthood. This got me thinking about why my blog is partly pink, and also about my own personal history with the color.
As a little girl, I absolutely hated pink. In fact, I remember that liking pink vs. liking purple was, at the age of about 8, a foolproof way to determine whether a peer considered herself a mainstream kind of popular girl or a rebel in the making. Myself, I think I called light blue my favorite color for most of childhood. When the time came for me to become a Bat Mitzvah at age 13, I desperately wanted a powder blue dress for the synagogue service and party, but my mother steered me toward a more flattering ivory fabric with small embroidered flowers in various colors (it was lovely). I finally got the light blue dress for my middle school graduation.
Ironically perhaps, my reclaiming of pink happened around the same time I became explicitly interested in feminism. Sophomore year of college, which is also when I took my first women’s history class, I purchased a hot pink, patent leather rain jacket. I remember my boyfriend at the time wrinkling his nose up at the thing, but I got compliments every time I wore it, usually from other women who thought it was a gutsy choice. It’s still in my closet, but I haven’t broken it out in about a year.
I think for me, admitting that I kinda like pink became much more comfortable once my feminist identity crystallized. As a kid, I didn’t want to like pink because I was afraid of being exactly the type of soft-spoken girly girl that the color can conjure up. But now, I know that the content of this blog, for example, or of my personality, far outshines (I hope!) any color choice. So pink for me is a protest of sorts against an ideology that defines women more by their appearance than by the content of their character.