Pretty vacant in pink

// 31 May 2008

Goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love
In my pink cadillac

Carrie recently made a technology-related post (link here) which captured my geeky attention. She was looking to buy a new USB memory stick and her search turned up, amongst other things, a model which had as its unique selling point the fact that it was pink and "designed specially for women of all ages". As Carrie rightly pointed out, the only real consideration when buying something like this is that you get the highest storage capacity for your price range, and not what colour it is. She also questions the manufacturer’s apparent interpretation of the word ‘feminity’ to mean ‘pink’.

And while I agree that the advert is sexist and an insult to the intelligence to make that suggestion, I must confess that I find it really hard to understand why the colour pink has these connotations. I don’t believe that any colour is inherently equated with any one state or condition: ‘pink’ certainly does not mean ‘feminine’, but neither is it oppressive of itself. It doesn’t have any particular significance for me when I, for example, wear a pink T-shirt. I’m not making some coded political statement; the chances are it was just at the top of the stack of clean laundry that morning as I dressed, the first thing I grabbed and nothing more sinister. Am I to assume that, because I also like to wear black – like the Puritans did – that I am a moralising killjoy with an irrational belief that a mythical being has complete authority over humankind? No, Helen, now you’re being silly…

Society attaches meanings, yes, I know about that: this is the familiar territory of constructs and social/cultural conditioning, isn’t it? But why do we seem to accept unquestioningly those artificially attached meanings, at the same time as we rail against them? By which I mean: surely the connotation will only persist as long as we let it? "Oh Helen, it’s so anti-feminist of you to wear pink". Oh really? Why’s that, then? You see, I wear pink because I like the colour; I think it looks well on me. Accuse me of vanity if you like, fine. But I really don’t understand how wearing pink oppresses me, or how I’m participating in the continuing oppression of women by doing so.

However, I can understand the argument that I’m perpetuating the exploitation of cheap labour in manufacturing sweatshops, and that that perpetuates capitalism; not to mention the environmental costs of cash crop economies and the polluting effects of transporting the finished articles from factory to shop. But then, that applies to pretty much every item of clothing in every high street chain store and, let’s be honest, the colour of an item is pretty much irrelevant in that context.

If I wear a pink top because I like how it looks, maybe I’m just paranoid, but I feel I’m leaving myself open to being criticised for breaching some apparently unwritten feminist rule, which is – well, I don’t really know. The meme seems to be "pink = girly = bad". As far as I can tell, because pink has come to be irreversibly associated with women (for whatever reasons), it can now be used as a cipher, a symbol, a shorthand way to label women against their wishes and is therefore a form of insitutionalised oppression. Which, actually, I can understand in principle. So why don’t we reclaim it for ourselves, strip it of its symbolic (negative) meaning and give it a new (positive) one?


Okay, so pink is a girly colour, and I’m a bad feminist because I like it – we’ve established all that. But I think there’s a parallel thread to this argument, too, a trans* subtext, but I’m still working out how it ties in… Consider this timeworn criticism: by transitioning, trans* women simply cross from one ‘side’ of the gender binary to another and are therefore upholding that same binary, which is, as we know, a patriarchal construct used to subjugate and oppress women through sexism.

This hypothesis is then extended to add that trans* women are Teh Most Evillous because not only are we actively embracing our new-found femininity but are revelling in being ‘ultra femme’, thereby adding insult to injury by presenting to the male population a false stereotype of woman. Truthfully, I don’t doubt that there is an element of truth here, in that some trans* women do present in a very femme way. I’m not going to make excuses; I can even relate to it in a small way. But I don’t think it’s the heinous sin that some make it out to be; I think it’s simply an over-reaction, and quite possibly only transient (no pun intended). If you’ve spent most of your life repressing your identity, when you finally do ‘come out’, there is – along with the sense of a huge weight lifted – a wish to explore things which were previously denied you. I myself have never been that upfront about it – I don’t like trowelling on the makeup and doubt I could ever walk in a 4" spike heel – but maybe there’s an element of that over-compensation in me that manifests itself in liking the colour pink. I just don’t think that necessarily makes me a bad feminist, per se.

Only time will tell if wearing pink will turn out to be just a phase I’m going through. But to ease the boredom of waiting, I think I might just take something else to bits with my pink screwdriver… like the patriarchy…

(Cross-posted at bird of paradox)

Comments From You

Redheadinred // Posted 31 May 2008 at 8:39 pm

I’m as fierce a feminist as you’ll find, and I wear tiny skirts and high heels if I feel like it. I’m also into the japanese lolita style which involves frills and bonnets and bows, and I like pink. On the other hand, many days I just wear sloppy jeans and trainers and a man’s t-shirt. To me, being a feminist is much more than just ‘rights for women’, it’s about being able to be who I am, not restricted by gender, and that means wearing what I want, whether or not someone thinks it’s appropriate for my gender.

Beth // Posted 31 May 2008 at 9:01 pm

Lord do I know what you’re talking about. I really feel that as a feminist we’re on assault from all sides. Not only from patriarchy but from the people who are supposed to be our allies. I get so sick of feminists telling me I’m not good enough because I’m haven’t reached the highest height of radicalism.

I love make up, I hate high heels. I love Sex and the City, I hate According to Jim. I love pink, I hate Juicy Couture. But all of that should be meaningless. The personal isn’t always political and I think it’s our differences that make us so beautiful. If I enjoy something, doesn’t that fact give it some small element of meaning?

Torygirl // Posted 31 May 2008 at 9:45 pm

There’s a really fascinating book called Packaging Girlhood by Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown – it’s American, though. They also use ‘pink’ as a shorthand but one for the overwhelming spread of princesses, ballet, butterflies and flowers over everything marketed at little girls which turns alarmingly quickly into sexualisation. I don’t agree with a lot of what they say but they make some good points.

Anyway, that was a little bit beside the point. a couple of years ago I noticed a camera in Argos that in all the technological ways was identical to another model, it was just pink, which must have been the only reason that it was £10 cheaper. I thought it was really funny.

E-Visible Woman // Posted 31 May 2008 at 9:56 pm

I’ve got some pink clothing – but whenever I wear it I always feel slightly uncomfortable and have an underlying feeling of almost guilt for being too “feminine”.

I reject femininity as socially constructed, and I think we should all be free to wear whatever clothes we want, in whatever colours we want…

When people see me in the street wearing a pink top with frills, they don’t know about my world view and my beliefs – they just see a femme in pink. I find it a real dilemma!

Danielle // Posted 31 May 2008 at 10:15 pm

I used to be pretty judgemental of people who wear pink, especially my mum. But I realise how unfair this is, in fact it’s just another stereotype of femininity, and part of the whole de-valuing of anythink female.

And pink used to be a masculine colour (it was a form of red- the colour of “manly” passion, as opposed to the more subdued, feminine blue). Things change, and colours only have the meaning we give them.

Seph // Posted 1 June 2008 at 12:36 am

Since dying my hair pink a few friends have commented how I look more ‘feminine’ now, depsite the fact nothing about how I dress has changed other than my hair going from red to pink. It’s doubly stupid given the fact I copied my hair colour & style from a man @_@

MariaS // Posted 1 June 2008 at 12:41 am

When feminists critique the conventions of femininity, it’s not always (or should not be) actually an attack on women who practice them. Sure, maybe sometimes the speaker/writer really is being thoughtlessly judgemental, but often it seems to me that any negative comment on a feminine practice gets mistakenly interpreted as being a personal attack on other women.

It’s important to remember that women speaking critically about these practices are almost certainly women who’ve done their fair share of going along with them and may still do so. It’s not necessarily a ‘holier than thou’ thing, it’s far more likely that their critical feelings derive from personal experience of the negative aspects of that practice. Many feminine beauty standards involve expenditure of time and money – putting on makeup, removing body hair. Also, they can be sources of anxiety – of meeting those standards, of looking ‘right’, of the fear of being judged for getting it wrong (think of all those magazines that obsessively point out underarm hair, bad skin or other ‘flaws’ on celebrities, and their ‘bad’ fashion choices). Very importantly, these are time, money and anxiety costs that are not imposed on men.

Yes, there can be a lot of pleasure in beauty practices and dressing up, and I understand completely why you, Helen, find it freeing to be able to enjoy them, because when you were male you would have faced powerful negative social pressures to not publicly do these things. But for exactly the same reasons, powerful social expectations to be gender-conformist, other women may experience them as restrictive. To look at it the other way around, we often don’t have much choice or encouragement not to be conventionally “feminine”. Me, I prefer having no hair on my legs, and I honestly think they look better without hair – but I also know that one big reason I feel like that is that there are absolutely no positive media depictions of women with natural hairy legs. Often I don’t actually depilate, but then I will restrict what I wear so that my bare hairy legs don’t show – I just want a quiet life, I don’t want to stand out, I fear my leg hair being noticed. That’s a much bigger influence on my choice to depilate than any positive individual preference for how my legs look.

On to pink! I might just happen to prefer to have a pink memory stick, all other things being equal, but when I as a woman purchase that memory stick, that act inescapably reinforces the thinking of the marketers who think that to get women to buy technology you have to make it pink or otherwise prioritise appearance over other factors. Similarly for a woman wearing a skirt, or wearing make-up, or wearing pink, or whatever, she can’t help that other people with traditional ideas about gender presentation will interpret that as her being gender-conformist (and not a threat to those ideas about gender ).

(One very problematic thing about pink is its blatant role, within our culture, in conditioning children to accept and conform to the gender binary. Toys and clothes designed for girls are overwhelmingly pink. It’s used to signal “this is for girls and not for boys” and so reinforce the idea that things are just naturally divided that way. And remember, the gendered material choices we make as children or which our carers make for us, they are not totally free choices – we are choosing from what fashion or toy manufacturers choose provide to us, and their choices are shaped by gendered thinking).

The problem does not lie with individual women’s choices or preferences, nor is there anything inherently bad about the colour pink, or about makeup or about skirts or anything else coded “feminine”. The problem lies with the patriarchal society that we have all grown up in and live within, and which gives these things gendered meanings. A society where men are regarded as more important than women has a huge interest in preserving rigid and unambiguous gender markers – otherwise that difference in status is harder to maintain. Pink, makeup and skirts are things that men know not to choose if they wish to retain the respect of other men – socially the worst or most ridiculous thing for a man is to be “feminine”, like a woman, in any way. (And only women are ‘allowed’ to make a choice based on how something looks – and we’re thought frivolous and superficial when we do so). What we should aim for is a non-sexist culture in which pink, make up and dresses are truly free, de-gendered choices that both men and women make and take pleasure in.

(And if the critical words of feminists, or the feminist voices in your own head, about feminine conventions make you feel a bit conflicted about following those conventions, maybe in a way it’s actually pretty cool that you’re attributing more power to those feminist words and thoughts than to the mainstream, non-feminist, social and cultural messages that enforce those conventions.)

Freya // Posted 1 June 2008 at 5:46 am

There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a female nurse, kindergarten teacher, flight attendant, or secretary – even though those happen to be stereotypically female occupations.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with painting your nails, colouring your lips, curling your eyelashes, wearing a dress, or carrying a purse – even though all those things are classified as “feminine.”

Evaluate individual things for what they are. “Girly” things are not necessarily anti-feminist – but A LOT of what’s “feminine” is determined by a sexist social mentality, i.e. wanting to be a princess, wearing white for your wedding, tech/maths/science incompetence, screaming in fear/distress of trivial things.

Wear pink, it’s okay. Make sure you ask questions: Why is pink considered pretty? especially on girls? Think about the rigidity of femininity and masculinity i.e. Both girls and guys can wear trousers; girls but NOT guys can wear dresses.

God forbid, do not do “girly” things just because you have a vagina and breasts. Do not deny yourself a pleasure (i.e. drinking beer, playing rugby) just because you don’t have a penis.

Wear pink if you want, don’t if you don’t want to. Pink is just another colour, its “gender” was imposed by a sexist society that feminists should defy.

Side note: Personally, I think feminism is not feminism if it does not protest the very concept of gender.

Gemma // Posted 1 June 2008 at 12:06 pm

Personally, I only hate that really light pink colour- I always think of it as ballet pink. Give me neon, give me magenta!

Personally I am not a ‘feminine’ dresser in that I hate skirts and dresses. But I always wear make-up, like heels etc. I think its just a matter of personal preference, really. Some women like to be deliberately ‘girly’ which I’m not into at all, but hey that’s fine.

My style icons are all male, mostly the sort of scene-kid type who wears ‘girl fit’ jeans anyway.

But yeah, I wouldn’t buy a pink USB stick in a million, mostly because the voices in my head tell me that the marketing exec who thought it up is either a misogynist or an idiot. That and its usually the sickly pink I hate. If the marketing was gender neutral and it was neon pink, I would buy it….

Anne Onne // Posted 1 June 2008 at 2:59 pm

(I tried to comment but had trouble, so I’m splitting my longer-than-usual comment into two. Apologies if it gets sent more than once!)

I’m glad you wrote about this. I think every feminist struggles to some extent. I still do, and I decided ‘F*** it!’ long ago. I’m perfectly willing to examine choices and their patriarchical implications and roots. I’ll admit that nothing is perfect and feminist, and that every day I’ll compromise in some way, whether through necessity or choice. I’m human. I hope to examine my actions and thoughts more and more, and become a better feminist and ally because of it, but it’s a life’s work.

But I won’t be a martyr for feminism. I have an obligation to myself to be happy when I can be, as well as an obligation to try and make the world a better place. My wearing something pink would not change the bigger picture for feminism nearly as much as my talking about the issues. Giving up anything ‘unfeminist’, even if I felt it was right for me, wouldn’t really change anything for other women overall, and would have a much bigger impact of making me feel guilty trying to fit in. I don’t believe guilt over personal choices is really a good thing, and I want to work to feel less guilty. God knows there are enough reasons women are made to feel guilty, and I want to end them all. I think that I can achieve much more by liking whatever I like, but trying to open discussion on feminism and how it is complicated in real life, than trying to live a theoretical ideal. I mean, if you can, and want to, great for you. But you shouldn’t be seen as less feminist for not being perfect, and ‘giving in’ and wanting a choice that is pushed at you 24/7. I can’t really see it as feminism fo berate individual women and blame them for staying at home/liking pink or fashion or anything coded ‘female’. For a start, how can we fight the pernicious rule of the patriarchy that everything associated with women is tainted, if we give into it?

I think there has to be a balance in how we examine these issues. That’s why I repeatedly go on about how feminists should analyse a choice or opinion, and not a particular person or their specific choice. Nobody owes me or anyone else an explanation. I can never know all their reasons, or the context, or what would be the best choice for them. This is a central tenet of feminism, but we need to remember this. Remember that we are trained by the patriarchy to be critical of women and their choices, and that identifying as feminists does not make us immune to this conditioning. We need to struggle with our own programming, and each time we comment or think about ‘femininity’, we need to examine what we are really critiquing: women or the constructs. It’s so easy to focus on the wrong thing, when we’re being trained to be petty.

Pink has connotations in society we can’t get rid of. But in the end, we as feminists can’t fight the patriarchy on every front, all the time. And we also have a duty to ourselves, to be happy. It’s important to analyse choices and social conditioning, and what role this may have in our decisions, but we’re fighting for the right to make every choice. If it makes you happy, and the ‘feminist’ alternative would make you unhappy, why should there be some moral obligation to pick the latter, especially when you’re not harming anybody directly?

Anne Onne // Posted 1 June 2008 at 3:00 pm

(comment continued- not a repeat!)

On the other hand, it is easy to get defensive when something you like that is unfeminist (or privileged etc) is discusssed. Partly because there is always a certain element of guilt involved when you know the context, and partly because some feminists, and people whore are misguided DO give women flack for these kinds of things.

It’s a two part issue. On the one hand, we need to work to be able to analyse choices, and live with the fact that the ones we make won’t always be a blow against the patriarchy. In the end, it’s about surviving, and trying to get some joy out of life whilst you can.

On the other, we need to encourage a feminism that is not about dividing women into groups based on which ‘side’ they fall on, but as real people who make real choices, none of which are easy, and that make choices that are not radical sometimes because they have to, and sometimes because they want to.

I don’t think ‘the personal is political’ was ever supposed to be about berating people for their overall fairly harmless personal decisions because they don’t fit the mould. Using the quote to justify bashing women who

And I say this as someone who can’t be arsed with a lot of stereotypically ‘feminine’ things (though I don’t think I avoid everything coded female, but these days, that’s a lot of stuff, and I am not giving up anything I enjoy because someone else thinks it’s ‘girly’!). I’ll be the first to complain that women should not be stereotyped, and presented with a narrow range of options,

I also think that it’s important not to fall into the misogynist trap of looking down on everything ‘girly’ like the patriarchy does. It’s not inherently bad, and we should remember that. What we’re really fighting for is that it’s not mandatory for women, not ‘allowed’ for men, and seen as a pathetic frivolous freak show. I just hate it when people go all ‘why do women do all these stupid silly girly things?’. Yes, heels are inconvenient, and I’m not particularly fond of them, but blaming women for a culture that penalises women for not fitting the mould, even when it is very uncomfortable, time-and money-consuming and potentially harmful to conform. We set women up in this gilded cage, and encourage them to conform, whilst looking down on them for doing so. And I do not think that we as feminists, people who want women to be treated equally, and supported, should play into the woman-bashing and femininity-hating side of things.

I just think I and everyone else should have the right to do whatever the hell we want with our persons without being accused of bringing down feminism. I’ll gladly fight for women’s rights to not wear high heels as much as anything. But I’ll also fight for their rights to not be seen as a traitor for doing so.

Chloe // Posted 1 June 2008 at 4:27 pm

I wear loads of frills, florals and pink, but I’m growing out my underarm hair. I’m just waiting for my friends to notice. Haha.

But seriously, a few years agoI would dress entirely in black because I wanted to be different. I dress the way I do now because I want to be myself :D

anna rannva // Posted 2 June 2008 at 12:39 am

i struggle with this sometimes, like, i really wanted to come to the anti abortion rally, but as i was wearing my normal day to day gear of 4″ heels, tight jeans and leather jacket i felt if i arrived, everybody would look at me in an evil way just cause i work in fashion and look in a certain way. but then i thought im being silly, but it still lingered in the back of my mind and i didnt go in the end, partly because of that and also something else came up. i sometimes feel i would be judged negatively by other feminists because the way i dress and my love of very high heels, as it is often said that they are the tool of male oppression, even though i dont wear them for any sort of sexy thingy, it just happens that if i wear flats i get all sorts of back and leg pain so i dont tend to wear flats often. it seems that sometimes the ladies just cant win in any way, damned if you do damned if you dont, eh?

Laura // Posted 2 June 2008 at 10:14 am

I was going to write a big reply, but MariaS beat me to nearly every point I wanted to make!

You’re not in any way a bad feminist if you wear pink, Helen. The critique of pink is based on the way in which it is used as a signifier for women and as an insidious form of oppressive gender socialisation for girls. If it’s not being used in that way then there’s no problem – it’s just a colour that you like to wear.

shatterboxx // Posted 2 June 2008 at 11:47 am

I was thinking about the issue of pink when the whole breast cancer merchandise thing started (you know, ‘buy this pink pen and one penny goes to cancer research! fits right in your handbag!’). The issue of the colour isn’t something a lot of people think about… I was pretty incensed at the use of it in the breast cancer campaign though because it reduced the struggle to gain support for a life-threatening disease into a fashion campaign. I talked to my friend about why everything to do with breast cancer had to be pink and she said jokingly ‘Because breasts are pink?’. I shrugged and said ‘Not if you’re not white.’ She looked genuinely surprised not to have thought of that, it just hadn’t occurred to her that pink does not necessarily have to be associated with women in this way.

Kate King // Posted 2 June 2008 at 12:17 pm

Pink is fine – it’s just another colour after all. But when used to market stuff to women it seems to be just a lazy alternative to actually thinking about what women might need from a product. The advert for the pink USB didn’t even mention its memory capacity as far as I could see. What does that say about the company’s approach to its women customers? That attitude is the target for attack, not what individual women choose to wear.

Anna – every choice we make about our appearance is used by someone to try to pigeon-hole us, so I would never criticise another woman for her personal choices. The freedom to be who we want to be is too important a goal.

Cockney Hitcher // Posted 2 June 2008 at 1:54 pm

Anna rannva, as someone who attended the rally to which you allude, I find the following comment unfair:

i struggle with this sometimes, like, i really wanted to come to the anti abortion rally, but as i was wearing my normal day to day gear of 4″ heels, tight jeans and leather jacket i felt if i arrived, everybody would look at me in an evil way just cause i work in fashion and look in a certain way.

From what I remember of the rally, there were people dressed in all kinds of outfits. But funnily enough I didn’t care or particularly notice what anyone was wearing because it was a demo, not a fashion show. I was more concerned about other things, like – let me see – the anti-choice bill that I was protesting. To insinuate that I (and feminists like myself) am shallow enough to resent your support for a cause I strongly believe in simply because you wear things that I don’t is pretty insulting.

Have you ever actually been treated badly by feminists who don’t wear similar things to yourself, or are you just making assumptions?

Chloe // Posted 2 June 2008 at 9:59 pm

@ Cockney Hitcher (nice name btw!):

I totally agree! Like any self-respecting feminist would judge another woman for wearing what makes her feel comfortable!! I would’ve loved to go to the demonstration but sadly I live too far away. It worries me that somebody is afraid of being judged at a feminist demo.

Kristy // Posted 2 June 2008 at 9:59 pm

To me its not about being a good or bad feminist but about how we (individually and as a group) address the problem: do we embrace the ‘bitch’ label or keep it as offensive? do we embrace pink or avoid it along with the annoying labels that go with it?

Society tends to put each woman into a box with a label depending on her appearance such as ‘slut’ or ‘girly girl’ or ‘tom boy’, and pink seems to be associated with ‘girly girl’. ‘Girly girl’ comes with its own set of stereotypes: virgin, dumb, hopeless, ditsy.

My point is, i personally find it difficult to be able to wear a pink shirt etc because of the way i am treated in society whilst dressed this way – i take my hat off to women who can wear without being treated differently, or at least without worrying about being treated differently.

why do they sell pink tools that don’t even work? Do they assume that we wont actually use the tools?

anna rannva // Posted 3 June 2008 at 1:01 am

to cockney hitcher-

“it was a demo, not a fashion show” indeed i forgot,thanks for the helpful tip, i thought i was going to a catwalk show. in my daily work, you have to dress like youre in a fashion show, and as i have had crappy reactions from feminists for this, im not just making assumptions. i just tend not to seek these glares and comments out. if youre insulted, im sorry, but i stand by this, if people are insulted by my personal experience and feelings/insecurities about the matter then thats just fine.

Cockney Hitcher // Posted 3 June 2008 at 9:13 am

indeed i forgot,thanks for the helpful tip, i thought i was going to a catwalk show. in my daily work, you have to dress like youre in a fashion show,

I think you may have misunderstood my comment. I wasn’t saying ‘it’s not a fashion show, therefore don’t dress as though it is,’ I was saying ‘it’s not a fashion show, therefore unfashionable feminists like myself don’t actually give a damn as to how anyone is dressed.’

I’m sorry you’ve had bad experiences; it just seems a pity (and unfair) to write off all feminists because of them.

George // Posted 4 June 2008 at 5:29 pm

@ Kate King

“Pink is fine – it’s just another colour after all. But when used to market stuff to women it seems to be just a lazy alternative to actually thinking about what women might need from a product. The advert for the pink USB didn’t even mention its memory capacity as far as I could see. What does that say about the company’s approach to its women customers? That attitude is the target for attack, not what individual women choose to wear.”

Exactly! It isn’t that feminists “shouldn’t” touch a pink Nintendo DS, in case they magically become unliberated… Rather, the problem is that manufacturers seemingly believe that all these dippy women just want the product to look pretty, non-threatening, “feminine” in their handbags, and probably couldn’t even handle the “masculine” power of… processing power? Storage space? Chrome and black packaging?

Technology (especially computer-related technology) is still a highly gendered affair – and the presence of pink USB pens just reminds me of that everytime I stumble upon them.

Northern Jess // Posted 4 June 2008 at 5:36 pm

I wouldn’t have worn 4inch heels to a demo because you are usually standing for hours and getting jostled around and what have you, and I don’t think its wise to put your feet through that, for your health (even if you say you do get back problems with wearing flats- which for me would raise questions about what age you started wearing heeled shoes and how that has affected your posture) or for other people’s toes you would be crushing by accidentally stepping on them.

If you work in an industry wear you ‘have’ to look a certain way I’d be more worried about that than anything else. Getting judged by your work collegues every day on what you look like sounds far more horrible that getting sneared at by a woman you don’t know, but happen to be standing next to on a one-off protest. If you are so worried by what people think of your appearence why do you work in fashion? Surely thats not going to do wonders for your self-esteem, to the extent where you are afraid of others opinions of yourself that you cannot publically protest an adjustment to the law that you believe should not be passed. Or is it the defending of your career choices, which include having to modify your appearance in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, you fear? I’m not having a go at your job, because I don’t do it, so I don’t know what its like, but I do know what it is like to have low self esteem and worry constantly about what others around you were thinking about the choices you had made in your appearance, and the best things I ever did was to a) stop wearing clothes that restricted my movement in any way or were inappropriate to the weather b) stop buying clothes from vendors that mass produce, as seeing other women in the same clothes as you who are thinner/curvier/taller/shorter than you and look therefore ‘better’ in them than the image of yourself you carry in your head, which makes you feel ‘ugly’ and therefore socially unacceptable, leads to depressive feeling of lack of worth. c) Stop reading ‘women’s’ magazines (I prefere to think of them as ‘gender-sterotyping capitalist role model picture albums’). Seriously, it will make you far happier in yourself if you realise that women arn’t all out to get you just because the media tells you they are (divide and conquer, ain’t it)

Amytiger // Posted 5 June 2008 at 1:10 pm

Pink clothing doesn’t really bother me, but pink tech really does. I make a concerted effort never to buy any tech that’s pink just cause some marketing executive thinks it should appeal to me on grounds of gender. *snerk*

Jen // Posted 7 June 2008 at 4:21 pm

The other day my boyfriend had a shower at my flat and he was walking around in my pink polka-dot (very revealing) dressing gown. I kept laughing at him and sarcastically told him he looked very “masculine”. He laughed and told me he is comfortable with his sexuality, he started prancing around the living room doing impressions of a stereotypical gay man. It was hilarious.

The problem is, why did I laugh and mock him when he was wearing a pink dressing gown? Why did he assume I was implying he was gay (which actually wasn’t my first thought)? Why did I buy the dressing gown in the first place?

The answers all lie, im sure, in the conditioning both men and women have constantly recieved toward colour, gender, sexuality, “masculinity” and “femininity” for centuries and, in my life span, through pop culture and the media.

I urge all men and women to wear pink – I think it looks good and I don’t think it interferes with your ability to be a “man” or a “woman”. It’s just a colour, regardless of what it connotes thanks to its manipulated symbolic construction.

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