I Google Imaged “pink” just to see what I’d get. The first picture?
So I switched over to just regular Google. The first two links were for Victoria Secret something-or-other, and then P!nk, the singer.
I was thinking about this because as I sat on my bed I noticed that there is a lot of pink on it. Pink bedspread complete with pictures of sparkling pink diamonds, a pink Hello Kitty sheet, and then a pink blanket on top. (Yes, I’m in college. The sheet and bedspread are from my little sister. Her bed was roughly the size of my dorm bed so we used these sheets, and my Grandma made the blanket.) I looked at it and thought to myself, What a girly bed. If a random person was to walk into my room, without knowing who lived there, the only reason they would think a girl lived there was from the pink bed. Everything else is Nightmare Before Christmas, Firefly, books, and pirates (Why hello, Johnny Depp. You’re looking quite well this evening). Well, maybe they could tell by how many bottles of shampoo I have. man alive, I have a few.
Now, why is pink a girl color? It just is, right? It’s only natural to see pink and think: girl! Why is that? Oh, right. I remember. It’s because when we’re born, girls are born in pink and boys are born in blue. No… wait. We wrap girls and pink, and boys in blue. Then maybe it’s because all girls like to play with pink toys, and all boys like to play with blue toys! No, no, that’s not right either. We make girl toys pink and boy toys blue. (And then we separate the toys into princess and superhero.)
Then how come pink? Well, I did a little bit of research trying to figure this out. Apparently, it’s been argued that way back in ancient times, when humans were hunters and gatherers, women were attracted to the red berries, and that sort of reddish tone became associated with women. Whereas men were associated with blue because they were always watching the sky for the weather; good weather, good hunt, or something like that. It’s also been suggested that women prefer pink because of the red tones, which women can see better because our sex chromosomes apparently affects our eyesight.
None of this is true. I already know why. It’s the market. Pink isn’t natural to girls just as blue isn’t natural to boys. We’ve just created it that way, and then we replicate it , over and over again buying pink dresses and hats for our little girls, because it seems “natural” to us. In fact, it’s not. In the early twentieth century, boys wore pink and red while girls were dressed in blue. (They thought that since pink was the stronger color, it was more suited for boys. And blue was a more delicate color, meant for girls.) And now for some reason they’ve switched.
Which is why I think it’s so hilarious when I get these “real men wear pink” things. As if a color could somehow negate your testosterone. This Real Men Wear Pink is a struggle not for manhood, not even from gender roles, but basically from the media and the market. The market has decided that pink is for girls, and we abide by this idea. We’re fighting ourselves. Ourselves, I say!
The market–Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, Kohls–has a sort of control over our lives. It affects us. We can see it in the clothes we wear, in the goods we buy, in the things we use. Remember back at the beginning when I mentioned all my shampoo? Why is that a girl thing? Because women are expected to have nice hair. Shiny hair. Bouncy hair. It’s supposed to smell good and look great, and when we tie it in knots it should hold strong. How many shampoo or conditioner commercials do we see a day? How many of those hair commercials are for women? Most of them. I’ve seen a few for men, but only a few.
What needs to change is not the markets, however. Because the markets are dependent upon something: us. For the markets to change, our attitude has to change. Pink was for boys, so the market sold pink boy shirts. Then, pink was for girls, so the market changed. Now I’m seeing more and more guys wear pink, and the stores are selling more pink boy shirts once more. Gone are the days when pink was only, just for, and specifically for girls. To change the world, we much only change ourselves, and the world will follow.