The Pink Predicament

By Wendy Clinch •  Updated: 02/26/13 •  2 min read

I used to hate the color pink.

For a color, it’s pretty complicated. Pink carries a lot of baggage. Pink means girl. It means sweet and soft. It means dolls and afternoon tea parties and ruffles and patent leather shoes.

As girls, we’re supposed to prefer pink. It’s drilled into us almost as soon as we’re born: pink is for girls, blue is for boys. Trouble is, I never had a thing for pink. It wasn’t just that I didn’t like the color. My preference has always been for red. I love the color’s vibrancy and passion and all the strength that goes with it. Pink? Meh. A weaker sister of red, it begged not to be taken seriously.

But as I’ve gotten older, my attitude toward pink has changed. Instead of finding it wimpy and weak, I find it sort of empowering. Maybe I’m just more confident or more secure with my femininity. Maybe it’s the result of all the pink ribbons associated with breast cancer awareness.  Or maybe I’ve just become more in-your-face about things that are associated with women. As in sure, it’s pink. It’s for girls. You’ve got a problem with that?

As women, it’s important for us to be proud of who and what we are. Pink lets us do that. When we wear pink, we’re proclaiming that we know we’re women, and that girls can be feminime and smart and strong and athletic, all at the same time. Pink keeps us from turning into mirror images of men. Which, lord knows, isn’t what we want to be.

I have a friend who skis wearing lots and lots of pink: a pink helmet and either pink pants or a pink jacket. She rips, too. Why so much pink? “I used to be mistaken for  a guy, and I didn’t like that,” she told me. “When people see me ski — especially little girls — I want  them to know I’m a girl, too.”

So I guess I’ve evolved. No, I’m still not nuts about the color pink. But I will give it its due. To me, pink has turned into the color of girl power and strength. Let’s give it the respect it deserves.

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