The tyranny of pink

In my younger years, I had a brief love affair with the color pink. I was 14, and pink was my thing. I had a pink room and pink clothes and pink sneakers and a pink portable tape deck. Pink earrings and pink makeup and a rosy outlook on life. Even my perfume was pink.

Then I did a 180 into goth territory. But that’s a story for another day.

Having said all that, I’ve long been disdainful of the pinkwashing of females everywhere. When I was shopping for gear for my first apartment, I came across a tool set “for women.” All of the handles were pink. The box was pink. They were regular tools…only pink. But they cost $5 more than the standard gray set.

I do not understand why someone would think I would spend extra money just for pastel tools. Now, if they were sized down to better fit my hands, I’d consider it. But being expected to pay more for such a cosmetic issue is insulting.

It’s not just tools, of course. Anything that can be offered in different colors and marketed to females for a slightly higher price point will be. Rarely (if ever) are there any differences besides color between regular items and items intended for women.

Perhaps there is a market for it. I’m not it, obviously, but I suppose there could be a legion of Elle Woods out there who live in Pepto-colored houses. I bought the cheaper, gray tool set and went about my business.

Only after becoming pregnant with a daughter did I become fully aware of how frigging far we take this pink crap. Pink bedding, clothes, pacifiers, bottles, hair brushes, tooth brushes, nose suckers, fingernail clippers, hair bows (for people who, by and large, have no hair!), lacy socks, shoes…good lord. I resisted it all. Bought white where I could find it, blue where I couldn’t. No bows. I had to explain a lot in the early days that she was, in fact, a girl. (Because with no frilly head gear and a blue pacifier, what else were they to think?)

As she grew, I kept the pink to a minimum. If I had to buy something in pink, I tried to at least make sure it featured other colors. She had pretty dresses and cute shoes, but I also bought her sturdy hiking boots, plaid 90s-style leggings, and heavy metal t-shirts. She was feminine, yet fierce, and adorable as hell. A pint-sized Buffy.

Until she started talking.

Then everything had to be pink. Pink shirts and skirts (pants are for boys!), pink dresses. Pink underwear with pink roses on them. Pink flats. If she simply must wear sneakers, they, too, must be the color of cotton candy. But she prefers heeled dress shoes – princess shoes, she calls them. Pink bows, pink lace, pink heart necklaces. And a pink purse to carry her pink lip balm in. It’s like the Disney princesses ferried her away to a pink Oz and brainwashed her into believing that all other colors are evil and wrong.

But I went along with it, because she loves it so. And because while I may take issue with the reasons behind it, it isn’t up to me to dictate what she likes.

In time, the fierce crept back in. Now she makes room for Donatello purple, Pac-Man yellow, and Sonic (the hedgehog, not the fast-food restaurant) blue. She’s a crime-fighting ninja in a frilly dress and heels who can either charm you or kick your butt, depending on what the situation calls for.

So…still a pint-sized Buffy. Just not so big on the 90s look these days.


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