Pink: The Color of Tyranny?

January 14, 2010 | NeW Staff

PinkStinks is a campaign that has declared war on the “culture of pink.”  According to the campaign, pink isn’t just a color.  Pink is an emblem that represents the profit-driven marketing of retailers.  Pink is a vision of girlhood that emphasizes attractiveness above all else.  Pink is a tyrant that limits young women’s choices to traditional gender roles.  PinkStinks claims,

“Self-esteem amongst girls is at its lowest ever” because “body image obssession is starting younger and younger, and that the seeds are sown during the pink state, as young girls are taught the boundaries within which they will grow up, as well as narrow and damaging messages about what it is to be a girl.”

Self-esteem amongst girls is low because girls are growing up under the tyranny of feminism, not because they prefer pink.  Yes, the color pink is strongly (but not absolutely) associated with femininity.  Whether that’s a result of marketing or genetics is irrelevant.  Our minds are inclined to make associations between images and ideas. 

This inclination is what makes trademarks so effective.  That we link pink to girlhood and womanhood is not the problem.  The problem is PinkStinks hasn’t correctly identified the enemy.  Traditional hallmarks of femininity aren’t narrowing or damaging.  Since when were wife and mother negative gender roles?  

Feminine ideals give us a sense of purpose and direction, and define the scope of our potential.  Telling girls to become ambitious, career-oriented, androgynous women is more harmful than telling them a fairytale.  


So what is pink?  Pink is a symbol, not a stereotype.  Pink is the packaging, not the product.  Pink adorns girls, it doesn’t rule them.  

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