Pink was the shade of my upbringing. Pink shoes, pink wallpaper, pink jackets and hair clips. Pink folders, pink bows, pink ballet tights. This emblematically feminine color was forced upon me- I was a girl in a white American family surrounded by other white suburban Americans. My parents did what was normal and I followed suit.
Around the age of six or so, when school began, the pink faded into the background of my own personal color scheme as my parents no longer had to prove to the world that I was a normal little girl. But at the same time I began to notice the color pink elsewhere. During my primary school years, the girl’s bathroom was pink, almost any name tag I wore was pink, a t-shirt for a class school trip, if i remember correctly, was pink. Of course this pink-out was only really noticeable because the boys in the class, in these same scenarios, were assigned the ‘opposite’ color of blue.
There’s nothing even remotely opposite about the colors blue and pink other than societies utilization of the two as categories used to discern between a girl and a boy, a means of segregation- they don’t compliment each on the color wheel. But it should be noted that while blue does seem to be, err, masculine, it can transition, meaning, it’s only truly masculine in the presence of pink. On the contrary, pink is almost always indicative of femininity.
The utilization of the color pink as a marker of gender is, on the surface, harmless. It’s a color, no? But it isn’t the color pink that causes issues, it’s the segregation, the idea that we even need to categorize between men in women. Firstly, men and women don’t need to be separate. Secondly, this pink vs blue, man vs woman trope demonstrates a very heteronormative ideology that just doesn’t exist anymore. Gender isn’t twofold.
This weekend, at the women’s march in Pittsburgh and, from photos, women’s marches worldwide, we saw the color pink everywhere. On clothes, on signs, on hats, pink shaded the march. Perhaps this seems strange- wouldn’t women want to denounce pink along with other societally ascribed characteristic? Yes, but I like to think of it as a show of irony, even better, a demonstration of taking pink back.
This weekend we took back our bodies, whatever they might look like. We took back our sexualites and the stigmas used to prevent us from loving who we want. We took back our skin colors, our religions, our backgrounds, and our ethnicities. We took back the color pink, a color used to genderize women and potentially alienate anyone who isn’t cis. We used pink to paint a picture of inclusion and of strength. Pink is just a color, and pink, like every color, is for all.