Friday, 13 August 2010

Seeing Pink

I don't have a problem with the colour pink as such. On tropical flowers it is fiery and exciting. On my gardening tools it is a necessary high contrast colour where I might drop a glove or secateurs on the soil or foliage. Shocking fuchsia pink is a colour that suits me and my skin colouring. My "Pink Pen of Mild Peril" has been more popular among male and female students alike than its predecessor the "Red Pen of Doom". It's a nice colour.

But, as this comic from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal shows, the colour pink is being used as a lazy shortcut to getting girls and women interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It isn't a new phenomenon by any means. There is a superb campaign called Pink Stinks, that "challenges the culture of pink which invades every aspect of girls' lives". it highlights many awful examples of this invasion on its blog. As of Saturday morning, I have a further addition to their collection of pink crap.

Ahhh, folks, remember the good old days where anti-intellectual teasing and bullying was unisex, and one could only buy black-framed "nerd specs"? If that wasn't patronising enough, then you can do a quiz on the back of the pack to see whether you truly are a "geek girl".

Particular gems include:
  • Did you have your first drink on your 21st birthday? - Oh that's good, let's have peer pressure straight off!
  • Have you ever dressed up as Slave Leia? - Not entirely sure that the set of women who have dressed up as Slave Leia and the set of women who may identify or be identified as a geek are identical...
  • Do you have an Etsy account? Have you ever knit [sic] something for a friend? - So if you're creative you must be a geek?
  • Does your skin burn rather than tan? - Aha! So only pale Northern Europeans can be geeks...
I just really, really wish this wasn't an issue anymore. But as long as we have pink, substandard items marketed just to girls, and baby boys killed for "acting like girls", this is never going to go away.


  1. I just changed phone networks so I could get my choice of phone in purple rather than pink. If they can make pink mobile phones, they can make any colour so why the grey/black or pink colour restrictions? (I previously had a pink phone which was the subject of a great deal of ridicule from my colleagues)

    Other than that, I agree entirely.

  2. Indeed - why can't we have lots of different colours? And yet I know I am still conditioned as a girl to be drawn to pink, as I'm looking at new laptops at the moment and finding myself drawn to the hot pink Sony Vaio!! I would far rather have a green or blue one though.

  3. I don't get the marketing. One has to be out of high school or >21, or already taken SAT's to be a target for these glasses? Who would buy them?

    The knitting question makes no sense at all!

    I chose not to like pink at some point, and went with the "neutral" lavender for quite a while.

    I like a lot of colors for things like computers in a way, but think it's probably too much extra production for the companies - some colors probably don't get bought much, favored colors probably change almost yearly - so I'll stick with neutral gray or silver.


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