Happy National Pink Day!
When conducting research for this article, I came across a definition of National Pink Day by Calendarr.com describing June 23rd as a celebration of the color “and everything it represents.” Namely, “femininity, softness, childhood and the romantic.” All of those things deserve to be celebrated in their own right, but as our society continues to question the validity of certain cultural structures, I couldn’t help but ponder the historical ties between the color pink and gendered notions of femininity.
We live in a society that has taught us to view blue and pink as opposites of each other, representing the divide between male and femaleness. Even before birth, the color pink is used to identify children’s place within the binary, and this association between pink and femininity has stretched far beyond babies. Clothes, books, cars, and even hygiene products are marketed to certain demographics relying on the presumption that pink = girl, yet the suggestion of pink as a “girly color” is a relatively modern idea.
It wasn’t until the late 1800s that manufacturers began to gender items of clothing using blues and pinks. Similarly, the target gender between the colors was fairly interchangeable. Up until the 1920’s, there was little to no contention regarding the division of pinks and blues between boys and girls. In fact, for a long time, pink was widely associated with masculinity due to its connection to the strength-symbolizing color, red. What does this mean for us in 2021? In her article for CNN, “The complicated gender history of pink,” Puja Bhattacharjee writes about the antiquated and inconsistent upkeep of this construct and the ways that the cultural reading of the color pink has influenced gender relations to this day.
On National Pink Day, I hope that we can celebrate pink for all that it symbolizes in an inclusive society. May we all celebrate the joy, romanticism, and glee evoked by this beautiful color as we continue to evaluate the makings of the world around us.
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