Origami Girl

Monday, 16 April 2012

In which I progress to pink

When I was a kid my mother had a delightful occupation with the idea that my sister and I should wear dresses on a Sunday. According to her understanding the Lord likes people to look their best. I actually fully understand this reasoning –but I am not sure that the natural conclusion is ‘dresses’. I see about fifty percent of the people wearing trousers after all.
Sometimes our mother even put my sister and I in matching dresses. (Why would you do such a thing?) I don’t recall either of us enjoying it. It gave me a predisposition to dislike anything stereotypically ‘girly’.
I remember one particular aunt who always gave us matching presents -and sometimes still does, in our mid-twenties. They were sets of hairbrushes and that sort of thing: mine were always pink. She got green or purple or red or blue and I got the pink. Pink hairbrush, pink nail varnish, pink bag. Yuk.
So at primary school I despised pink as a colour forced on me. I did not want to wear dresses or be ‘girly’, I wanted to climb trees, go go-karting and pretend to be a detective in the garden.
I then went to high school where there were so many more things wrong with pink and dresses. The girls fought for permission to wear trousers which once obtained were proudly worn –why would I revert to the old grey skirt instead of triumphant trousers? It was also at this point in my life that I became interested in feminism. I saw how the division of pink = girls/blue =boys was damaging and controlling. I spent a great deal of my youth on a feminist forum called Sheroes having my eyes opened to the sexism of the word ‘slut’, the wonders of the Tamora Pierce and the friendship available in an online community. So at the end of high school pink was not so much associated with girly girls who wouldn’t scramble up trees (I now understood that ‘girl’ should not be an insult, climbing was not inherently ‘boyish’ and you can even like pink and be outdoorsy), but instead with the fashion and toy industries that stereotype to control women. I still felt a kind of superiority to other people my age in pink –Hah! Look at them conforming.
After all my reading of feminist theory, my English Lit degree and my interest in fashion, why is it so hard to buy anything pink?
You know what I have recently realised? My feelings towards pink were always heavily theoretical. I didn’t like it because:
1. -People forced me to wear it
2. -People who liked pink were not my friends
3. -Society forced me to wear it

I am going to tell you a secret: I know not how or why, but I like pink.
I like my salmon shoes and I like hot pink hair.
I like peach glasses
I like my soft pink handbag
I like my Hello Kitty headphones
I genuinely try to justify buying it to my boyfriend before he even questions it, “It’s not exactly pink, it’s more orange” or “Well at least it’s not baby pink” or “It’s only one part of my outfit” I jump in as though I am afraid he will look at my pink shoes and say in horror “Egads! What have you become!”
I think it is true liberation at last to be aware of all the ways in which society controls women and choose to wear pink!
If only a little.
Bride with pink hair and glasses, found via Off-Beat bride profile

This is the new handbag I bought from New Look which I love completely
LinkPolly Pocket -one of the only pink toys I loved as a child. I wear Polly Pocket jewellery sometimes.
My Hello Kitty headphones, pushing the limits as to how much pink I can wear


  1. Love this hun. I can totally relate. I realised last year that by hating pink simply because it was forced on me and I viewed it as conformist I was actually allowing society to control me, though perhaps not in the way that it thinks. Now I have pink things for the first time ever (though still in a slightly more nature/gothic/rock chick sort of way).

  2. What an interesting read. I too have had a very fluctuating relationship with pink. It's still not a colour I'm likely to reach for first, for all the reasons you specify but I have undergone a slow rehabilitation in my attitude towards it. Oh, but Polly Pocket - the proper tiny ones that disappeared up vacuum cleaners and down crevices in the floorboards. How I adored mine! I still have my Polly POcket fairy garden somewhere.