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I’m Over Hating On Pink

I want to come clean and admit that once upon a time, I was one of those girls who hated the colour pink for no reason other than deep seated, internalized sexism. I’m not proud of it. Admittedly, I was young and growing up in a culture that glorified anything traditionally masculine. In elementary school, I remember wanting to be good at sports, but only partly because I liked to play. A good chunk of my reasoning was that classmates would think I was cooler because I, a girl, could keep up with the boys. And guess what? I got special social status because I could play soccer at recess. And so began my blatant rejection of anything feminine. No dolls, no dresses, and absolutely NO pink.

Fast forward to middle school, where I, and every other girl, wanted to be considered “one of the boys.” This is because girls were stereotyped as high maintenance and dramatic, among other things. I thought to myself, “people will think I am cool and chill if I hang with the boys. Plus, no drama sounds nice!”

Of course, these experiences are partly due to the classic preteen panic of “oh my god, what does everyone think of me?!”, before we matured to the point of not giving a shit. However, looking a little deeper, I was personally trying to avoid being thought of as feminine. This manifested in my every action to the point where I belligerently avoided the colour pink for no good reason.

Pink represents something delicate, compassionate and soft—all stereotypically feminine attributes I would have rather eaten a shoe than be associated with. Growing up a sporty chick, I learned quickly that attributes like aggression, dominance and toughness were encouraged by most of my social groups. These are stereotypically masculine traits, so I shaped myself to embody these as much as possible while rejecting the parts of femininity I did identify with. Being told I ran like a girl was like a slap in the face. I wanted to run like a man!

What does this say about the messages we’re sending little kids everywhere? To this day, traditionally feminine traits are frowned upon, not to mention undervalued. For example, take being emotional. Historically, this labeled women as hysterical. Now, this attitude has grown into a toxic masculinity causing exorbitant male suicide rates because many men are ashamed to admit, let alone discuss, their feelings. Furthermore, where would we be without careers that emphasize empathy? Many female-dominated professions, like caregiving, require this attribute to provide appropriate service. If a man cannot see himself as a compassionate person because it’s “unnatural” for a male, no wonder we see low rates of male caregivers. If a woman cannot envision herself as a CEO because she doesn’t feel comfortable asserting herself due to her gender, obviously we have less female CEOs. People are afraid to step out of the gendered boundaries society has set for them, and we’ve burdened ourselves because of it.

We suffer from the sexism that has been ingrained in us since the most formative years of our lives. If a ten-year-old kid like me can gobble up sexist cues in society, imagine how damaging a lifetime of exposure can be. The trends we see in society make sense because of how kids are growing up, but just because it’s logical doesn’t mean it’s right.

I’d like to set the record straight. Pink is a beautiful colour. It makes up sunsets, flowers and rosy cheeks. Attaching gender to it and then creating a colour hierarchy based on that is beyond ridiculous. It’s fine to not like pink, but please reevaluate your reasons. When I did, I was ashamed of what I discovered about myself. Since my realization, I must admit that saying f*ck you to stereotypes just by wearing a pink t-shirt is pretty satisfying.

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I'm in my third year of Health Studies and have been a writer with Her Campus for 2 years now. Feminist issues are my go-to articles. Here are some rapid fire facts about me: 1. I have a deep obsession with dogs 2. I name all my plants (Chloro-Phil is my aloe vera) 3. If you tasted my sweet potato brownies you would kill me for the recipe
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