Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Get me some Pepto Bismol, STAT!

I am so, so, so sick of "empowered" women's symbols/events/causes being doused in pink. Case in point:

My friend Melissa sent me the above graphic because it bugged her so much; this coming from a woman who actually loves pink. She's also a very successful professional musician. In her words, "I love pink, but have never, and will never, play a pink instrument or use a pink guitar pick."

I'm a firm believer that women can, and do, rrrrrraaaawwwkkk, but this package sure as hell doesn't. It's a veritable pink explosion. This doesn't say "Women Rock;" it says, "Hello Kitty." It also says, "We may be able to handle an axe as well as any dude, but don't be scared of wittle us, boys! We're feminine, we promise! Look, we can prove it by dousing ourselves in sweet, innocent, infantile pink!!"


There's nothing wrong with pink per se, although I personally hate it. It clashes with my hair and makes me look like a live sherbet. This is the only pink item that you will find in my home:

If you do like pink and wear it, god bless. I'm not going to thumb my nose at you; it looks fabulous on some women. My problem lies with the marketing geniuses who decided that all woman-centric "empowerment" merchandise should be pink. Listen up, marketing drones; women buy pink breast cancer ribbons because they want to donate to breast cancer research, not because the ribbons are soooo pwetty. Women (and girls) will probably buy the Women Rock package because they want to support women in music (they'll also be supporting Refuge House, which provides direct services to battered women, children and sexual assault survivors).

Now, those are powerful causes. Why not use red? Too aggressive? How about purple? Hmmmm....too regal? Would it make us look uppity? We can't have that...what about...gasp...BLUE? Lots of women like blue. I like blue. What's that, you say? Blue belongs to the boys? Ooops, my bad.

My first bicycle was a "boys' bike." It was blue, with a white seat and white tassels. It also had that horizontal bar between the seat and handlebars. I've never understood the horizontal bar thing on boys' bikes, particularly when you consider the fact that a boy's junk is external. I fell on that bar more than once, and let me tell you, it was not pleasant. Had I been a boy, I would probably have opted for a "girl's" bike, not wanting to put my developing nutsack in harm's way. Anyway, I remember my father getting a TON of shit from other adults for getting me that bike. I got a ton of shit for riding it. Boys and girls alike would yell at me when I rode by. "That's a boy's bike! Why are you riding a boy's bike??"

Shit, where did I put my Pepto? I'm suddenly in need of a swig.

Aaah, the sweetness of early gender role imprinting and the gastrointestinal disruption that it brings. I just ignored it because, you know, I had a bike, and that was sweet. It rode the same as any other kids' bike, and you know what? I didn't grow a penis. My hormonal structure did not change. When I became a teenager, I grew breasts (a bona fide matching set), just like a normal girl. Well, I grew them a lot later than most, but I was really skinny then.

This rant is mostly meant in good fun, but it does bother me that women's groups and marketing peeps always fall back on softfluffycompletelynonthreatening peeeeeeeeennk. It's just lazy; there are only a hundred thousand other colors available, if you'll take thirty seconds of your time to actually think. Women are not the Borg. We like variety. No, really! I swear.

My second bike was a lovely gender-neutral yellow (no bar this time), and it was my mother, not my father, who taught me to ride it on two wheels. Such rebels, my parents. Clearly the apple didn't fall far from the tree.



Anonymous Mags said...

I've hated pink for as long as I can remember, didn't help that my mum used to try and dress me in pink despite my hatred for it. I just can't bring myself to buy those breast cancer ribbons because of it.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was three, someone thought I was a boy (dispite being, if I may say, a beautiful wee baby) because I was playing with a toy garage. Tosser.

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Boadicea said...

I admit that I used to have the same problem with things for women being pink (have you seen the pink taser yet?). Then I realized something ...

They're not pink because we women like them pink. They're pink because then our grabby men who have no ability whatsoever to put things back where they found them will *leave them the heck alone*. Do you know any man who, if given the choice, would use a pink-handled hammer before willingly gnawing off his own arm? Me, either.

So it's really just a device that ensures when we need to use scissors or hammers or tasers, they'll be exactly where we left them, as opposed to languishing forgotten in the Garage of Masculinity. :)

1:35 PM  
Blogger The Gal Herself said...

Interesting corollary: while women can embrace the color blue, men are often phobic about pink. A case in point are my neighbors. A family of 3 (Mom, Dad, toddler), their 2BR condo is very similar to mine. Meaning pink tile in the bathroom. Their unit has been on the market for a while and the realtor believes it hasn't sold because of those pink tiles. Single men just can't be seen shaving in a bathroom with pink tiles. No one would know which side they played on. Perhaps they like to … um … "stem the rose," if you know what I mean. How pathetic is that?

12:00 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Yeah, the pink=pansy boy corollary is lame. I have a beer-swilling, hairy, football-obsessed male coworker who has a favorite pink shirt. He calls out anybody who takes issue with that shirt. The guy can be annoying, but I love him for that.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason I don't wear pink is, like you Ginger, I look dreadful in it. I'm a guy, quite secure in my hetero-masculinity, and see little if any connection with a silly mix of red and white. Sheesh.

For the record, my lovely red-haired wife wears hot pink, because she looks damn good in it, and my oldest, red-haired, girl wears pink only if it's a camouflage pattern. My middle girl doesn't wear pink because it shows dirt too easily (no, seriously, that's the reason; she's like Peanuts' Pigpen). My youngest, however, is aaaaaaall about the pink. Go figure.

As a complete side-note, I think the design of girls' bicycles dates back to the time when most girls were wearing skirts. Times have changed, but the leftover designs haven't.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Hey Anon - thanks for the historical reference. I had not considered that, and you're probably right.

Some redheads do look good in pink. I have the kind of red hair that looks good against plums, not pinks. I stick to jewel tones. Apparently redheads aren't supposed to look good in red, but there are all kinds of reds, and lots of us look good in it.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breast Cancer research
Common Breast Cancer Myths

The first myth pertaining to this disease is that it only affects women.

Second myth that is associated with this disease is that if one has found a lump during an examination, it is cancer.

Third is that it is solely hereditary

The next myth associated with breast cancer is downright ridiculous. Would you believe, that in this day and age, some individuals still think that breast cancer is contagious?

Conversely, some individuals foolishly believe that breast size determines whether or not one gets cancer.

Finally, another myth that is associated with this disease is that it only affects older people. This is not so. Although the chance of getting breast cancer increases with age, women as young as 18 have been diagnosed with the disease.

You can find a number of helpful informative articles on Breast Cancer research at

Breast Cancer research

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