Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thoughts On Girls And Pink, Take II

I posted last week about why I dropped my opposition to the color pink.

Lo and behold, I stumbled upon this article about pink lockers at the University of Iowa.

The lockers in the visitor's locker room, you see, are pink.  The walls have been that way since forever, apparently, but during a 2005 renovation the school took it a step further and added shades of pink everywhere, including lockers.

There is pretty no question that when the practice started in 1979 it was intended as an insult.  And the new pink-hued lockerrooms were of course was called out as sexist and discriminatory.  But why is that?  Would it be sexist to put Tonka trucks out?  To make the benches appear like tires rising out of the ground?  If the visiting women's team's locker room was blue would that be sexist?

Being offended by the presence of pink gives the people using that symbol, and the symbol itself, power.  If the visiting team wins 9/10 games, does the color pink have meaning?  Does it actually help them, maybe?

Instead of teaching my daughter that pink is somehow a lesser color, or feminine, and that feminine is somehow something bad to be, I'm trying to teach her to rock the world.  I wear pink.  I play tea party with her and my sons, complete with pink saucers and pink dishes and tea pots.  I play dolls and make dresses out of play doh for them.  Both with her and with the boys.

Jill Gaulding, who used to work at Iowa University and now is employed at Gender Justice, says of the lockeroom color "it sends the message that anything associated with female is lesser-than."

But does it?  Or is the threatened lawsuit and the big deal everyone is making of it what actually associates pink with "lesser-than."  The color Baby Blue is clearly associated with babies, but I'm guessing no one complains if the lockerroom was Baby Blue. In reality, when we recoil in horror at the color pink, especially for boys, we are saying loudly and clearly that pink is somehow not appropriate for boys, that it is somehow lesser.

Ignoring that the lockers are pink, perhaps chuckling at the adolescence of it all, and going out and beating Iowa is the best lesson we can give our girls because it says "pink is fine for me and it is for you as well."

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