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To Be a Geek or To Be a Girl

April 12, 2015 Comments Views: 1197 Ari's Blog

Pinkwashing

I love the color pink. And I know some of you may think that it’s because I’ve been conditioned since birth to love the color pink because…you know…marketing. However, I can can confidently say that my love for the color pink was not a calculated branding move to sell more toys to girls. On the contrary, I grew up hating pink. I despised it. It wasn’t until I became a mom (or more accurately became pregnant with my daughter) that I began to see the color pink in a whole new way, and I began to realize that my loathing of the color was no fault of the color itself.

When I was little, my favorite toy was a yellow Tonka dump truck (back when they were all metal and not plastic.) My favorite toys were always model cars, despite having dolls like every other girl, I loved playing racing cars with the boys. I wasn’t an outdoors kind of kid. I didn’t like to climb trees, or play in the mud (I hated being dirty…still do.) I was perfectly ok spending hours in front of the TV playing video games just like I was perfectly fine making up skits with my dolls. But when I wanted to play with other kids, there were mostly just boys around and I liked cars.

I also loved the color blue in every shade. Baby blue, navy blue, aqua blue, you name it. If it had a bluish hue, I was into it. I remember when we first moved into the house I would grow up in, and my brother’s bedroom door was painted this nice cool shade of baby blue, and my bedroom door was painted this Pepto Bismol shade of pink. I hated it, but I took the pink doored room because it was the bigger room of the two, and by right as the older child, I got to get the bigger room.  I don’t think it was so much the shade of the door that bothered me (although it did remind me of Pepto Bismol) than it was the audacity of someone to automatically assume that me, being a girl, needed a pink door. Or that girl “equals” pink. That was a notion I was diametrically opposed to even at an early age. Girl did not ever “equal” pink in my way of thinking at all, and screw anybody who thought that way.

My daughter and I at the movies

My daughter and I at the movies

Fast forward a few more years (ok maybe like a couple of decades, but who can be bothered counting right now), and I have added purple and black to my team of most favorite colors (red, I will never like you.) I was in the beginning of my second trimester of pregnancy with my daughter, and adamantly refusing to get anything pink. I would get yellow things, and green things, and blue things, but never pink. I knew she was a girl too, I just had my mind made up that girl did not “equal” pink. Even if people would buy things or show me things that were pink, I would look at them sideways. I had even picked out a name for my daughter, but something didn’t feel quite right when I would refer to my unborn baby by the name I picked out.

I called my mom on the phone and discussed with her how I wasn’t sure of the name, and we talked about it (this is why I love my mom so dearly, because she gets me.) She asked me a very pointed question, “What colors do you see when you think of your baby?” I got quiet, I closed my eyes, I put my hand over my belly to feel her movements, and I saw…pink. But not pink in the way I had loathed it all my life, but pink in the sense that it was beautiful, billowing, frothy, and unique. And so, I was able to name my daughter, and actually feel comfortable referring to her by that name (although now, she tells me when she’s 18 she is going to change it.)

There are different forms of synesthesia, where a person will see colors associated with different senses, shapes, letters, numbers, or music. I’ve always seen color in music, as well as in letters, numbers, and shapes, but this was the first time that I had a color sensation from movement and touch. It was profound for me in the sense that it opened my eyes to how unfair I had been to a simple color, just because I didn’t want anyone to think that girl “equals” pink.

My daughter at her 10th birthday party at the American Girl Doll store

My daughter at her 10th birthday party at the American Girl Doll store

From that point forward I loved the color pink. It joined blue, purple, and black as one of my favorite colors, and when my pink little girl came into the world, one of her first words was pink. She wanted everything pink, and if it didn’t come in pink, then she didn’t want it. So, we had a lot of pink filled years together as mother and daughter. She has since gotten a little older, and has added blue, purple, and black to her favorite colors. She’s not into cars and video games, but she totally loves playing with dolls, climbing trees, playing outside, and getting dirty.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that it just doesn’t matter what other people think. Just because it’s pink, doesn’t mean it’s for girls, and just because you may not like what society says are “traditional” girl toys doesn’t mean that girls who do have been pinkwashed. Color is everywhere, and it’s wonderful. Don’t judge a color by the packaging. Embrace it simply as another color you get to paint your life with.

 

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