Dear Bubblegum/Baby/Pastel/Flamingo/Millennial Pink,
I’m sorry I’ve been ignoring you for a while, but I’m ready to reconnect. I’m sorry I used to hate you, I didn’t really! When we first met I was asked, “Blue or Pink”—I didn’t pick blue because I liked it more than you, I picked it because even at four years old, I could notice an invisible script was in place. This script associated Pink with femininity, something that was not praised or valued. I thought I was following the right script where the right answer was distancing myself from you. Distancing myself from things that are soft, delicate, pretty, gentle.
I wanted to be on the right side. I thought liking blue afforded me some sort of protection. The choice was “Beauty or Brains”. I couldn’t be both, as if one was so shallow, empty, ditzy, illogical, and the other was supposed to be… the right answer? It was hard to reconcile the images and characters living on my screen. They constantly spoke in dichotomies, extremes; one or the other, never both. I felt limited before I even knew the choices. Before I even understood the effect that this hypergendering had on me, I was already trying to appease the dominant group of masculinity by seeking approval and validation from phrases like “I’m not like other girls”.
Pink, I’m sorry it’s taken me this long. I didn’t realize I had a choice. I didn’t realize that all this confusion and internalized feelings came from a bigger issue that is the hatred of all that is feminine. It’s weak, it’s powerless, it’s frilly, it’s silly, it’s big heavy bags of all this internalized misogyny projected onto a small girl who has to drag them with her until she realizes that she doesn’t have to be ashamed of femininity. Pink, if I’m carrying around these heavy bags of internalized misogyny, they’re going to be bright pink pleather.
Pink is the colour that I will delight in. For too long I’ve been complicit in devaluing femininity, because I thought it made me better than “other girls”. What other girls? Why did we feel like we had to knock down our sisters instead of uplifting them? We were all on the same team. Pink, I missed out! I missed out on freely loving beautiful pink dresses, sparkly feather pink pens, soft shades of pink on my shoes. I thought my identity was wrapped up in inanimate objects that were designated as stupid and superficial.
Pink, objects are objects, dresses are dresses, and you are only a colour—not a girl or boy colour. It’s just a colour. A colour that historically symbolized femininity in its extreme form. I’m not going to be ashamed to wear you anymore. I’m not going to think my value and identity comes from a colour, but I will delight in wearing you as a silent reminder that femininity need not be devalued anymore.
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