The Problem with Pink (My Feminist Prejudices)

As of last night, my hair is a no longer blue. It’s a rather vibrant shade of pink, or fuschia as Anita prefers. I am currently still startling myself when I see my reflection in the mirror, so this one’s going to take a bit of getting used to. I chose pink because I ran out of the pale blue I wanted to use, and am almost out of extreme blue. Rather than buy anything new (I’m on a spending freeze), I figured I should use up what I have. Pink.

See, I’m smiling.

This is the pinkest it’s ever been, since the only other time I used the pink, the base was more purple and I got a nice violet. This is undeniably pink. I want to embrace it, however…

Past Suna and Pink

In the olden days of yore, commonly known as the late sixties and early seventies, I was developing my sense of who I am. One thing was certain, I was NOT a girly girl. I had a few dolls, but they mostly played superheroes. I had way more Hot Wheels cars and spent a lot of time building race tracks, working on a town to go with my brother’s train set (we knew everyone’s name in Andrewdale!), riding bikes, playing football, and climbing trees. It helped that the neighbor girl I played with the most also had those hobbies. I think today she’d be trans, but back then Cathy was just very disappointed at being a girl. Maybe Cathy is no longer Cathy now.

That’s the shade of pink I didn’t like one bit. It’s growing on me.

We didn’t do pink. We repainted our bikes to not be pink. Mine was sage green. We did read a lot, but it was comic books and nonfiction (mostly about horses, for me), up in our treehouse. The happiest year of my life was when they said we could wear pants to school. Yippee. No more dresses until late high school for me!

Then I Moved

The most traumatic event in my idyllic-esque childhood was when my father got transferred to the Ft. Lauderdale area between 7th and 8th grades for me. He bought us a new house in Plantation (yes, it’s a real place, but you may have heard of it due to a horrible school shooting).

We moved to this place having never seen it (Mom hated travel, so there was no scoping-out trip). They escorted me to my new room in this hideous house with no trees. It was PINK. Not vibrant pink, a sickly pale pink. I cried and cried, and I’m sure that didn’t help an already-difficult transition.

Since I hated my school and didn’t really have any friends, I proceded to station myself in my room for the next few months, alternating between writing long letters back to Gainesville friends (no Internet!) and drawing. I drew, and I drew, and I drew. I drew a lot of this kind of thing:

I still do these things occasionally. I used crayons back then. This is metallic pen.

As I drew horses, flowers, cartoon characters, and squiggles, I taped them to the wall. Eventually, I had covered the entire wall with drawings. You could no longer see the pink. I was NOT a girly girl!

Mom and Dad got the message. By high school my room was painted an acceptable shade of apricot and had a wild, hippie-colored set of bedspread and curtains. That may be the nicest thing my mom ever did for me. I wore my floppy hat, blue jeans, and pigtails until I was around 17. It was not a traditional femme look, but it was quite me.

What’s WRONG with Pink?

Well, exactly! The color itself didn’t do a darned thing to me, but it symbolized a lot of my frustrations.

I guess, even before I knew what feminism was, I didn’t want to be confined by expectations based on being a girl. Pink symbolised all those expectations I resented: to be cute, to defer to boys, to not answer all the questions at school, to like dolls and babies, to twirl a baton rather than play football, to wanst to grow up to be a Wife and Mother…that sort of stuff. I wanted to be the first woman to do x, y, and z.

A woman in a pink dress pushing around a baby carriage was just not my idea of a fun ambition.

It turns out I’m not alone, either. A recent collection of essays came out called Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies). That makes me feel better. The promo says:

A diverse group of celebrities, activists, and artists open up about what feminism means to them, with the goal of helping readers come to their own personal understanding of the word.


I went ahead and ordered it, so maybe it will be a future Book Report topic.

But now?

I figured out what feminism was, decided I was okay with babies as long as they were fun boy babies who liked train sets and nature books (honest, I’m sure I’d have liked a girl, though I admit to feeling like I dodged a bullet).

And I also like dudes.

I decided I liked SOME trappings of femininity once I discovered hormones, so I have always painted my nails odd colors, and liked makeup, though on the “unique” side.

I still didn’t like pink. There’s no pink in my home, office, or other decor if I can help it. I have very little pink clothing.

It’s time to stop, though. I need to let go of this prejudice against a perfectly innocent color. It’s featured in a lot of flowers, and I like flowers! There are beautiful pink rocks. And sunsets! I love those!

Perky pretty pink petunia

So, here I am with proudly pink hair, not defining myself by what color I have on. I’m still more on the masculine side of lady-hood, and that is just great. That’s what we have spectrums for, so that we have people all along them.

Happy Embrace the Pink Day to Suna!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

One thought on “The Problem with Pink (My Feminist Prejudices)”

  1. I always remember Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird” saying, “I felt the starched walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me.” Yay for you reclaiming the color.

    Liked by 1 person

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