The Power of Pink

Yesterday’s Women’s March was one of the most impressive events in recent history. Triggered by bigotry and machismo during the American presidential campaign and its outcome, the event attracted almost three million people all over the United States and the world. The March’s mission statement clearly pointed out its goals: “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families - recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

A pink knitted hat called “Pussyhat” became the March’s signature item. According to its creators, the intention was to “make a unique collective visual statement which will help activist be better heard.” In another paragraph, they explained why pink: “Pink is considered a very female colour representing caring, compassion, and love – all qualities that have been derided as weak but are actually strong.”

Historically, the colour pink has long been associated with boys, however: Victorian fashion designated red for men and pale red (pink) for boys. It may sound funny, but at the time pink was seen as a masculine colour. (Imagine today’s macho conservatives in pink tank tops or pink suits!) It wasn’t until the 1950s that this changed. Some studies say that boys simple like blue more and girls pink, even though neuroscience claims that humans generally prefer blue to pink.

That said, a common-sense conclusion would be that our perception regarding gender and colour depends more on the dominant cultural model than on genetics.

Photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters