There has been some dissent among the Pink ranks about the color I chose to represent female empowerment. “Pink?” you say. “But I HATE pink.” Christa said, “I know I need to nourish my female fabulousness…but I still refuse to wear pink clothes, eat pink food, or sip pink drinks.” Eva said, “I’m a dyke. Dykes hate pink.” I hear you, sista.
Nancy, an artist, breast cancer survivor, and advocate, said, “I don’t do pink. We Harley-riding breast cancer advocates can’t wear pink- it would be too much of a statement. Like I’m flaunting that I survived, when so many others haven’t.” I get it. I really do. Aside from religion, politics, and abortion, Pink is one of the most polarizing issues I’ve found. Who’d have thunk a color could have so much power- to repel, to irritate, to empower?
The seed for Owning Pink was planted five years ago, when my friend Stephen, whose wife Carmen was pregnant with a little girl, said that his daughter was NEVER gonna wear pink. I told him his daughter just needs to OWN pink. And the rest is history. (Stephen, whose daughter is now 5 and a die-hard Pinkette, rolls his eyes when this comes up. He swears he supports girl power and really, he doesn’t want to be the Pink Grinch…So let’s throw out three cheers for Stephen. If it weren’t for him, Owning Pink might not even exist!)
There are lots of families who take and guard this position, who dress their little girls in red, green, purple, blue, yellow and orange, but steer waaay clear of pink. Sure, pink signifies girl, and comes in handy when you’re trying to help strangers choose a pronoun for your bowling-ball bald baby. But for some, it’s TOO girly. And why is “girly” bad? Girly equals uber-femme, equals ribbons and bows and ponies and daisies, equals fairies and floaty and lacy and … well … powerless. At least in our culture. Perhaps families not wishing to dress their babies in pink are on some level resistant to setting up that assumption – that their daughter is powerless. Too much of a girl. Somewhere in our history (or everywhere in our history), too girly became too bad.
In recent years, girliness has been reclaimed – but in an interesting way. The color Pink became the hallmark of Girl Power. Of extreme feminism. An almost militant campaign, associated often with things like anger (a man-hating revolt against oppression) or illness (breast cancer). For many women, this is as off-putting as the color’s original connotation of weakness. It signifies the polar opposite of femininity. Yes, it signifies power, but not the kind of power we women naturally have and use and create. It’s a FIGHT against illness, or a FIGHT against the opposite gender. A fight against the world and against our very nature. Even the color itself has morphed into alarming shades – hot, screaming, aggressive, clashing, unsettling Pinkness. And this has polarized Pink. Not since the red state/ blue state battle has a color divided so many. You probably fall into one of two very distinct categories: Pro-Pink or No-Pink. There doesn’t seem to be much in-between. Me, I’m not into the whole red state/ blue state division. I’m all about unity and finding the beauty in people. I guess I live in a Pink state. But then, that’s a topic for a whole other blog post.
The challenge we face - and really, what Owning Pink is all about – is to wrangle the multiple aspects of our femininity, jettison our old concepts of all the ways that pink is wrong, and come around to the understanding that it’s something to be proud to wear, to support, to really, truly Own. Something that might help is to acknowledge that the power we have as women is first and foremost creative. Pinkies – we create art, meals, friendships, poetry, dance, community…. Hell, we create life! Hello. That’s the original meaning of pink – derived, surely, from the color of our Pink Parts (not to mention the color of our hearts). Why do we believe that we have to choose- to surrender our power or fight for it, when the power is naturally inherent within us, as it has always been?
If we can come from this creative, conceiving, constructive perspective of Pink, maybe the stigmas and polarization will begin to balance and mellow. Let’s place our focus not on the societal, political, and historical misrepresentations of pink, but the pink that’s deep within us – literally. The pink that bears the energy to make new life. And if it has that capability, how much more power must there be? What else is it possible to create? Pink signifies the power we bear to heal, to form relationships, to protect and nurture, to kick ass, and to find our Hot Pink Mojo.
Good news, Christa, Eva, and Nancy. Yes, of course you don’t have to love the color Pink to Own it. Christa, you’re a Hot Pink Goddess Extraordinaire inspiring women to overcome adversity by Giggling On. Eva, you Powerful Pink Diva Divine you. You’re the Potent Pink Punch behind helping others succeed. And Nancy- you Harley-riding, mojo-radiating, creativity-blaring Pinkster- you’re Owning the hell out of Pink- even in your black, leather riding jacket.
You Pinkies out there are owning your bodies, your spirituality, sexuality, creativity, and all the rest in so many ways that your Pink (the Pink we mean) shines right through your blue jeans and black (or orange or blue or green) t-shirts. Owning Pink is not about the color. It’s about being the creative, alive and exuberant human you came to this earth to be. Pink is a reminder of the power you have – not to destroy or fight or sink, but to see, grow, and create. That power has always been in you, existing as a warm, organic, earthly shade of Pink, deep in the core of you, where everything is born.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can love and prefer orange and blue and green and purple and red and yellow and olive and black and chartreuse- and still Own Pink.
Owning Pink is a state of being. It's about accepting what is, living in the moment, and appreciating that which makes you unique, while connecting you to the collective experience of all women. It's about owning all facets of what make you female- your creativity, your sexuality, your spiritual side, your physical health, your inner child, you wise crone, your intuition- whatever it is that makes you YOU. Owning Pink is about the whole kit and caboodle- all wrapped up in one Pink (or purple or black or green) package. It's about Owning it. Loving it. Hell, it's about REVELING in it. YOU are YOU, and that's a beautiful thing.
Tell me your thoughts, Pinkies. What color is your power color, and why? How do you feel about Pink? Love it? Want to stab it with a ninja knife? Join in on the debate, and let’s get this Pink Posse rockin’.
With loads of rainbow love,
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