Pink is for Girls

Back in the day (meaning, about 2007), I started a blog that was a lot more personal than this one that touched on feminist topics, social issues, erotic art and trends. It was a bit of a mixed bag. In 2010 I decided to move here under my real name and to change the direction and themes I was writing about. I had a number of reasons for doing this but mostly the reason was that I didn't want to continue to be so personal on my blog and have to remain somewhat anonymous, meanwhile, I wanted to keep certain aspects going. (Trends and Illustrator of the Month, in particular). Going back through the blog and deleting all the personal stuff and changing the name of it seemed unfair to any established readers I had, so I just shut it down. You might even be a reader that came here from that site, because it automatically redirects here.

Two things got me thinking about that blog this week. One, I started going through all my facebook notes and deleting them. At least the really personal ones. It's not that I'm ashamed of any info I shared (or once shared) it's just that more and more facebook is becoming a tool for me to communicate with new contacts through work. It doesn't seem appropriate for them to be able to look through all kinds of old notes of mine on various personal topics. I am trying to get through them all but there is no quick method and there is almost 100 of them.

Some I'm ok with leaving up so I want to read them all. It's taking forever! Anyhow loads of them are on feminist issues, and those posts helped shape a lot of the content on my old blog.

One post on the old blog was about the meaning of the colours pink and blue. I got thinking about that post this week because I went out to pick up a mouth guard for roller derby practice. I walked into Sportchek and stood at the mouth guard section feeling a little bit lost. I've actually owned a pretty good quality guard in the past, as I had to wear one for playing field hockey in high school. I've worn poor quality and better quality and knew I was going to have to spend a little bit more money to have something comfortable to wear. I compared and contrasted all of the various options deciding I would try to cap my spending in the $20 range. And then I found a pink one.

I'm not really a pink kind of girl (though I do wear magenta and hot pink from time to time) and in the past have turned down pink things simply on the principle that I hate the fact that just because some company makes something pink I'm supposed to want it more. That said, I was pretty into the idea of a pink mouth guard. And then I noticed something. The identical mouth guard was also available in navy blue. For one dollar less.

Look, I might work in the arts but $1 difference wouldn't stop me from buying something I really wanted. Unless that something was identical to the blue variation, except it was in pink for ladies. In the midst of realizing this fact, a staff member approached me and asked if I was finding everything alright. I said yes and pointed out the price difference to him. He said, "huh, that's weird," and walked away. That is exactly what the woman at the counter said when I was checking out as well. I wasn't rude about it. I simply pointed out, when they asked if I had found what I was looking for that I had found it and would be buying it in blue because pink was a dollar more expensive.

Coming back to the beginning of this post I was reminded of a post on my old blog called "Pink is for Girls and Blue is for Boys". Here's an excerpt:

Pink and Blue have not always have the same gender associations as they do now. In fact, in Western culture, the practice of assigning pink to an individual gender began in the 1920s. From then until the 1940s, pink was considered appropriate for boys because it was the more masculine and decided color while blue was considered appropriate for girls because it was the more delicate and dainty color. Since the 1940s, the societal norm apparently inverted so that pink became appropriate for girls and blue appropriate for boys, a practice that has continued into the 21st century.

I've decided raising this topic on this blog makes sense because I write about colour from time to time. Colour trends are cyclical and by this logic, the overwhelming influx of pink-is-for-girls products should wane and go out of style sometime in the next 50 years. At the rate we're going though it doesn't feel that way. What this feels like is a generalized taking-advantage. The company is taking advantage of the pride girls have in their athletic ability. The product being available in the "feminine" colour is designed to play on the desire athletic women have to be seen as feminine. It is most likely hoped that none will notice the price difference, or will not care enough to feel angry about it. 

Where I'm left with this though is a general annoyance. For one, I got no explanation at the store level. Then I tweeted @ the company, which they didn't respond to. Which I can't really be angry at them for I suppose, the probably don't really 'get' twitter. Now I'm posting this blog and I guess my next step is to email them to inquire about their pricing decision. I'll keep you posted on the results, of course.

By the way, I bought the navy blue.

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