for the love of pink

"A strong woman understands that the gifts such as logic, decisiveness, and strength are just as feminine as intuition and emotional connection. She values and uses all of her gifts." —Nancy Rathburn

 

ok I admit it, this site is pink. like, really pink. and it took me a long time to come to that design decision, let alone accept it as a valid one.

to simplify things here, i want to remind myself how my own femininity doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive with the respect others may have for me or the respect I have for myself. when I was young I had a brief pink phase, then thought better of it once I thought being a “tomboy” was the coolest. thing. ever., despite my fear of climbing trees and the subsequent scraped knees (ew that wasn’t supposed to rhyme). so I abandoned the pink, and purple seemed an appropriate substitute. I guess it was the whole red/pink + blue thing that made purple = acceptable. but I’m no color theorist.

for so long, I didn’t want to be associated with the plays-with-barbies kind of stereotype. full disclosure, though, I did play with them, just never told the boys, or even those popular girls who preferred playing soccer. visual cue: me, and I incidentally can barely rub my stomach and pat my head at the same time, trying to play soccer and later, basketball. but if these girls were popular in part because they were ok with their guy friends burping and because they liked to play video games, then I wanted to be that way too.

part of this need to be the cool girl came from my later realization, probably when I was thirteen or fourteen, that I was pretty interested in thinking about my sexuality. and I didn’t know what to make of that. I was fairly sure I was interested in boys, but was also fairly sure that regardless, no one would be interested in me if I acted the way i did, if i showed how girly i really was. I needed to reject that part of myself, in order to be considered attractive.

I had some idea instilled in me that the girl who could shoot pool and drink beer was the one people not only wanted to be around, but the one they wanted to be with. it was a way of standing out, by blending in, by being that girl who could “hang with the boys”. and if I couldn’t hold my own on a basketball court (and I really, really, couldn’t), I’d be that girl who was all about talking about sex, even if, in the process of figuring out my sexual orientation, I was ultimately pretty uncomfortable doing so.

thinking and talking about sex, and my understanding of its inherent separation from femininity, was a way to get peers (i.e. boys) to respect and adore me. so, despite my being a relative prude, I made vulgar jokes, I cursed, and i pretended I didn’t care about feeling objectified, or objectifying other women in the process.

so the color theory meant purple, with its dash of bold blue, = respectable. talking about sex = respectable, and in fact sex itself = respect, as long as it excluded the girly-ness.

as i try to "reclaim" pink, and as i think about what it means to be both feminine and sexual (and I know that is a privilege offered to me by my cis-gendered status), i need to recalculate some of these conclusions about respect. and part of thinking about this stuff and about why I even still care about being “cool”, is knowing when to shotgun a watery beer and laugh at a dirty joke/tell an anecdote from my sex life, and knowing when to keep it to myself, and think on it instead. we’ve got a lot of gifts, and some of them come on a pastel palette, and that doesn't make them any less valuable.