Sunday, September 20, 2009

What do you think about pink?

I’m a little fascinated by this color. Amy has a deep aversion to it and it’s my granddaughter Alexia's absolute most favorite color of all. I’ve been thinking about it because I bought yarn to make Alexia a sweater, but the hot Pepto-Bismol color feels like it's burning my fingers. I have spent six months trying to drum up the discipline to finish this project. I feel bad when she asks me what happened to her “jacket,” but apparently not bad enough.

It has become a synonym for feminine. When my son was three, he fell in love with the pink jacket that a neighbor girl outgrew. He wore that jacket until the sleeves were too short. The only photo of him wearing it is in black and white. I knew he’d take a life-long teasing from his siblings otherwise. How did pink become so stigmatized?

I decided to take a wander through Wikipedia. The simple answer is that pink is a pale red color, a combination of red and white, with other tints being combinations of rose and white, magenta and white or orange and white. The use of the word for the color was first recorded in the late 17th century to describe the flowers of pink, flowering plants in the carnation family.
The practice of associating color with gender began in the 1920s, with pink considered appropriate for boys because red is more masculine, and blue appropriate for girls because it was from a more delicate and dainty color and related to the Virgin Mary. Reassignment began in the 1940s but they didn’t say why.

Pinko is a derogatory term for a person regarded as sympathetic to communism though not necessarily a communist party member. The idea is that pink isn’t quite red. My father used to say that when you slid through an intersection just as the light was turning red, you were running the light on the pink. And in Japan, cherry blossom pink is associated with a woman’s vagina, so soft-core porn films are called “pink movies.” Mary Kay chose pink to represent her product line, even driving a pink Cadillac, a healthy Brit is considered to be in the “pink of health,” and a termination of employment notice is referred to a pink slip.

As you can see, there’s more to this color than meets the eye. I just need to pick up that hot pink yarn languishing on needles and get focused. Tip knitting?


Life Looms Large said...

Interesting history of the color pink! In my yarn haul this week, I brought home some pink Peace Fleece, and that's the first color that I have ideas for.

When I was younger, really girly pink colors would not have been my thing. But now, I appreciate pinks and roses and fuchsia too.

It is really funny how personal the reaction to color can be. I brought home some green yarn that I really hate....but two people have already lined up to claim any scarves I make from that yarn. I can't bring myself to work with it yet - I hate it that much.

Does it help to know that pinking shears, handy to cut woven fabrics, are thought to be named after the rippled edges of carnations (or pinks)?

Good luck getting your project momentum back!!


Theresa said...

Let's not forget that in fox hunting the riders wear Pinks which are actually scarlet red.
Maybe mixing that pepto pink with a variegated yarn with pink or another color to tone it down and make cooler on your hands?
I like pink, but it either has to be pale or deep and closer to magenta to please me. Pinks that have too much blue in them seem harsh to me. Pink or not maybe just thinking about how thrilled she'll be when it's done, or how about a vest! ;-)

Purple Fuzzy mittens said...

My approach would be to start over with white yarn, only dyeing the finished garment pink at the last moment. Then the pink (shudders) yarn can be overdyed with blue and you can make something else out of your now lovely purple yarn. Good luck!

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Amy and her purple... egad! lol
I did an entire Aran baby blanket in hot pink, so I think you can manage, I detest pink my self (although I'm not as outspoken about it as Amy ;-) but it has its place, such as around a sweet baby girl that you adore :)

Leigh said...

Pink was my grandmother's favorite color as well as my mother's. My mother always told me it was my favorite too. I got so sick of hearing that, that somewhere along the line I decided my favorite color was green, the one my mother disliked most!

bspinner said...

Our grand daughter whent through a "pink stage". Since I was never a girlie girl pink was certainly not one of my favorite colors. I like your pink a whole lot better than my pink dye job.

beadlizard said...

I'd always wondered about pinking shears. Hmmm.

I would do up a pot of kool-aid grape on the stove and either water it down and do a tint to soften the brightness of the pink or make a strong batch and dip one end of each hank to make dark grape streaks. I use grape k-a as a mellowing tint rather often. It's a pretty good tertiary.

My great-grandmother knit a pink layette for my brother and blue for me. Yellow was considered neutral.

My dd spent quite a few years in pink. She blended in with the Barbie aisle at the toy store. I rather miss the bouncy little kid -- now she's a detached teen in slate gray. Enjoy the pink while you can!

Beryl Moody said...

I'm with Amy. I generally have an aversion to pinky-pink, but I can tolerate it combined with other colors. Now, I find that my eldest daughter has dyed her hair pink. Where did I go wrong:-)