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?
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