If you’ve been following Styleynn, you’ll already know I’m not a big fan of loud or colorful clothing. I’ve found, apart from my beloved neutrals, pale colors are easier for me to digest while still complimenting my personal style. As an artist, I’m aware I maay be a bit more sensitive to color philosophy than average (after all, basically every color in the rainbow has had its day as a favorite color of mine), but there’s one color in particular that has given me a lot to muse about. But even to this day, the color pink and I have had a strangely complicated history together. . . .
Way back when I had no control over my wardrobe as a child, pink overwhelmed me, much like the majority of American girls. As a baby, we are often wrapped in pink blankets to signify we’re a female, or male (in blue). And, speaking from experience as a lady, we are groomed to be proud of our delegated “girl color.” As an effect, the majority of girls subscribe to the idea that “pink is for girls” during their adolescence (or longer). When I was old enough to have more of a say in my image during school shopping with my mom, my tomboy personality took over and I shunned pink once again. My friends and I had the impression that being a girl was “weak,” and we were as strong (or stronger than) as boys! And boys don’t wear pink!
Once I was in middle school, I decided I wanted to be noticed by guys. Yes, the all-powerful male gaze had sucked me in (and sadly kept me hostage until mid-college, but that’s another story). Though after getting sick of looking interchangeable with the other middle school girls, I decided to exhibit my fascination of vampires, anime, goth and emo culture. Yet again, my friends and I thought pink was reserved for “air-headed popular girls.” So I would only allow pink as a small accent of pink in my dark wardrobe when I really had no choice when aiming for a certain style. For example, my favorite item of clothing in middle school had to be my black, low-ride, loose-fitting cargo pants with pink piping around the many pockets and zippers (I’m sure you guessed already that it was from Hot Topic; the place that gave my mom headaches and the willies all at once, so it was obviously super cool).
When I start to shudder while recalling the droll style phases of my past, I have to think of my influences during the 90’s to mid 2000’s and put my past-self into perspective. I was obsessed with Buffy, and Avril Lavigne was the pinnacle of kick-ass female music. (Fun fact: I made my grandmother listen to a few Avril songs over the phone, probably while I sang along . . . Now I look back and think “poor grandma” while wondering what she really thought; even though I’ll never know, I’m still amazed at how kind she was.) My dark phase carried over to high school until I was indoctrinated into my (very) long theatre phase. Then retro clothes, bright colors and patterns were my style allies. In that stage of life, I found fuchsia more than permissible (as a scarf) because it was unique enough for a pink shade; I still doubted myself every once in awhile.
Unfortunately, pink just seemed too . . . girly . . . a color for my past-selves. Nowadays, I really appreciate all colors on people, in art, nature, and the world. Bright colors and loud patterns had their time with me, and besides neutrals, I’m happy to stick to pale colors when I can find them. At this point in my life now, I finally realize what the freedom to be me is like; I can exhibit it however I want — and you can too!
Honestly, I figure that I can enjoy a muted pink on myself now because I have learned about gendered social constructs, and how the ideas are holding so many people back while reinforcing cultural fear. I was afraid of a color! When I turn away from these ideas, I can move forward and be just who I am, liking what I like, and wearing what pleases me. Gender constructs are silly; we need to apply that knowledge in a way that sets us all free to be whomever, whatever, whenever. Never mind the billions of similar sentiments, we shouldn’t ever think someone or ourselves are more or less of a person for adopting a color form of self-expression. It ain’t your business.
I shared this story because I’ve been curious to learn if anyone else had a complex relationship with a color due to B.S. social constructs. If so, let’s hear your story and get a conversation going!