Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pink, Black, and Blue

I was pondering society’s gender conventions that we all grow up with from our youth. You know the ones like all girls want to be cheerleaders and all boys want to play football. Probably the most common one still is that baby boys are relegated to blue hued clothing, and baby girls should wear pink. The problem though is that I like pink and I’m a male? I guess pale blue is ok too but I’ll be honest unless something is a really rich royal blue, I will still probably prefer pink. I know a lot of girls don’t even like pink because they think it is associated with being ‘too girly’. Many gun manufacturers don’t agree since they are now producing record numbers of rifles and pistols with pink grips and camo straps.

I do not remember playing with a lot of dolls as a kid but I did have a Major Matt Mason set. It was kind of a Space based version of GI JOE. I really loved some of the space accessories that little guy had, like a rover and the zip line that he could slide along from his home base to the lunar surface (our dining room floor). I may have had a GI JOE or two as a kid but other than the cool rifles, canteens, and miscellaneous gear, I never got too excited about the expensive dress up Army clothes. Years later, I remember a friend who was a girl that had a Barbie closet with tons of clothes in it. The two things that truly fascinated me with that toy was the tiny little hangars which worked EXACTLY like real hangars, and the colorful high heeled shoes. Oh god, what is WRONG with me?

I think as an adult, I simply liked pink because it was kind of an ‘anti-establishment’ position for men to take when I was first out in the work force. Since I worked for a traditional Japanese firm when I was young, it was an accepted practice that women made coffee. In those days I drank more coffee than anyone, so the rule seemed unfair. It took about 6 months, but once I began making coffee for myself or anyone (male or female) who drank it, then the gender specific rule was quickly abandoned. Eventually EVERYONE who drank coffee shared in making it – as is the CORRECT rule. In that same company, I was invited to play recreational golf, though spouses were not included for no other reason than gender. Again with a little prodding, my wife was allowed to eventually play in company golf outings, and even came in 2nd place in our tournament which permanently eliminated gender biased rules at our firm.

As a coach today, I am always particularly proud when our team celebrates another successful year of competition. The girls on the team this year gave me a pink cowboy hat and a signed shirt. The year before that, I received a pink pillow and a Flamingo drink cooler or something similar. It never really matters what it is, I always accept these ‘pink’ gifts with pride and cherish them for their deeper meaning that I’m just “one of the girls”. Don’t kid yourself though – I wouldn’t want these kids mad at me as they can be as tough as any guy athletes. They may proudly wear pink, but if you are on the field and in-between the goal - you had better get out of the way. Because no matter what gender you are, if you get hit hard, no matter what colors you prefer, you are turning black and blue!


  1. You are right on. My 4-year-old hates pink and only because he has been told it is a girl color. I tell him there is nothing wrong with pink and he thinks I am crazy.

  2. Yeah but you are a 1st grade schoolteacher - THAT'S a girl's job! At least your son will never get trichinosis or salmonella from eating undercooked pork and chicken! Thanks for visiting. W.C.C.

  3. I am now an old geezer. So I remember a 'style
    fad' where charcoal and pink were in favor. Lasted not more than a couple of years in late Fifties, I think. I had a dance combo where we wore charcoal trousers and pink bartender jackets with black or maroon bow ties. We quit that when some man ordered me to bring his wife an ashtray while I was on break. Nobody messes with a Union Musician's break!