by Susuana Antubam
I was in a philosophy of arts lecture which focused on gender, and lecturer pointed out the colour of my laptop out in front of the whole lecture. He was using this as an example of how conventions associated with gender influence us, and seemed very please to be making this point using my laptop. Wrong move dude.
I gave him a look - to be honest the lecture was pretty poor in my opinion, since he didn't talk about gender as a spectrum or people that don’t associate with a gender - but I happen to like my pink laptop, I happen to like allot of colours, and I will not shy away from any of them because I'm a feminist. Its a colour for goodness sake!
But this lecturer did happen to say one thing that was interesting. It was about the colour pink originally being a colour associated with men and blue being associated with women. (There's still issues here with its exclusion of gender queer people but I guess it was even more under highlighted in those days). Pink was taken on by men because it was to a bight vivacious colour and women had blue because it was calm and you know … well just think pastel blue.. not at all shocking or controversial. This lecturer then mumbled something about women taking it on and the colour pink being attached to homosexually and how gender specific colour wheel rotating over time somehow. Theres a few other cultural stories that's explain this, from the association with St Mary's clothes to social construction in Nazi Germany. However, one thing that they all mostly agree on is that none of this really came into power until the 20th century.
So why did this change take place? Who knows. But something we can look at is why these gender specific colour associations still exist today? I do believe its been improved and people are choosing to opt out of the conventions, however its clearly still a bit of an issue, especially when it comes to children’s items. I really think childhood is when this social construct starts. When I was born I was dressed in white (partly because my parents was hoping for a boy but didn’t know before hand and wanted to play it safe). But as strangers approached this white bundle of potential patriarchy bashing joy they assumed I was a boy.
Now in response to his pink lego rubbish going on, sure make pink lego – but don’t aim it at girls. Lego is supposed to be fun, gender neutral, what's wrong with people? Stop helping to build the social construct, get creative. What genius sat around and thought: “Mmm we need more money, I know, we'll make pink lego and market it at girls”. Really now?
Colours are colours and I think people need to stop binding them to gender. I'm a female feminist and I sometimes wear pink on Wednesdays. The two parts of that previous sentence have as much association with each other than this next one: “I ride horses and I also watch Friends while eating chips.
PS My favourite colour is blue, because its the colour of the sky on a beautiful day, but I also get sea sick and it sometimes reminds me of that … awkward...