Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pink: The most controversial color?

My mom used to tell me "There are two kinds of guys: car guys or sports guys." There weren't categories for different "kinds" of girls.

Blue was my favorite color when I was a little girl, but even by age six it was firmly implanted that I should have to like pink (which was probably why I hated it) and that boys were not allowed to.

Our society does not confine women to such narrow definitions as far as what it is acceptable to be interested in or enjoy doing in the same way that men are. They can be interested in fishing, hunting, cars or sports, and the worst that could happen is that they are called a "tomboy," which is not really an insult. To be completely honest, I find myself thinking along the same narrow lines at times when I see a man wearing a light pink shirt and think "Wow! He is brave to be wearing pink...I wonder if his wife picked that shirt." My next thought is usually "Well why is it 'okay' for women to like and wear pink and not men?" It is just part of a constructed idea of gender, which Christopher Kilmartin defines as "a social pressure to behave and experience the self in ways that the culture considers appropriate for one's sex" (from The Masculine Self, p. 9).

These gender constructs are present everywhere in society, beginning at the moment we are born and swaddled in the "appropriate" blanket. However, there is a recent campaign that makes it acceptable for men to wear pink to promote breast cancer awareness. While I fully support cancer awareness and the idea behind "real men wear pink" campaign, I think it is unfortunate that it still limits men to liking one traditionally feminine color and it can only be worn in the context of supporting the cause.

Do you think that this campaign is positive? And why does breast cancer as a health issue for women receive so much support across genders while prostate and testicular cancer are rarely discussed?

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