Sweet and Lovely Pink
“Almost all words do have color and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone's eyes light up and know it is a pink word for him or her too” Gladys Taber
Pink is a colour which has a definite character, but it can express many moods. When we think of pink we often think of pink flowers, little girls dresses and candy floss. However there are lots of different exciting pink things, so let's take a tour.
Lipstick and Ribbons
There are many different shades of pink, which can stimulate a variety of feelings, thoughts and connections. For example, pink roses may make you reminisce about Valentine's Day, while beauteous pink blossoms on trees may signal the beginning of spring. Pink can also make you think of juicy, oily lipstick, but pink ribbons remind us of breast cancer awareness. Pastel pinks on the one hand are calming and yet lollypop pink can seem overconfident and boisterous.
When we are pleased about something we are tickled pink and when we feel healthy we are in the pink of health. People or elephants like Dumbo, who hallucinate, are said to be seeing pink elephants and there is even a female pop singer called Pink (you all know who I am talking about).
“The very pink of perfection.” Oliver Goldsmith
Pink is often used to identify, or relate to girls, like the Super Sentai, the Pink Power Rangers, or the female Amy Rose in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Barbie dolls have historically aligned themselves with pink and the Barbie Camper Van is most popular in pink. Then there is Victoria's Secret, the ladies lingerie and beauty brand, which has a provocative sub-brand called Pink.
“Picasso had his pink period and his blue period. I am in my blonde period right now.” Hugh Hefner
Art and Music
The Rose Period, is the term used to describe Pablo Picasso's painting period (from 1904 to 1906),when he used optimistic orange and pink colours. At this time Picasso was in a happy relationship with a French artist and model, Fernande Olivier. The word rose, used to describe this art period is the French word for pink.
In music, who can forget Henry Mancini's "Pink Panther Theme"? or "Pink Cadillac" the rockabilly song by Bruce Springsteen. There was Pink Floyd and Aerosmith also had a song called "Pink" and the The Psychedelic Furs sang "Pretty in Pink", which later inspired the memorable film of the same name, staring Molly Ringwald. The songs original metaphor for pretty in pink, meaning "naked" was lost when the film was made.
....And Other Things
Pink has another darker side however. The Nazis who imprisoned the Jewish people during WW II, forced them to wear a yellow star as identification, but the the pink triangle was used to label homosexual people. The gay community later subverted this discriminatory badge of shame and now the pink triangle proudly represents gay pride and rights.
The term "a pink" has been used by those on the political right, as a disparaging term to describe those politically left of center, in order to associate them with the unpopularity of Communism. And let us not forget The Invisible Pink Unicorn, who is used by religious skeptics as a modern version of Bertrand Russell's teapot, to parody religious beliefs.
“A good role for a woman is hard to come by - be she black, white, or sky-blue pink.” Halle Berry
Some birds like Flamingos are pink, with those healthiest and well fed birds having the most vibrant colour. It is actually carotenoids in plant plankton eaten by the flamingos, that are broken down into pigments by liver enzymes, which give their feathers the colour intensity. Malnourished Flamingo's may turn pale pink.
If you travel to the Galápagos Islands, you can find (if you are lucky) the rare Galápagos Pink Land Iguana, which was identified as a separate species, from the Galapagos land iguana early in 2009. The iguana which is also referred to as "rosada," meaning "pink" in Spanish, obviously has somewhat of a pink body (some of it anyway).
Pink for Boys?
Today we mostly associate pink with girls and blue for boys, yet this was not always the case. In the 1800s both boys and girls were dressed in white and clothing tended to be gender neutral. Look at the photo below of the child in the lovely dress, long hair and patent leather shoes; this is Franklin D. Roosevelt, who became 32nd President of the United States, as a young boy! This sure would have damaged his political aspirations today!
An article in Earnshaw's Infants' Department in 1918, proclaimed that the accepted colour for boys was pink and blue was for girls; today however it is the opposite. There is a view, that blue was favoured for girls due to its association with the Virgin Mary.University of Maryland historian Jo Paoletti,who has researched the field of gender colour symbolism, says there were no real rules regarding gender colour assignation up until the 1950s. Which points to the idea, that we differentiate gender today much more in terms of colour.
An interesting fact is, that Gainsborough's famous painting The Blue Boy, was painted in such blue/green hues as a response to words of advice from his rival Joshua Reynolds, who said "that the masses of light in a picture be always of a warm, mellow colour, yellow, red, or a yellowish white, and that the blue, the grey, or the green colours be kept almost entirely out of these masses, and be used only to support or set off these warm colours".
Essentially the gender assignment of pink is a social construction and we have simply come to associate pink with what is feminine (at least in the West). Pink should be enjoyed by everyone, with no barriers. We should also give a thought to those people who have a certain type of colour blindness with reduced blue sensitivity. Such people have difficulty identifying differences between blue and yellow, violet and red and blue and green and so the world appears as generally red, pink, black, white, grey and turquoise. Sometimes pink may be too much of a good thing!
“Pink isn't just a color it's an Attitude too!”â Miley Cyrus
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