Welcome back to Roar: The Podcast! In this episode, sophomore Nathaniel Hekster, sophomore Elias Panou and freshman Amos Press discuss the color pink, along with the harmful gender stereotypes and notions that accompany the color.
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Nathaniel Hekster, sophomore at Santa Clara High School
Elias Panou, sophomore at Santa Clara High School
Amos Press, freshman at Santa Clara High School
Nat: Hello everyone and welcome to Santa Clara High School’s Roar: The Podcast.
Elias: My name’s Elias Panou. I am a sophomore at Santa Clara High School, and I am the Opinion Section editor for the paper.
Amos: My name is Amos Press. I am a freshman at Santa Clara High School, and I am a staff writer for the Roar.
Nat: Hi, my name is Nat. I am a sophomore at Santa Clara High School, and I am the Alternative Media editor for the Roar.
Elias: Before we get into this podcast, I would like to discuss our pronouns. I am he/him, what about you Nat?
Nat: I am he/him
Amos: I use he/him pronouns
Elias: Let’s talk about our subject. In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, that is October we are currently recording on the 27th, my friend Amos here, he noted the abnormalization of men wearing pink, and we want to talk about normalizing it. Well, come around to the later stages of the month we finally decided to discuss and talk about it.
Amos: So I noticed that, in Homecoming Week, there was “On Wednesday We Wear Pink,” from the famous movie, “Mean Girls.” You know, a really nice reference, really funny; it’s so fully innocent. It is, really. It just reminded me that in society, there is basically everywhere for the past 100-ish years. This is because for a certain time, there were no colors right?
Elias: It’s more than that; it’s a dimensional thing too. We didn’t really have access to such color before the modern age.
Amos: Exactly. It’s a stereotype and there are more and more stereotypes every day. I think it should be noted and should be talked about that everyone should be more comfortable wearing whatever [color] you want. When I see people wearing pink or a red Thrasher t-shirt or whatever, I don’t think there should be a “Oh, I’m going to assume whatever kind of person this is or whatever, based on what they wear.”
Nat: This color assignment to gender is just unhealthy. Society takes colors and assigns identity to things. As humans, we mentally personify everything. We see chairs and backpacks, and in many languages we assign them genders. And this is something that is just not applicable
Amos: It just makes people like, “Oh, expressing myself? That will never happen.” It’s just kind of like gatekeeping for colors.
Elias: Yeah, I remember when I was much, much – even younger I should say because I am still young – my family owned these IKEA plates and they were all different colors. Every single time it was time to pick out the plates or whatever, my brother and I were pissed when we got the pink or the purple one. It was always, “Colors don’t matter,” which is what the adults said. But did they ever really address the issue of why we thought the colors mattered? We were brought up in this environment where it really felt like everything around us was gendered, everything was personified, and we needed to make the characteristics our mind assigns to the sense – which projects to us – and we really needed to find a way to look around the world and see it as us. I realize now that was the issue – that’s where it came from – and I feel like I wouldn’t have the same, “Oh, this guy is wearing pink. That is a little bit odd,” that I have nowadays if the issue would have been addressed when I was younger.
Nat: Color has been assigned gender and that has been drilled into the minds of children, even before they have been born.
Elias: So when we are talking about that, we are talking about gender reveal parties, right?
Nat: Exactly, yes. Whenever there is a kid who is about to be born, there is always some pink or blue thing that denotes the gender of a child, whether it be some blue powder explosion, “Ooo yay! It’s a boy,” or some pink balloon fest it’s, “Yay! A Girl!” Even when I was growing up, there was always some room with pink furniture, pink paint, pink everything. When my sister was growing up she was put in a room with pink walls, her sheets were pink and she had pink butterflies on the walls and flowers.
Amos: Now, animals are gendered too. That is really weird.
Elias: I think animals in a sense – because the way we assign genders to ourselves, that’s the social construct. But more or less, when it comes to animals, that’s literally their nature, their biology and that’s their sex.
Amos: Yeah, but I mean butterflies. That’s a construct.
Elias: I got called a nancy boy for chasing butterflies when I was younger.
Amos: That’s exactly what we are talking about. It’s drilled into you. Speaking of drilled, when you are growing up, pop stars and TV shows are a really big influence. Those people – companies, like Disney and Nickelodeon are kind of changing – are choosing people who are singing, who are endorsed. People who are all pink leather and all of these flower explosions.
Elias: That Barbie kind of thing?
Amos: Barbies are important in this argument.
Nat: As you (said) animals, that kind of thing, they have been assigned genders as well. All of these things come from our subconscious thought, that men are more masculine and women are more feminine. Men are the people who go out and hunt, and women stay home and gather and take care of the houses. You have to acknowledge that this isn’t so for everybody in our species. For example bees, the women are the ones who work, and the men do nothing.
Elias: That’s a whole other element of psychology of what we are delving into. Talking about the men and the “flipping.” More or less, we can talk about the colors, and when we view the color spectrum, I think this is an interesting thing. I read about it several weeks ago. It has some sort of connection with the way we see color. It’s connected to the way humans perceive the senses. It’s so complicated I don’t think I can go deeper into it than that.
Amos: This is slightly off topic. A lot of schools use certain colors – light blues, grays and whites – to make it feel not like it’s boring but to instead be completely neutral. But there’s a lot of other things going on in a teenagers life that need to be completely neutral, and that’s really important. The blue and the pink thing is “I don’t want to be neutral. I want to be this,” but it’s also a construct.
Elias: It’s all a construct. Let’s go to the modern age, the present. The negative effects of this. To this day, personally, for me, I can’t see a dude wearing pink and think, “Well, that’s out of the ordinary” even though it’s not. It’s a color. That’s again, grilled into the mind. I go into the minds of other people who don’t even realize they’re doing it, or maybe they do realize they’re doing it and they’re taking it too far. Like I said, nancy boy. It ties into homophobia or transphobia and all those things. Let’s run down the basic conclusion: pink looks abnormal on dudes, (and) blue looks abnormal on many girls, maybe at a younger age. Honestly, it’s just homophobia, transphobia. Do we want to talk about that greater, really, really horrible stigma effect it has on the LGBTQ+ community?
Nat: I was hanging out with a group of friends, a couple of years ago, and we saw this man in a pink shirt, a pale pink, and one of my friends said, “Oh, he’s gay,’ or something along those lines. While that may have been true, it has no real connection with the color of shirt he’s wearing. These things are so oversimplified, these gender assignments. We see a masculine person, a man wearing or doing something feminine—
Amos: But what is feminine?
Nat: Exactly. The color pink isn’t even a feminine color. It’s been assigned that. It’s been given that color. We’ve made ourselves think that it’s that color. If someone thinks of girls, one of the first things (they think) of is pink.
Elias: Exactly, and those pointless genderisms, how many times have we gone into a store or something and it’s marketed towards kids, and it always like, “Oh, a boy’s doctor’s kit or a girl’s doctor’s kit,” and the difference is just a bunch of plastic kids, and one of them is blue and one of them is pink. What kind of commercial waste is that?
Amos: Lazy marketing.
Elias: You go into Spirit Halloween or whatever the name’s called. Commercial waste. That’s a big issue.
Nat: I’m just strolling down the aisle in a Target, you look to the right, everything is just oversaturated in pink.
Elias: Between Barbies and Legos even. Legos are going, “Oh, we’re gonna have Barbies with Legos.”
Nat: Yeah, I look to the right and I see whatever. I look to the right and I see just toy soldiers in war sets and everything in black. Oh yeah, everything’s masculine (sarcastic) everything’s cool (sarcastic). It’s not good.
Elias: Toxic masculinity and everything the opposite of that. But we’re not going to get into that. We don’t want to get out of our element. We’re talking about who we are. We’re dudes.
Amos: And in the nineteenth century when pastel color started to become popular as dyes because they figured out how to do that, they just straight up assigned genders to colors, and blue was assigned to girls because it was quote “a dainty color” and pink was seen as a strong color. So actually, for a pretty long time, it was the opposite of assignment, and then it became that there were darker colors of blue that people were like, “Stronger color. It should be assigned to be masculine.” Also about the person who was wearing pink thing – this is still something that is happening – a lot of people who think something is wrong or might not be exactly right, like the assignment of colors to genders, might try to bring it up, and then it fails, or it is perceived like “Oh, that’s gay.” That’s the biggest sign that somebody’s uncomfortable or they feel uncomfortable about the subject, and they bring it up to try to make light of it in a joking way.
Elias: The final modern day effect we’re going to look at – I alluded to it a minute ago – is toxic masculinity, and this can kinda tie into the wearing of pink and homophobia. I’ll admit we’re all guilty of it at times; we see pink, and it all comes to our minds, but I think it goes more in depth into toxic masculinity when we really think just how men who see pink and go, “It’s feminine. I can’t wear pink” they’re using it to put other people down, and we need to talk about how that’s going to be fixed.
Amos: And that will be our last topic. I really think the start and the first steps of phasing this tradition out, because it is a tradition, really, in a lot of families, is making the beginning of a person’s life more vague. Something like, “Oh, you have a yellow maybe green” for a gender reveal party if you even have to. Because gender reveal parties are also really controversial in general. Then you’re not buying… if your child is like, “My favorite color is lilac,” which would be really cool for a little kid to say because that’s a complicated word to say.
Nat: It’s an epic color.
Amos: Yes, epic color. Then you buy them black clothes, or whatever clothing. It’s not if you have these blue or green or whatever clothes. Just dress them in those clothes. If it’s not with intent – if you are not assigning them a color with intent – then it doesn’t matter. Then you’re just saying “Green on this day, blue on this day, pink on this day.” There is no harm or intent or keeping this negative connotation of…
Elias: This is completely nitpicky, but negation is the word you would use.
Amos: Yeah, okay.
Nat: We don’t even need to assign colors for children either.
Amos: Yeah, if you had a kid, and they said, “Oh, I like this color…”
Elias: Sorry to interrupt you, but life without color, or… not being able to choose colors?
Nat: We don’t have to assign because they can just choose every color. Like for gender reveal parties, we don’t need blue or pink balloons or whatever. Say it could be rainbow or something. It’s not a specific color.
Elias: Alternatively, when it comes to color, especially if you are raising a young girl or a young “dude,” you shouldn’t dress them the “opposite” color either to try to combat this. The exact opposite thing you should do is not to assign pink or blue because you are trying to challenge the general narrative. Just don’t assign your child the “opposite” color because when you do that, it is still an assignment.
Amos: You are still making gender assignments.
Elias: In general don’t combat it. Don’t say, “Oh, I’m gonna be a savior. I am going to help this etc.,” just straight up don’t assign your child a color, or anything. It pisses me off, and I don’t mean until the child is old enough to have a “conscience” or anything, and be like, “Oh, I only have to give him gray (clothes).”
Amos: Do whatever is natural.
Elias: Exactly, what looks good. You are going to give your child a painted crib or something. When I grew up, my room was painted yellow, and it worked, and now I don’t see pink in exactly the same way.
Nat: I think that it is a perfect part to round out our podcast. Thank you for joining me here. I know it was a pleasure talking with you all.
Amos: Indeed it was.
Elias: Yeah, thank you for listening to Roar: The podcast.
Nat: And out!