Monday, 7 July 2014

Can Feminists Wear Pink?

I have been meaning to post about this for months and have recently read two posts here and here that prompted me to write my own. 



I've been a feminist pretty much since the day I was born. My mum is a feminist, I grew up believing that women had the right to choose what they wanted to do with their lives, to have freedom of choice, a right to earn their own money. I remember learning that my beloved Auntie Con had chosen not to get married, so she could continue her teaching career and I found it horrific that someone would have to choose between marriage and career. I was five. I still feel sadness for her. She had amazing experiences, travelled to London at a time when it was very difficult for anyone from Tasmania to get much further than Melbourne. She went to a garden party at Buckingham Palace. She was recognised for her work establishing a school for low vision children in Tasmania.

My mother has always loved clothes, and always bought us lovely things to wear. I have always loved pink. I remember my first real bedroom, the one after the Womble wall paper, had vivid pink walls and beautiful pink floral curtains, with a white wardrobe with dressing table. Very feminine. I've always enjoyed crafts like knitting and baking, sewing and colouring in.

The thing about feminism is that it shouldn't be anti feminine by definition. And it shouldn't be about pink. Yes the pinkification of everything is a little tedious, that women should have dainty pink tools or want all their kitchen implements pink *hides pink kettle on the hob* is annoying. However my big beef with dainty pink tools is their quality is usually poorer than bog standard tools, and you end up a) paying a "pink" tax and b) having to buy proper tools to replace them. I was bought a "ladies tool kit" for a birthday and have now replaced all those tools with "proper" ones.

I don't necessarily have anything against dressing girls in pink fluffy dresses if that is what they want to wear, and I have to admit I cooed over a baby in a fluffy pink pram today. Joseph had pink clothes including a great pink t-shirt that said "tough enough to wear pink", that he wore to consultant appointments.  If I had a girl she probably would have dolls and pink dresses. She'd have dungarees and welly boots, and trucks and cars as well, just as Joseph has had dolls and stories about girls as well as boys. I'm sure I would have still built a bug house, and helped my daughter collect snails to put in the bottom of it.

The "pink" debate can diminish from the message of feminism.

I don't care if your daughter wants to be a ballet dancer or an electrician, she should have the same rights as anybody else to pursue your dream. If she wants to be a nurse or a consultant she should have the right to be one, and her gender should not enter into it only her ability and aptitude.

Its 2014, and still girls perform less well at science and mathematics. Still girls are expected to do certain things and behave in certain ways, and the pressure is no less for boys. If a boy doesn't like sport, is into quieter pursuits, or is geeky they still are often seen as less "manly" whatever that means.

Feminists can wear pink, or can eschew it. They can wear florals, skirts, dresses or live in jeans. They can be teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, engineers, stay at home mums.

Feminism means choice based on your own desires, dreams, interests and abilities, not on your gender.

Feminists can, and do, wear pink. 


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