Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Color Pink: Not Just a Wimpy Shade of Red

What's your favorite color? Mine used to be blue or green. Now I prefer red or something warmer and brighter than the cool colors. Often how well a color looks depends on the setting in which it is seen, or on other adjacent colors. Unlike most men, I like the color pink, but not as much as several other colors and not enough to include it in my purchases, as in clothing, tools, or cars. I'm inclined to believe that men who don't like pink are just insecure with their masculinity, but I might be wrong. Many people shy away from purple also. I wonder how pink ever became the property of females. Is there anything inherently different about pink that automatically designates it as a "female" color? I don't think so. Our association of pink as feminine is likely a learned attitude. Baby girls are identified by wearing pink and baby boys wear blue. But boys gradually disengage themselves from blue as they grow older, sharing it's former distinction with other colors, while many girls hang onto pink and make it a part of their "color"identity as women, perhaps more so than most other colors. Of course there are exceptions. Not all women like pink. I've heard some women express a keen dislike of pink.

What would it be like if people, as is the case with some mammals, could only see in black and white. Living in a colorful world enriches our lives. But what, if anything , are we missing by having the ability to see in color. Is the presence of color distracting us from some other, currently hidden, beauty that would also enrich our lives? How many times do we notice, not just black and white, but also the multitude of subtle shades in between those two opposites. If we lived in a black and white world would one shade of gray be identified as feminine and another as masculine? Would that indicate a greater skill in humans to distinguish the differences in tone, shadows, and shades of gray than we currently possess?

At my place of employment there are two brand new mountain bikes locked together on a table outside the snack room. They're prizes for a fund raising raffle. Both are the same size - 26 inches. Both have nearly alike frame designs and are build by the same company. Both have the same number of gears. There are identical small rectangular reflectors under the rear of each seat. Both have the name NEXT on the side of the frame. However the red one is designated as a boy's bike and the blue one as a girl's. Why? Perhaps the difference would be obvious to a bike connoisseur, but I don't see it. There are only three parts of a bicycle that come in frequent contact with the rider's body: the pedals, the seat, and the hand grips on the handle bar. In these two bikes the seats are identical and the pedals nearly alike. However the girl's bike has a wider hand grip, as if made for a larger hand. And why is the color red assigned to the boy's bike and blue to the girl's? Are women trying to take over another color and make it their own? Let's put a stop to it now. We'll let them keep pink. Pink's OK. It's more than just a wimpy shade of red, but not much more. It's really not THAT great. They can have it. But that's it. No more. The colors, like education, respect, wages, promotions, job opportunities, job descriptions, religious status, and other gifts, blessings, and opportunities in life should be equally available to both sexes..... and if I win the raffle, I promise to accept either bike with equal gratefulness.

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