I originally wrote this piece for the blog of Iris Dares Designs and have slightly changed it and republished here today after a conversation with a friend about me being feminist but having pink hair! and while I was at it I did a video too about pink, the purple glasses challenge and questioning things :)
Pink is my favorite colour. I think it always has been, and funny enough it is my son’s favourite colour as well. He likes it mainly because my hair is pink and it reminds him of me, but he is blissfully ignorant to the fact that pink is a colour that is also a statement, and not any statement, but one that defends one thing and the opposite at the same time.
I have always been a so-called ‘girly girl’, I loved playing with dolls, princesses, I have watched every romantic comedy going and I know all Disney songs by heart so I guess pink was just in the bag with all those things, and I liked it. I like pink now as a shout against the narrow boxes of what girls need to look like and love, but also as revindication that all those things are nothing to be ashamed of. Pink to me means the reinvention of what being a woman is, what being a feminist is and on top of it all I genuinely happen to really like the colour.
I love being in yoga pants, even in my grey comfy tracksuit bottoms, and that is ok. I also like how I look with makeup and long earrings, and that is also ok. I love seeing women with mini skirts and women with baggy trousers, some with their hair perfectly styled and some with a lazy ponytail. I don’t preassume that any of them are not feminists because, despite general opinion, there is nothing wrong being feminist and fabolous. There is no single ‘correct’ way to be feminist, and it definitely doesn’t come with a uniform!
When Chris and I created The Feminist Shop we wanted to shout to the world that feminism is not a strict way of doing/living/thinking but the committed defense of equal rights and opportunities, and to me that means choices. It is not a VIP club, it is a journey.
It is important to understand that a lot of the choices that we make are massively pushed by society, but it doesn’t mean that we need to reject them, we might actually love them! Being conscious of the way the world and society are built is useful to make our choices more informed and broad.
To me, understanding that I was expected to do certain things just because I was a girl or woman has liberated me from doing them; other times it has reassured me that I actually enjoy them, and most times this understanding just helps me navigate life by learning and unlearning and working out what is best for me, Virginia, in my unique ever-changing circumstances.
I know that as a parent I want my kids to have all the choices and options from the very beginning, and having a boy and a girl is a really useful way to learn how difficult it is to neutralise the multilayered power of society to shape them.
I remember when Eric was born I had a box of chocolates ready for the first person who gave us a card that wasn’t baby blue. It took me several days to give it away, and it became some sort of obsession opening those envelopes just to find another elephant with the words ‘Boy’ in balloons. I had another chocolate box ready for the first one who avoided baby pink or the word ‘Girl’ when Nora was born... once again it took days! even if I had told everyone about the first time! The presents people gave them were different, the clothes, the colours, the animals in their pyjamas, and it was all decided for them, 2 tiny humans unconscious of everything!
Eric hand me downs are full of greys blues and browns, sturdy clothes with stripes and some bears, eagles or dinosaurs. Nora gets dinosaurs too sometimes, but they tend to be smiling, and with crowns, and they are pink or purple. It always hits me how we feel the need to ‘soften’ things for girls, but also how we consider that anything pink is cute and not brave or fierce.
When I see my pink hair in the mirror I see fierce and brave! I see us all changing the narrative and redefining what things mean! And I am proud that Eric wants part of it, owning pink and telling the world that nothing is out of the limits for everyone!