Monday, January 23, 2006

Pink Invocation

There is an ancient and mighty prayer attributed to St.Patrick, called the Breastplate of St. Patrick or the Deer's Cry, because it seeks protection. It is much longer than the part usuallly quoted. You can see the entire prayer by searching those terms on search engines or looking at

I hope it will not seem sacrilegious to other Christians if I use the most-often quoted portion of that prayer here, and modify it to contemplate the place of pink and what it stands for in my life and in librarianship and in our world today.

I have previously written a blog page just on Pink itself and how I went through first a little girl stage of loving it, then an older girl stage of mistrusting how it appeared to be segregated. In our culture and time, the color pink has been used to stand for femininity, and all the good and also the bad that society attributes to that concept.

It means nurturing, caring, mothering. It means girls giggling and doing each others' nails and hair and sharing secrets. It means shopping, and having tea, and crossing your legs and wearing fingernail polish and hose and high heels and party dresses and lipstick. It means baking and cooking and taking care of people when they are sick. It means changing poopy diapers and getting up with croupy babies, even when it's not your turn. It means putting your career second even if you are the more talented or smarter one. It means obsessing about your weight and appearance. It means good things, but it also means bad things. It can also mean thinking twice about getting on an elevator if it's a dark hallway and the elevator has just one man on it you don't recognize. I am so glad I live and my daughter lives even more in a time when we are free to take the parts of Pink that we are comfortable with, and skip other parts. I wish we were free to skip the dark elevator part, too!

The thing about librarianship, nursing, secretaries, K-12 teaching and other positions that have become mostly feminine professions, is the men who take jobs in these fields get tinted pink, too. It isn't fair. It makes no sense. And if it happens, it should be a positive thing. For lots of reasons, it is a very good thing to have men in these professions. I certainly do not want to scare guys off from the field. But it is a truth that there is a shading in ignorant peoples' minds, and it would be unfair to hide it or say it was not true. I hope we can change that. I hope we can make the Pink of librarianship a positive for both genders, and remove the stigma for all of us. So, here is my version of a portion of St. Patrick's ancient prayer:

Librarian's Invocation

Pink bring caring with me, Pink before me, Pink behind me,
Pink bring caring in me, Pink beneath me, Pink above me,
Pink on my right, Pink on my left,
Pink when I lie down, Pink when I sit down, Pink when I arise,
Pink bring caring in the heart of every one who thinks of me,
Pink bring caring in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Pink bring caring in every eye that sees me,
Pink bring caring in every ear that hears me.

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