Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pink Conversation: Can Men Be Pink?

Our culture has reserved pink as the color of feminity. "All other colors shall be available to men, but women only shall have pink." It says so in the Bible, doesn't it? Somewhere in Genesis, I'm pretty sure, where God tells Adam and Eve about the fruits in the garden.

It's sort of a sneaky discrimination marker kind of thing. Little boys are on to this and will absolutely refuse pink at all costs. They would rather have NO CLOTHES than pink clothes. (well, maybe that's a bad example; I know lots of little kids who prefer no clothes no matter what colors are available.) But it's like the Nazis telling the Jews, "OK, you guys are the only lucky ones that get to wear these adorable yellow stars on armbands."

So I really did not wear pink from the time I was old enough to twig to this situation until I was in law school. I finally felt empowered enough then, I guess, to risk wearing the color of the "fairer but weaker sex." Since then, I have gradually gotten more comfortable with femininity, finding all the advantages that weren't immediately apparent at first. For instance, I got to carry and give birth to two children, which was a pretty amazing experience. And women tend to be so supportive of each other (well, some women).

Librarianship is where I really found that supportive network of women who really want others to succeed. Who understand that the success of others only enhances their own success, never diminishes it.

And I have to say that I have male colleagues in the library and academic communities who have that same excellent attitude to collaboration. I am so pleased to have good friends, no matter what genderly persuasion, who have that terrific supportive nature.

So, if I define PINK as the aspect of helpful supportiveness, a collaborative attitude, yeah, I guess guys can be pink too. After all, if even cowgirls can get the blues, it's only fair that cowboys can be pink sometimes, too.

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