Monday, September 8, 2008

Pink is the Color of My... *

...MY BASEBALL MITT?! Seriously?!?!

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I should back up a bit. The question is, how far?

A week or more ago, the glorious, gregarious, adorable Gunfighter asked us, his loyal groupies, if we would be interested in guest blogging whilst he's off sunning in Fay-soaked Florida. Having absolutely nothing better to do with myself and having an abundance of material for my own blogs--plural, not singular--I said yes.**

And the moment I agreed to share my wit and wisdom,*** I immediately ended up with a severe case of blogger's block.

Until this evening, that is.

This evening featured me meeting an adorable little girl in my neighborhood named Lucy and a pair of pink crocs.

And that's when I found my voice again.

You see, pink has me seeing red!

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I want to like Crocs. Really, I do.
But truthfully, I have a hard time taking anyone seriously who's wearing them.
Especially people who wear them with socks.
But I'm digressing.


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I should probably state out the gate that I don't have kids. I'm one of those childless people. Mostly by choice. But I love kids and little girls are "sugar and spice and very thing nice" and little boys are just heart stealers.

There are trade-offs with not having kids. You grow selfish and soft sans kids. Other people's kids who aren't being sugary and spicy and making you swoon are petulant and annoying and you just want them to go away. On the other hand, if I had kids, I'd know all the joys my friends and fellow bloggers describe about watching their wee ones grow and develop and become their own little personalities.

Having said all that, it's probably a damn good thing I'm not a parent and especially not of little girls, because this ramped-up business of objectifying the sexes based on a color palette sets my jaw askew and finds me rolling my eyes and sighing.

Surely by now we've outgrown the whole "pink is for girls, blue is for boys" nonsense. And yet, alas and alack, I fear not.

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Pink beach toys?! Seriously?!
What's wrong with a little yellow bucket?
Little yellow buckets are synonymous with the beach and sun and fun.
But pink? Pink implies squealing, delicate children who squirm
at the feel of sand and run from those little crabs
that make tent-pole-sized holes all over the Outer Banks.
Pink at the beach: wrong, wrong, wrong.


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Imagine this scene.

Target--the hippest, bestest big box retailer EVER.

I'm walking down a main aisle zipping past the Xboxes, digital cameras, scented candles, Post-it notes, box fans, luggage sets, and made-in-China shelving units when suddenly, I am visually assaulted by a sea of pink.

Pink bike helmets... Meh.

Pink swim goggles... Oy.

Pink tennis racquets and tennis balls... No!

Pink baseball mitts and softballs...

And that's the straw that breaks this camel's back.

This is wrong on so many levels, I can barely speak. Gaping like a fish out of water and pointing like a prehistoric, preverbal woman, my partner, in an effort to explain and comfort me, says, "Oh yeah. It's a marketing gimmick. I read about it in Runner's World several years ago. Some marketing genius decided to take men's products and 'pink it and shrink it' to boost sales."

As I continue gaping like the aforementioned fish unable to sufficiently express my horror, she concludes, "Yeah, it offends me, too."

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I can't even begin to articulate how wrong I find this. Even wronger/more wrong that the pink beach kit or the pink crocs or just pink as a delimiter of gender identity in general. This pinkification? This is more than I can bear.

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If I had girls, I would officially be a bad mother because I would absolutely refuse to give my daughter a PINK baseball mitt.

Mine was rawhide brown and that's how it should be, regardless of gender. Pink embodies softness and crying and, as the famous line goes, "There's no crying in baseball."

Baseball is not a sport for softness. Baseball--and its kin-sport, softball--are tough, dirty, aggressive sports. Pink is not tough, not dirty, and not aggressive. Pink is silly. And as girls we have enough hurdles to overcome without staying stuck in silly.

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Which would you rather? Brum? Or the Pink Free Style Speedster? Okay, okay. I'll concede on this one. That pink speedster is pretty darn cute. I'd get that for a girl. But I still draw the line: NO PINK BASEBALL MITTS!

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I'm not totally opposed to pink as a color. It's a lovely color. In moderation.

One of my favorite Brooks Brothers shirts is a pink window pane with French cuffs. It's very feminine in a rather dashing sort of way. It's a core component in my dapper dyke look. But it's one of only three pink shirts in my entire repertoire of Brooks Brothers shirts. Blue is the main staple in my collection, because it makes my eyes pop, garnering me lots of compliments.

More importantly, pink is a very significant and meaningful color for Breast Cancer Awareness--a cause dear to me because I've had several friends now who have battled this disease and because I believe in breast checks and regular exams. In this case, pink is very, very good.

But saturating the market with pink as a marketing ploy? The pinkification of consumer products for girls?

Well, that's just demeaning and patronizing. At this rate, the next trend will be issuing tools for our professional trades in pink. I'm not sure how seriously I'd take a woman behind a pink computer or a cop with pink pistol or a doctor with a pink stethoscope (unless she was my kids pediatrician but even then...) No, no, no.

Who knows. Maybe I'll get over it. Maybe I'm making more out of this than should be made. Maybe.

But I'm standing my ground on the baseball mitt.

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Check 'em early and check 'em often, ladies.
But please, please, please, for the love of all that is holy, chuck that pink baseball mitt!


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* This entry originally appeared on 08.22.08 as a guest post at the blog Gunfighter: A Modern Warrior's Life. I confess, I like to keep my writing in one place, so I'm cross posting it here for archival purposes more than anything. Gunny, thanks for the opportunity to guest blog while you were on vacation! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

** For those who don't know me, that's a healthy dose of sarcasm going on there.

*** Ibid.

7 comments:

Di said...

I am more offended at the rampant overdose of marketing and consumerism than I am with the pink itself. I love pink. :-) I know what you mean, though. I am less inclined to see a gendering conspiracy than I am to see a corporate marketing conspiracy. A way to get little girls to become consumers early and often. Bleah.

Crocs? I have little opinion. The only people who really wear them here are nurses and other hospital/medical staff, when they're on duty. I'm guessing they're quite comfortable?

Great post, though, Tewkesy. No one bitches and rants like you do! I mean that as the highest of compliments, of course. :-D

Virginia said...

I'm sick of Crocs. Everybody wears them here, even old men for pete sakes. I have 4 granddaughters and I agree about the pinkification thing. I will however admit up front that I have one smashing pair of hot pink suede flats with.... you're gonna gag... a pink suede flower on top! Don't go messing with me about my flats. When you get to be my age you have find things to distract the eye away from your middle!

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Di: I have to agree with you! I don't mind pink, but the overdose on in-your-face marketing and the urgent, must-have-now-now-now consumption habits of many Americans is really beginning to bother me.

As for crocs, I've heard they're very comfortable and, for a long time, the only people who seemed to be wearing them were healthcare professionals and home gardeners. When they became a fashion must, I don't know, but they need to go.

Glad you like my bitches and rants. I try to be good at a few things in life!


Virginia: I'll keep your fashion advice in mind as gravity takes an upper hand and the middle increases in circumference. Though I may have to find something other than pink suede shoes. I'm afraid they won't go well with my dapper dyke look!

Virginia said...

My pink flats, your Brooks Brothers shirt. Hey, freedom of choice, right? (Well ....maybe left). :) Vive la difference!

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Virginia: Just for the record, I would totally cavort around town with you and your pink suede shoes. Hey, didn't Elvis write a song about that?

Cele said...

I saved this blog to read for Saturday. Dayum I love your rants.
As for pink, you hit it right on. I tried very hard to keep pink out of my daughter's repetiore of colors. Now after she has entered her thirties, pink is suddenly her color. Ugh. Pink is good for baby and bald toddler identification, after that, ugh.

As to crocs, they make my feet itch just thinking about them. Number one I can't imagine wearing them without socks - sweaty feet sliming all around in them ...shivers... I'd rather go barefoot. My mom wears a red pair while gardening. I'll stick with my moccasins.

Pink baseball gloves, isn't that for the Elle Woods gang? My mitt is well worn tanned leather and wills stay that way. thankyouverymuch.

Dapper Dyke, dayum you crack me up everytime you say that, you are such a happy, embraceable person. I love it.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Cele: I'm tellin' you, I'm the anti-Christ of PINK IT AND SHRINK IT. In fact, I'm going to birthday party next week for a one-year old girl and I'm doing my darndest to find a gift that does NOT involve the color pink.

As for my dapper dykedom, I'm happy to share the joy!