Why we need to rethink pink

A nice commentary by Elizabeth Payne on pink, pink-washing, and ‘think before you pink’.

“Pink is the quintessential female colour. The profile on pink is playful, life-affirming. We have studies as to its calming effect, its quieting effect, its lessening of stress. (Pastel pink) is a shade known to be health-giving; that’s why we have expressions like ‘in the pink.’ You can’t say a bad thing about it.”

And that is part of the problem. It’s like kicking a puppy — a puppy that helps raise money, after all, for an important cause. It also raises awareness, which is one of the reasons governments pay close attention to breast cancer. In Ontario, the provincial system to screen, test and treat women for breast cancer is one of the success stories of the health-care system. It is, in most cases, both efficient and humane, which is saying a lot.

It seems harmless. But, in fact, there is something oppressive about pink. Something that leaves little space for the wall-kicking anger and grit and plain ugliness that also comes with cancer.

And to extend the pinkification to issues as dire and serious as child marriages and the fight for education for girls is just wrong. Malala Yousafzai’s story calls for howls of outrage, not delicate lashings of pink.

Don’t pink her. Don’t pink us.

Why we need to rethink pink.


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