By Eva Posner
I hate pink.
It’s really an awful color in my opinion. I do not begrudge those who like it. We are all different, so rock it if you want to.
But I will not. I cannot. It is not in my wardrobe or my color wheel.
I have the exact opposite problem as David Harris-Gershan, author of My Life with a Pink Water Bottle. Harris-Gershan found himself ridiculed for using his wife’s pink water bottle, and instead of cowering to attempts at humiliation and intimidation by other men, he decided to use it to make a statement about gender roles and sexism. He now carries it around on a regular basis, using people’s reaction to it as a teachable moment. I think his reaction is fantastic and I applaud him for challenging stereotypes.
As a woman, however, I am bombarded with pink constantly, and I am so over it.
A few weeks ago I went to Sports Chalet to pick up a few supplies for this year’s Mission Bay Triathlon. My wet suit from the year before didn’t fit anymore due to my post-baby figure, and I needed a replacement. While browsing the store I opted to go for a tri-suit instead, which is made to be worn throughout the race, rather than having to change from a wet suit into running clothes. I figured it should shave some time off of my transitions. It seemed the efficient, and slightly cheaper option.
There was only one problem: every woman’s tri-suit was pink. Partnered with the other two acceptably feminine colors, purple and turquoise. That’s right, we aren’t even allowed to have real blue. It’s not dainty enough. Or something.
The same can be said for most brands of women’s athletic shoes, sports bras, tennis equipment, and bikes (I had to buy a men’s bike to avoid any trace of “girly” colors). They even make pink footballs and baseball bats.
In a store whose sole purpose is to sell athletic equipment, (and athletics are generally considered a man’s world which is why Title IX is sadly necessary), I could not find a reasonably colored suit. Because, didn’t you know that women will only exercise when they can look cute doing it? And cute means pink because we all really just want to be Barbie.
I will admit there are more options available online. But like most women, trying things on before buying them is a necessity, so going to a brick and mortar store is the only way to be sure I’m not wasting money or have to deal with a cumbersome return policy.
When I was 16 my father bought my brother and myself golf clubs. He loves to golf, and he wanted us to go with him. He also bought me pink golf balls. Maybe because they were pink I would want to play more? My brother just got plain white golf balls. I guess if you’re a guy normal sporting equipment is enough.
I know my dad didn’t mean to insult me. He knew that in a upper-middle class man’s world I needed to be able to play golf if I wanted to make and sustain connections with important business and politico types. I appreciated the lesson, and although I am terrible at the game, I can talk it well enough to get by when I need to. The ironic part is that as a woman I am rarely invited to play. Because me and my pink golf balls don’t have a place on the course.
Remember last year when BIC released the BIC For Her pens? They came in pink and purple. Thankfully there was a controversy surrounding the obvious sexism suggesting that women had been using man-pens to write down all of our recipes, directions to play dates for our children, and phone messages at our secretary jobs. There wasn’t enough of a backlash though– and somebody must be buying them– because they are still available.
And don’t even get me started on October! The ridiculous barrage of pink that is supposed to somehow cure breast cancer; all the while trivializing the disease (which kills men too, by the way) into something cute and feminine and completely overshadowing other types of cancer that also need awareness and research money.
I’m not saying all women should reject pink. A lot of people, of all genders, think it is a perfectly good color. And although there is no accounting for taste, they should be able to purchase items in that god-awful pigment if they so desire. But I should not be strong-armed into it by a lack of options just because I am a woman.
Just in case you’re wondering, thanks to the clearance rack, some miss matching, and a pair of men’s tri-shorts, I wore black on race day.
I sure wish I could do something as simple as carry around a water bottle to protest gender stereotypes.
This article originally appeared at San Diego Free Press.