I read an article in one of the recent editions of Vogue (as you know, one of my essentials of life), which discussed an interesting fashion trend for this season: pink lipstick. In the article entitled, “The new, subtly subversive power of pink,” Jessica Bennett discusses the color pink, among other things, as establishing itself as the color of resistance.
I’ve never been the one to wear a lot of pink. In fact, for a long time, I even avoided it, much like Ms. Bennett. I was so against the color, that when I bought a pink coat and started wearing more pink, my family noticed immediately. It’s not that I hated it; I think I actually look pretty good in pink. I thought it was too “girly,” and not entirely consistent with the image I wanted to portray, except on occasion.
I have to say, I was always drawn to women who wore red lipstick. Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Gwen Stefani, Janelle Monae, my mother, all wore red lipstick. It seemed to be at once feminine, bold and powerful, and that was something I wanted to be myself.
Which leads me back to the color pink. I actually hesitated in writing this—I’m not entirely sure why—but ultimately couldn’t ignore my growing annoyance with the idea of the color pink being “subversive.” Excuse my language, but I think it’s a load of crap.
True, pink as a feminine color is largely a construct of the Western world, and was in days past, a hue of aristocracy. But why do we as women have to be “subtly subversive?” Even now, we have to tone ourselves down?
Am I being too sensitive? Maybe.
With the recent accomplishments of women: the Me Too movement; the 117 women that were elected into office in the 2018 Midterms; taking our power back from the Weinsteins and the Nassars of the world; demanding equal pay in the office and on the screen, it seems to me that it would be more fitting to have a red lip having prominence on the runway. These are times where women are finding their voices and asserting themselves as women and businesswomen.
Why are we being asked to do this while wearing pink lipstick?
To me, this advent of pink is more than just a color or a trend. Why should we as women again do what we have been taught for so long to do, to be nice and nonthreatening? Is this an attempt, whether conscious or unconscious, to temper this movement of powerful women, taking control and making changes that benefit us?
Pink is the color of tutus, little girls dresses, not the color of a powerful woman. While I do understand the argument presented, that now we are writing our own narrative and redefining was pink means and represents, I think it is dangerous to make pink the flagship color at this time. Many endeavors have been put in danger by people announcing a win before getting to the finish line or saying that the work is done, when in fact, there is still a lot of ground to cover, and still a lot to do.
I think it would have been more fitting to have our voices calling out from bold red lips. Because the fact remains, that we are here in the Western world, where pink is seen as innocent, non-threatening, even weak. And red is the color that represents power and taking the bull by the horns and defining the world as one where we are women, not girls.
So I challenge you all, reject pink. Not forever, just for now. Let me take that back because far be it for me to dictate what anyone should or should not wear. Instead, I just challenge you to consider why you choose to wear pink, and as usual, to think about the image you portray to the world. There’s something that the color red does that pink just can’t do at this moment in time. Red is, just as pink, a color of love. But, unlike pink, it is the color of action and energy. And continued action is what we need now, all of us, not just women.
Out of Curiosity…
—Do you prefer reds or pinks in your lipsticks?
—Did you notice all the pink this year, or was it just me?
—Where do you think we, as women, are in this journey of finding our voices?
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