Ending Pink’s Reign

Shiny Shiny brings us the latest in feminized gear: a pink heart-shaped guitar for Guitar Hero. Okay, I get that some folks like the color, but can I just say I’m so incredibly sick of products being marketed towards women simply by slapping some pink on them?
I mean, there’s pink laptops, tools, websites, iPods, pocket knives – even cigarettes! The pink madness has to end. In fact, I think one of my new year’s resolutions will be to avoid all things pink (with the exception of cotton candy Jelly Bellys – I love those things).
What’s your least favorite pink (or otherwise gendered) product?

Join the Conversation

  • Mary

    I would be so psyched if actual heavy duty, usable tools and power equipment came in rainbow colors!!!

  • Mary

    Yes! I’ve encountered that also! I remember when my daughter was about 6 months, she was in a blue onesie, and someone commented on what a cute boy she was. My father (who was holding her) seemed so offended! I was just like, she’s in blue, that’s the natural assumption. No worries, lol.

  • beth

    As a follow up to Mamma Mia’s contribution, has anyone see the ‘Lil Cricket? The pink rifle for, you know… Women.

  • crashhooligan

    Marib Aum brought this up above with the pink kettlebells.
    WHY is everything that supports breast cancer research pink?
    As if males aren’t affected by the women they love getting breast cancer?
    As if males themselves aren’t afflicted with it sometimes?
    What if I want the manufacturer to donate 10 cents to breast cancer but I want the green water bottle instead of the pink?
    I understand it is an “awareness color”, like red for HIV/AIDS, but in our culture, pink means a lot more than that, especially when it is regarding a disease that primarily affects women. Do we really have to gender the show of support and awareness for a deadly disease?

  • voluptuouspanic

    While I do love my sparkly pink vibrator, the pink trend is too, too much. The whole Victoria Secrets line is too much for me. But what I find most ridiculous as a feminist are the car products for women. I found a pink lunchbox roadside emergency kit for women (er, “smart girls”). Included in the kit are: matches, a candle, instructions on how to change a tire (okay, that’s good), a thermal blanket, cotton swabs, lip balm, and a nail file. All pink.

  • Alma

    I love pink!!!! It’s one of my favorite colors, gee whiz, oh boy!
    And I’m still a raging anarchist feminist! Who would thunk!

  • Alma

    I love pink!!!! It’s one of my favorite colors, gee whiz, oh boy!
    And I’m still a raging anarchist feminist! Who would thunk!

  • gemma

    I can still remember my disappointment when I was a young girl because my Mum flat out refused to buy me a pink plastic toy cleaning set (mop, dustpan and brush, hoover, etc, iirc).
    Now I am so pleased that she steered me clear of everything-must-be-pink and little-girls-should-start-cleaning-early toys. It was so the right decision!
    I can’t think of one thing in particular that I don’t like seeing in pink (except maybe matching luggage sets). But I second the horribleness of the overwhelming pinkness of the girls toy aisle, and the stupid way they make pink versions of computer gadgets and think that’s tapped the other 50% of the market. Wrong on so many levels.
    Have you all seen the wonderful Petticoat 5 Computer for Women comedy sketch from Look Around You?

  • pcwhite

    One thing I always found irritating abput girl-pink products is that they’re always the same etiolated washed out pepto bismol pink. It’s a sick colour, weak, like diarrhoea medicine. I hate this pink. Give me a pink with some intensity, dammit! That guitar actually has a decent design; at least that pink isn’t weak. I would prefer a pink guitar that wasn’t heart-shaped, but eh.
    haha, you know something funny…the only pink clothing I wear outside the house is a flaming pink neck tie. :]

  • Meep

    Or that atrocious “University of Pink” line by Victoria’s Secret.
    I go to Simmons [a women's college] and there’s a Facebook group advocating for Victoria’s Secret to make stuff for our college like they do for BU & Harvard and ugh, shoot me.

  • AimeeLynn

    I struggle with this… of course I agree that all the pink stuff is infantilizing, etc, but damnit, I LIKE the pink stuff. Whenever I got my last cell phone, camera, iPod, etc I really struggled because I actually want the pink one, but I don’t want to look like an asshole. I don’t buy pink tools or anything that is actually inferior to the non-pink version, but I do have a pink iPod…

  • Meep

    A nail file? Seriously? I mean, I guess it could be handy for, I don’t know, jamming a lock or something.
    (Oh, and lip balm? I guess it would be handy if you were stranded at sea for days, but then again, so would sunscreen and that’s not included.)

  • catnmus

    My main one has already been mentioned, but it bears repeating since it really steamed me last Christmas. Go to NFL.com and check out their shop, choices for women, specifically the Browns. The first things I saw were a long-sleeved shirt, style name “Bling Diva”. Second thing, a white T-shirt with ever-so-curvy “Browns” and style name “Sparkle Queen”. You also can get your Browns jerseys in pink, yellow, baby-blue, or a fuschia type color. If you want a real jersey in real team colors, you can get them, but only for quarterbacks or wide receivers – and of course Jim Brown, but I don’t know how the other teams fill that type of void. In the men’s section, you get easily twice as many players’ numbers, and the only things that are NOT in the team’s colors are Superbowl-colored. There are only two jersey styles for women – Home and Away, but men get the additional choice of “Alternate”.
    In the Boys’ section, they get the same choices as the women. But the little girls get one choice – the quarterback. You know who gets the same choices as girls? INFANTS. “Youth” gets more number choices than women! But hey, they don’t get PINK, or FUSCHIA, so that’s okay then, right?
    EVEN CONSIDERING the extra colors that are available for women (pink! fuschia!), the number of jersey choices for men are double, if not more. Baltimore, 34 for men, 16 for women. Browns 42 for men, 23 for women. Chicago 63 for men, 18 for women (one third). Miami a shameful 24 for men and only 4 for women. One sixth. Actually it’s even more shameful than that. See, they always include the pet jerseys (3 of them) under both men and women. So yes, if you’re a Miami Dolphins fan, your DOG actually has more jersey style choices than you do! And men have 21 times as many choices.
    Needless to say, I did NOT buy anything.

  • catnmus

    I would like to hear more about this “computer science for women” class, at Purdue, no less. I actually took a “car care class for women” – at the local community college. It was for women in the sense that only women were in the class. So you don’t feel like the men are watching you and judging you, for not having learned all the things growing up that their father taught them. I learned how to change my wiper blades, oil, air filter, tire, all that stuff. But, and I stress, this was adult education class. NOT a degree-based class. I’m VERY curious about that CS for women class. Was it like this – just women in the class, for those that are intimidated by men dominating the class? Or was it “here’s the return key, just like on a typewriter, here’s a class assignment based on recipes, of course it’s a group exercise, etc.” Do you know anything more about it?

  • Lelah

    Oh, good one! I dislike these things too, along with the rhinestone sports shirts in pink. What is the point? I would rather have something in my team’s colors, so I can be like every other fan. Isn’t that the point of having uniforms and such? To feel a part of something?

  • melaniemrms

    I hate the tool sets that are pink, too. I like the color pink and have pink clothes, purses, etc. But tools being pink just seems insulting.

  • Elle

    oh, you should! I’ve played Fable II already, and the storylines are the same for a man or a woman. There are bisexual, gay, and straight characters. You can marry whomever you like (gay marriages are an option) and have sex with whoever. Given the time period this is set in, it’s probably unrealistic, but the game makers certainly didn’t exclude anyone or give into the typical heteronormative gameplay.
    It’s also a really fun game, I definitely recommend it.

  • Sam
  • bifemmefatale

    Hah! That’s what I always said about them! “They hope to grow up to be real cars some day.”

  • bifemmefatale

    Actually it’s based on research that showed that women learn computer skills better in a team-based approach than individually. It’s not meant to be patronizing, and any woman can still take the standard classes.

  • Lis

    I went to the toy store and in the girls section there was a Pink Scrabble with the words Fashion spelled out. There was also a pink Ouija board.
    PINK ouija board.

  • Lis

    My baby daughter for unplanned reasons got a lot of white, yellow and green clothes. People think she is male.
    I will also refuse to buy her rhinestone t-shirts that say Hot Stuff, Girl Crazy or Playboy Bunny.

  • Maggie

    LOL. Well, we wouldn’t want impressionable little girls communicating with indelicate, unladylike spirits, would we? They might get dirty, unladylike ideas.

  • Mags

    My boyfriend, my dad and my brother all rock the pink button-down shirts. I kind of want to get them all together for a photo-op sometime ;)

  • Mags

    If you read (Western) stuff from the 20s about gender and color, it’s all about how pink is for boys because it’s a shade of red and red is manly and strong, whereas blue is a “calming” color and more appropriate for girls.
    It’s kind of amazing both how attitudes have completely flipped and how people will do completely unself-conscious studies purporting to “prove” that women are genetically drawn to pink, as though society doesn’t influence that at all.

  • Mags

    Because when I have a flat in the middle of the night, the first thing I worry about is the state of my manicure and whether my lips look soft, shiny and kissable enough for the man I guess I am inevitably calling to come and change my tire, because as a silly girl I’ve certainly never learned how to work a jack.

  • allegra

    I’ve actually begun to purposely avoid pink – especially pink shirts – for this very reason. Plus I think pink shirts make me look too girly and I don’t like it. It’s true that pink is still totally ghettoized – unless you’re a wealthy businessman in a pink shirt and tie, pink just does not work. No. Say no to pink.

  • Ren

    I’ve actually got a set of tools that’re pink, not to mention the fact that my sledgehammer and my steel-toed boots both have pink duct tape on them.
    Why? Because it keeps the rest of my crew from “borrowing” my tools. Seriously, I don’t even particularly like pink, but it’s the only colour that will guarantee that the manly men on my crew will never, ever touch my tools.
    Well, purple would probably have the same effect. But my dislike of purple is as strong as it is inexplicable.

  • Cody

    I work as a cake decorator, and I’ve had so many moms refuse to buy the novelty cake their daughter wanted, unless I could “girl it up.” (Meaning; Add pink.)
    Cars, Kung-Fu Panda, Wall-E, and Bolt are apparently “boy” cakes… unless you make some of it pink, then it’s okay. I recently had a woman come in and say her daughter wanted a Cars cake… but, isn’t there a Barbie cake with cars or something? (Uhh… no?) She eventually decided on a Barbie Ballerina cake instead.

  • EvilSlutopia

    Last December we wrote Sexist Toys You Should Avoid This Holiday Season which included such lovely items as Monopoly: The Pink Boutique edition (instead of buying real estate, little girls can go on shopping sprees or pay their cell phone bills) and the Rose Petal Cottage (because all little girls dream about cooking and cleaning and raising babies and home decorating).
    This December we wrote another Non-Wish List with even more gifts to avoid for all ages. My personal fave is the tiny tiny pink thong that reads “It’s a Boy” (because that’s really the way you want to let everyone know you’re expecting… with a pair of underwear you can’t possibly fit into anymore).

  • daytrippinariel

    Could it maybe backfire if women are taking CS classes that are structured differently, based on gender, when they enter the job market of a male dominated field? This is what makes me feel uneasy about gender based math/science classes…

  • Cha-el-see

    I usually don’t mind having pink stuff (I’ve got a pink cell phone, MP3 player, and computer mouse) but I’m not a fan of wearing pink.
    Just the other week I was looking for new running shoes at Academy and out of ALL the shoes (which was about 50) in the women’s section I basically had 3 choices: Hot Pink, Powder Pink, or Baby Blue.
    It was really annoying. I had to resort to trying on men’s shoes (ofcourse none of them fit right). But, there is a happy ending. I ended up finding a pair of silver and orange adidas at another muuuuuch less convenient location.
    So yeah, my least favorite pink products: Running Shoes and Pink Jelly Bellys (Ew… You can have all mine, Jessica)

  • ShifterCat

    Ah, but have you seen the ergonomic keyboard for pirates?

  • ShifterCat

    Actually, there’s a breast cancer research organization out there founded by a man who had (as I recall) lost both a wife and a daughter to breast cancer. Its symbol was a little pink butterfly. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the name.

  • Jennifer

    I love pink, but people here are right… It’s a marketing scheme. I’ll usually choose pink if there’s a variety – NOT because it’s the only option. I’ll usually balk and choose a different brand.
    What also gets me is cheaply made items with a pink ribbon on them – marketing them to breast cancer survivors or supporters. With like 1% of the proceeds of that sale going to research.
    That’s all well and fine, but I’d rather funds go to actual cancer patients that have little to no income and need help with their treatments.
    Now, back to pink; I like pink and find that it looks good on me. I have red hair, pale skin and freckles and green eyes.. Pink is a good color for me.
    However, I love dark greens, grays, blues, and anything other cool colors. I stay away from reds and oranges. Pink is the only “warm” color I’ll wear.
    I’m raising three boys, and my middle son likes pink now too. When I let him wear a pink shirt, people give me the worse looks. “Like how DARE you put PINK on your SON”
    Screw you, my son loves the color, there are no “girly” characters on the stupid shirt; HE likes it. My husband threw a fit (even though he’s all for female equality,etc etc) he doesn’t like HIS SON wearing pink. *sigh* pisses me off. Forcing our sons into gender specific clothes because it may make him seem less like a boy if he wears pink.
    Sorry for the rant; I’m in pre-coffee mode at the moment and will be more

  • Kate Harvest

    I actually got to see the opposite end of this fairly recently, on the day before Christmas. I’m an early stage transwoman and a lesbian, so I rarely wear makeup, which I guess hurts my passability. Recently I was at Radio Shack trying to get a new Palm Centro cellphone. This cellphone is offered in numerous colors, but Radio Shack only had the black model on display. I wanted the green version, or the pink version as my second choice.

    I told the salesman I wanted a Palm Centro and he went up to the store computer and started looking up what they had in stock without asking me what color I wanted. He told me they apparently don’t have the phone in stock at that store, but that he can can go ahead and activate a phone for me and have me pick it up at another Radio Shack.

    Another minute or two go by of him doing random things on the computer and not asking me what color I wanted before I think to actually ask him “Hey, is black the only color Radio Shack carries the Centro in? I’d rather like the green version.”

    Turns out they had the pink version at that store and he hadn’t even thought to offer it to me. He’d have preferred to make me run to another store then to offer me what was actually my second color choice, and the color I did very happily end up with.

    I just put a streak of pink in my hair (on New Year’s) to match. :P

  • Kate Harvest

    Does Portal count? Both the player character and the game’s main nemesis are female. Neither of them wear pink.

  • Kate Harvest

    Does Portal count? Both the player character and the game’s main nemesis are female. Neither of them wear pink.

  • Meep

    I hadn’t thought of Portal – thanks for the reminder!

  • Tamson

    Long time reader, first time poster, but I just HAD to post about this.
    One of the worst misuses of the color pink is in the motorcycling industry! It’s hard enough to find protective gear that is cut to fit a woman, but then a lot of the gear which is women-specific is in the color pink.
    I get the feeling that the industry (whose fastest growing demographic of new riders is women, btw) thinks that women feel less feminine while riding so must want to reclaim some of that by wearing pink? Drives me nuts.

  • A male

    Can’t get your women interested in shooting sports? Give them a firearm in pink! Never mind the exact same configurations exist in regular black “blued” steel or stainless, they’ll overcome their aversion to firearms because of the color!
    There are reasons you may not want a firearm in pink or other unusual colors. One important one being they can look like toys or attract the interest of children, even if they are full sized pistols, shotguns or rifles. Click on photo:
    Despite the recent run on weapons likely to be banned, this person seems unable to find a suitably red blooded buyer for their “PATRIOT WEAPON of CHOICE.” I wonder why.

  • BornSlippy

    As much frustration as I’ve had over the years trying to find non-pink versions of various items (I prefer bold, bright colors or black; good luck trying to find a women’s sneaker without pastels, closest I got was light blue with yellow stripes), this post is making me reminisce about the blood-thirsty games of Pretty Pretty Princess my brother and I used to play. He was always pink, I was always yellow.

  • maleficent

    I would love to have a pink laptop and cell phone, but was unable to find either that suits my needs in my market.
    Personally, I do not understand all the negative comments regarding the color pink. It seems to me that the majority of posters seem to equate pink with femininity, which is then equated with weakness. Pink can also be a symbol of strength; for instance, women coffee farmers in Latin America use the color pink to distinguish their product, the sales of which fund shelters and schools in their communities (Cafe Feminino, in case anyone is interested).
    Granted, the color pink has been co-opted to market every imaginable product to women. But really now, the product in question here is a piece of overpriced eletronic garbage, a child’s toy. Yes, I know lots of adults play video games, but what self respecting adult would buy such a hideous monstrosity?

  • Rea

    My nephew is about to turn three, for Christmas for he wanted a Hanna Montana doll and i got it for him and to the dismay of some of my family members who thought it is too girly for him… just this week my sister and i went shoe shopping for him and he wanted Dora shoes but they had pink on them and so she didnt want her son to have them (he got Diego instead bc that the boy version). He will be getting so Dora shoes for his B-day for me.

  • Rea

    My nephew is about to turn three, for Christmas for he wanted a Hanna Montana doll and i got it for him and to the dismay of some of my family members who thought it is too girly for him… just this week my sister and i went shoe shopping for him and he wanted Dora shoes but they had pink on them and so she didnt want her son to have them (he got Diego instead bc that the boy version). He will be getting so Dora shoes for his B-day from me.

  • dame_elphaba

    Pink legos–I remember wanting these SO BADLY when I was six but I instead had to play with my brother’s Legos. Now, when I think about this, this really wasn’t such a bad thing. I could build more than just a kitchen and a yacht with his “boy” legos.
    On the flip side, one of my good male friends has a pink GameBoy–he’s seventeen years old and that was the color he wanted. He is even carrying it in one of his senior pictures. :)

  • Kristy

    I like pink… But I also like red, blue, green, etc., etc. It’s just another color.
    But I’m glad that, as a Goth, no one feels the need to buy me gender-specific colored gifts ;)

  • Seth

    The worst pink thing I ever bought was a pink leopard-print USB mouse. I use a Macbook which, at the time, was dual-booting Windows XP, and I needed a USB mouse so I could right-click while using Windows. I’m a fan of outrageous colors, and it was cheap and had a scroll wheel, so I thought it was perfect.
    Until I got it home and opened the box, and discovered it contained the most condescending little user manual I’ve ever seen. It declared that women don’t buy technological products because they’re just so darn complicated, and besides, electronics aren’t fashionable enough. Just… buh? It even has a hot pink double-click button next to the scroll wheel, for those poor technology-starved women who can’t figure out how to double-click on their own.

  • Nicole

    My mom did something like that when I was three! But at least she listened to me. I wanted a Batman cake for my birthday and my mom kept saying “Are you sure you don’t want a Barbie or My Little Pony cake instead?” And I was insistent upon the Batman cake. She always tells the story to this day. But I’ve seen the pictures – she gave in and there is definitely no pink are trace of typical girlishness on the cake.
    What I think is weird, though, is how much she apparently tried to talk me out of it. I mean, it’s a birthday cake, if the kid wants Batman, get her freaking Batman.
    And the really sad thing is if I was a boy and I wanted a Barbie cake, so many parents would actually put their foot down and say “no.”

  • Liza

    That’s awesome.