Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde


What’s the deal with pink?

It’s girly! It’s a gender stereotype! It’s a feminist issue! Or, is it actually just a colour, like any other, wonders Molly Gunn

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By Molly Gunn on

I had a minor disagreement with a colleague this week over the colours he had assigned each team member on a Google Doc. He'd made me magenta. He'd made himself black, and the other men blue and green. 

My initial reaction, as the only female staff member, was that this shrieked of #EverydaySexism. I laughed when he told me – after all, I run the company with my husband; I don't want to be represented by magenta on a work doc. I think of myself more as black (in fact, I will probably go and change this colour code to prove the point; God bless the Cloud). 

I don't dislike magenta as a colour – that is not my issue. I am partial to a little magenta here and there in my life, but only as much as I am partial to any other colour (except brown FYI). 

It's just that magenta – and cerise and fuchsia and any other pinky permutation – are a touchy subject for women of my generation.

Yet we need to address this “issue”, as the colour is back on the radar for autumn/winter – every shade, so as long as it's pink. Magenta coats, fuchsia dresses, candy coloured sweatshirts – all popping up in a shop near you soon. The question is: will you embrace it? 

You see, pinks don't sit well with women like me, because we have gender-stereotyping issues that are deeply ingrained. 

We should proclaim that being “girly” is strong and powerful, and we'll wear pink if we want to

We may have loved pink as kids (or we may have not; personally, I was as much into Lego as my Sindy dolls), but we quickly distanced ourselves from it in our teens when we knew, for a fact, it wasn't cool – Nirvana was.

And, in our twenties, we backlashed against it completely as we paved our careers and strove to get ahead, mainly wearing black, beige and bootcut jeans. 

And now? On one hand, women of my ilk – that being a casual-feminist mindset – initially rally against pink. We don't wear it and we don't dress our daughters in it, in case it somehow weakens us (while, paradoxically, we are very happy to dress our sons in it, because that makes an anti-gender-stereotyping statement, you see).

But, on the other hand, we know we should be rallying against the common-held misconception that pink is “girly” and the being girly is a bad thing. 

We know we should double-bluff and stand up for the sistahood by wearing pink. We should proclaim that being “girly” is strong and powerful, and we'll wear pink if we want to. 

So, on that note, I am leaning towards the idea that this coming season's pink-tinged style should be celebrated. Even if we are out of touch with how to wear it. 

My tip? Go for one pink piece that you love and pair it with something that makes you feel instantly great, eg your favourite shoes, your best pair of jeans, a winning coat. Both navy and black look lovely against pink, as does grey, red and orange (sounds drastic but really does work). Powerful, punchy, bold and goddammit pretty. 

The truth is, we shouldn't be scared of pink. Wearing pink doesn't stop us being a strong woman – the kind of strong and powerful woman who runs her own business; the kind of woman who is so happy in her self and her abilities that she doesn't mind being magenta on a Google doc. 

Maybe I don't need to change the colour code after all. Or maybe I will. 

Or maybe I am just overthinking pink.

four ways to wear pink



Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde
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fashion honestly

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