pink

Bring Back Pink

Last spring when we launched our "Feminism is a Team Sport" t-shirts, a girlfriend asked me if we had some in men's sizes and styles. "With the pink letters and hearts on it?" I asked dubiously.

I wear mine a lot, but I wasn't sold on thinking men would wear it?!?

To which she replied, "Yes!  My husband and son {in college} both want one."

I wasn't convinced. That was five months ago.

Last week another woman wrote me and said her husband wanted one and asked me where she could get him one.

I am a strong believer that we need far more men wearing pink... but add the word "feminism" on it with a few hearts and I was doubtful.  But that's three shirts requested.  My husband then said he'd wear one (Does it get any sexier?!). That's now 4.  (I need a minimum of 6 shirts to place an order. If you know a man who would consider it an honor to wear pink letters with us, see the link at the end.)

Pink is a weirdly complicated color, not just for guys, but still for girls, too.

The Shame of Pink

In college I refused to wear pink.

It wasn't some well-thought out campaign, I simply would have said that I just didn't like the color.  But in hindsight, I didn't like the color because it was girly and therefore a color that seemed as though it would somehow discredit me from being an ambitious woman.  It seemed to be a color for 4-year old girls who still believed in fairies and for the softer women who wore rose-patterns and flowing dresses--neither of which I identified.

Today I still hear similar sentiments.

I hear my friends tell others: "I swear I didn't dress her in pink when she was little," as they watch their daughters twirling and dancing in all things pink, their shoulders drooped as though they failed as mothers to keep their daughter safe from the gender-specific color.

When selling t-shirts at our GirlFriendCircles.com booth at women's conferences, we still hear "I don't wear pink... do you have this in another color?" in a tone that feels soaked with a feeling that suggests that far beyond the color is a meaning that still doesn't sit easily with them.

Interestingly, one place where it seems trendy now is among men. The color is worn mostly by those who are fashion-conscious, for it's still considered more edgy than norm. But even that trend comes with very tight parameters as to what shades and what articles are okay-- a collared pink shirt in a light pink is cool, a hot pink briefcase is not; wearing pink for breast cancer is awesome, decorating his office pink is not.

To Buy It or Not to Buy It?

I used to be a part of the unspoken boycott against pink.  I understand why some are tempted to eschew it.

When I read news stories like that of Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer, whose every

In books like "Barbie: I can be a Computer Engineer" we associate pink with a girl who isn't smart enough to do her job.

page is painted pink and accompanies a hot pink laptop to sell to girls, but whose morale of the story seems to be "Leave the hard engineering to the boys," I feel the familiar urge to reject all things pink, as if distancing myself from the fear of not being seen as capable, strong, and competent.

When I first watched Ellen DeGeneres (and you really must watch it if you haven't yet seen it-- HILARIOUS!) satirically promote the "new" Bic pens for women in pink and purple

Ellen geniusly pokes fun at why women need their own pens in pink and purple.

colors, I felt mad at myself for having bought those pens, as though I had fallen into their trap. (I love signing my books in those colors!)

When I walk into a sports shop and see the "shrink it and pink it" strategy at play I feel a

I like pink but if we're cheering for our favorite team then why wouldn't we wear our team colors like the guys do?

little disillusioned because I feel like it comes with a subliminal message that we're cuter than we are sporty and strong. While I have actually come to like wearing pink, when shirts are specially designed for women in "our" color but not dipped in blue for the men, it feels like it's assumed that men are the real fans who wear the real colors and we're just not as serious.

I could go on and on with examples... examples that leave me feeling like I should be resisting this pink-washing.  Pink has been used, at worse, to weaken and shame (i.e.  telling little boys that pink isn't their color or hazing rookie baseball players by making them wear pink backpacks); but even when it's not blatantly pejorative, it still seems to perpetuate a delicate, soft, and "light" stereotype.

Why I Wear Pink

I've been tempted at times to call off the pink-- not wanting to associate myself with the stereotypes.  And yet... I don't think the answer is to eliminate a color from our world as much as it is to change its meaning.

We are the ones who determine meaning. Pink, in and of itself, doesn't scream girl.

In fact, Smithsonian.com, in an article about how this trend to associate colors with a gender, cited an industry journal in 1918 as suggesting:

“The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

Furthermore, in a chart printed in 1927 in Time magazine to showcase the correct gender color based upon leading U.S. department stores showed that Filene’s in Boston,  Best & Co. in New York City, Halle’s in Cleveland, and Marshall Field in Chicago, all recommended boys in pink.

So pink on its own surely can't be girly.  We've made it that. And I guess the bigger issue here is why that would be a problem even if it were... why is there shame in being girly?

In college I was still trying to shape my image and it was largely influenced by what others told me colors meant.  Now as an adult, I'm determined to help be an influencer--someone who redefines the color.

I don't think every woman needs to wear it and I hope that we get more and more color options where it's needed; but I'd also like to believe that we'll get more and more women proudly wearing the color: that our kick-ass computer programmers will bravely create code on hot pink laptops, that our star athletes will keep defying what we thought possible of the color, and that strong and ambitious women will produce and achieve all levels of success in any and every shade.

I want my niece and my god-daughter to see that they don't have to one day outgrow their favorite color. And in an ideal world, where my nephew wouldn't refuse to eat off a pink plastic plate because "it's a girl plate."

My hubby and I photographed both wearing pink at an event... I love that guy.

And to that point, perhaps more important than women embracing this color, I hope that more strong men will rise up and join us in pink.  Strong men who know that there is no color in the world that can weaken them, and in fact, that they are stronger when standing with women and modeling to little boys that colors don't limit anyone.

Pink isn't an insult, it's a frickin' gorgeous color.

And I, for one, will keep wearing it on stages and signing books in it, more often than not.

#BringBackPink.  :)

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MEN'S SHIRTS (VERY LIMITED SUPPLY!)

If you know a guy who will proudly wear this shirt-- we're placing a one-time order.

We currently have 4 brave men who have ordered their shirt.  We need a minimum of 6 pre-orders.  Looking for at least two more!  :)

We're extending the deadline to after the weekend.  You can order your size here.

 

 

 

 

Breast Cancer & Friendship

"Slow down! Don't do it alone!" the stranger said to me as he passed me on my morning jog. I tried to force a polite smile, but what I really thought was: "What kind of a guy has the audacity to tell me what pace to set as though he thinks he's my coach? And who is he to care if I'm running alone this morning?" I rolled my eyes after I passed him and kept jogging.

Then horns began honking, pink pom-poms were seemingly spilling out from passing cars, and in front of me a group of five women cheered in response. Then two more in front of them followed suit. As those cars made their way down the busy street, small little groups of women, flashes of pink dotting the sidewalk, seemed appreciative of the praise. I looked around in confusion, shaken out of my jogging rhythm.

Almost as soon as I became conscious to the energy around me, I quickly realized I was not alone in my jog today.  Apparently my typical exercise route was being shared today with the amazing women participating in the Breast Cancer 3-Day Race for the Cure. They were seemingly everywhere on this busy street leading into the park.

Unknowingly, I had joined them on their course! And since my outfit was black and pink, I fit right in, looking like one of them!

I chuckled, feeling pride at what all these women and men were doing. My heart swelled with appreciation for their energy toward this cause.

Then I suddenly felt guilty.

Not only for being cheered as though I were steps away from completing the 60 mile, 3-day race (when in fact I was simply a girl trying to get a couple of miles in on a day that otherwise was a lazy Sunday); but also because I had appeared to be a solo jogging dissenter in an event that promoted community and walking.

If Life Could Be... I crossed the street and spent the rest of my run pondering how amazing life would be if we could model this race:

  • Where who you do it with counts more than how fast you do it.
  • Where in fact, pacing oneself for the long-haul is of higher value than speeding past someone.
  • Where the journey matters more than simply reaching the destination.
  • Where we care more about our health than our appearance (I saw some seriously 'over-the-top' outfits today! LOL!)
  • Where slowing down to walk with someone who's tired is more the purpose than a delay.
  • Where it matters more to us that we "all" make it, not just me.
  • Where strangers feel bonded because of a combined passion for a cause.
  • Where women cheer for each other, rather than compete.
  • Where men look over-joyed to be driving in cars covered in pink, honking for women and their success.

Oh to live in such a world!

The Friendship & Breast Cancer Link

Consider the headlines we’ve all seen from research out of the University of Chicago: Loneliness Heightens Risk of Breast Cancer. While we all feel the pull to do more, be more, and be better than everyone else, a reminder that sometimes just increasing the stress in our lives (to be the one jogging up the hill alone) while everyone else walks in groups, isn't necessarily success.

And the New York Times reported on the 2006  study of nearly 3,000 nurses with breast cancer that found that "women without close friends were four times as likely to die from the disease as women with 10 or more friends. And notably, proximity and the amount of contact with a friend wasn’t associated with survival. Just having friends was protective."

I share the research not to add any fear or guilt, but to give hope.  To remind us that when we feel tempted to withdraw, there is enough data to nudge us to reach out. And it's never too late to invite more love into your life.

Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness! So this October, as we are celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, send your cards of celebration to the women who have survived this disease, and honor the memories of those who didn't. Wear your pink proudly and buy those products whose proceeds support the awareness and research we still need in this battle. Schedule your mammograms and value your breast health more than your breast size.

But above all, perhaps the wisdom of the stranger who cheered me on this morning might become your mantra this month? Words to be taken seriously: "Slow down! Don't do it alone!"

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To subscribe to Shasta's Friendship Blog (a weekly article on friendship, relational health, and personal growth) enter your email address in the top right corner. Shasta is the Founder of GirlFriendCircles.com, a women's friendship matching site.

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Easy Contest: A Save the Ta-Ta's Give-Away!

Ever since last spring when I met Julia Fiske, the founderof Save the Ta-Ta's (read about my mistake that almost cost me a friendship with her!)-- I've been a fan of their fun t-shirts that help fund research (they donate a portion of every purchase) while increasing the smiles on our faces.  The one pictured on this posting, "now is all we have",  is one of my fave's and they are going to send one of my lucky readers this awesome shirt!  :)

To be the lucky winner who has this shirt, in your chosen size, mailed to your house all you have to do is re-post/share this blog on your facebook AND be sure to tag our facebook page (@www.girlfriendcircles.com) so we can track your share! Contest ends at noon (PST) on Friday, Oct. 28. Winner will be selected randomly from those who share this post!

Step-by-Step Directions: To share this post on your facebook page:

1) first make sure you're a facebook fan of www.GirlFriendCircles.com by liking our page so you can tag us. 

2) Either copy/paste the blog post url into your facebook update or simply select the facebook sharing icon at the end of this post and it will do it automatically.

3) Write whatever status you want to share with your friends, highlighting this blog posting, and be sure to tag us by selecting the "@" key in your update, and start typing "girlfriendcircles" which should give you the option to select us, posting your update to our wall so we can track your involvement! (Should you have any problem tagging us-- simply share the post on your wall and come comment on our wall that you did it!)

THANKS! We'll announce the winner on our facebook page on Friday and contact her!