I answer a lot of questions about my home. Because I have put my home online for others to see, I expect the usual questions: “Where did you get [insert thing here]?” “What colour paint is that?” “What are you planning on doing with [insert room name here]?” These are all totally valid questions and I suppose answering them is, in a way, part of my job. So those are fine. But there is one question I hear far, far too often which gets my blood boiling, possibly more than it should do. And that question is: “What does Wayne think about all the pink?”
Now, this is not just asked by strangers on the internet. It’s asked by family, it’s asked by friends, it’s asked by readers and followers and fellow content creators I’ve known for years.
I’m not dumb. I do understand why people are asking the question about whether Wayne objects to my love of the colour pink. It appears in almost every room in my home, the ‘red thread’ that joins each space, making it look cohesive and allowing each room to flow easily into the next. But my issue with the question is that pink is the only colour that’s ever questioned.
Not one person has ever said, “What does Wayne think about all the green?” or “What does Wayne think about you using so much of that taupe-y greige colour?” or even “What does Wayne think about that bright orange lamp in your living room?” because as we all know, those questions are ludicrous. Why would he have a problem with those colours?
I can’t help but wonder if I had used blue as liberally as I have used pink in my home if the question would ever be reversed. If people would ask Wayne, “What does Kimberly think of all the blue?”. And I know what you’re thinking already – no, no, of course, no one would ask that question. Even though blue is apparently considered by society and baby clothes manufacturers across the Western world, a “boy” colour. But as we know, the male gender is the “neutral”, the female gender is the “other”. And so, of course, I’d not object to the use of blue (well, okay, I might but only because it’s not a colour I love, not for any other reason!). Because for some reason, it’s okay for a “girl” to live with lots of blue but it’s not okay for a “boy” to live with a lot of pink.
Now, here’s the thing. I have loved the colour pink for years but I denied myself using it in my home. I thought it was too expected. I thought I was pandering to gender norms because apparently I’m only allowed to like pink if I’m a “girlie girl” or I’m a homosexual male of which neither label felt fitting. After a while, I got sick of fighting it. It was a colour that I liked and I wanted to use it. Stuff gender norms.
In 2015, I painted my office in our previous home pink. And yes, I loved it for a while although, at the time, I hadn’t yet realised that I had a certain predilection for a very particular shade of pink and well, the colour I chose to paint my office wasn’t quite it. But that’s a completely different discussion.
Then, in 2017, my love affair with this particular shade only got stronger when blush pink became Instagram’s darling. Of course, the media coined it Millennial Pink even though I am not a millennial (I’m Gen X for those curious), so it was just yet another label that didn’t really fit. But nonetheless, I saw it everywhere and my love for it grew and so when we moved into our current home in 2018, I decided it was a colour I very much wanted to use in our new home.
So, yes, I have used pink liberally in our home and it’s not because I’m a girl and that’s what I’m apparently “supposed” to like. I use a lot of pink – again, in quite specific shades as I tend to like rose pinks and coral pinks and those with just a hint of peach or brown – because in my eyes, these are colours that make me feel good, they make me feel calm, they inspire me. These particular pinks are very nearly neutral in my eyes but they are also not “nothing”. They add depth and warmth to a space, they work beautifully with pale wood colours and gold and they look stunning paired with another colour I’ve loved for years – green (something that no one ever questions).
Now I can bang on about how using pink for girls and blue for boys was basically a marketing tactic and how, apparently, there is some debate about the fact that prior to World War II, these colours were reversed, with a 1918 edition of Infant’s Department, an American trade magazine for baby clothing saying definitively that “the generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. 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.”
It later swapped over because apparently France called the shots on fashion in the 20th century and they decided pink was for girls and blue was for boys and then we had ad agencies in the mid-century who were looking to shill their garments and well, it was easier to market to specific genders so it was just a way of getting people to buy certain products. So the whole idea that these colours are actually biological preferences is essentially a load of crap, a “nurture rather than nature” phenomenon of the late 20th, early 21st century.
And then I can also bang on about gender norms because as humans we like to label things, put them in boxes and make everything nice and easy to categorise and when we don’t do that or when someone decides to say, ‘hey I don’t really like this box, I want to be in that box’ or they say, ‘I’m rejecting the whole notion of needing a box at all’ that everyone goes ape shit and doesn’t know how to deal with it as though its some personal affront to the box they personally tend to like. And how gender is really just a social construct and how we don’t have to pander to what people say we should or shouldn’t like because well, we are just human beings at the end of the day and we are all individual and thank god for that.
But at the end of the day, the way I see it is that pink is just a colour. That’s it. It doesn’t have to have any other significance beyond that. It doesn’t need to have the weight of an entire gender hanging upon it. It doesn’t need to MEAN anything. It’s just a colour. It’s just a colour that I happen to like to use in my home. That’s all that it is.
If you like pink and are fighting it because you don’t want people to assume you like pink because of the biological sex organs you were born with, then please just use it. If you’re a guy and you feel your genitals preclude you from liking the colour pink, for all that is good and pure, please reconsider. The less we bend to these ridiculous notions of what we’re supposed to like because of our sex organs or because of our perceived genders, the less power this colour has on our psyche and the less we inherently associate it with being either feminine or masculine.
IT’S JUST A COLOUR. It’s okay to like it or not like it but please don’t ask me what Wayne thinks of it, okay?