Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pink Iron Girl

I was recently at the movies. At one of the theaters I like to go to (Regal Cinemas?), there are these series of cartoon shorts about kids going on a mission to get junk food from the concession stand by becoming characters from hit movies such as Harry Potter or Spider-Man. The one that I saw this time was about a girl who becomes Iron Man, the suit appearing around her, and she blasts off. For a quick short about something relatively pointless, it had a period of cool action and some homages to the movie like her falling through the ceiling. It was cute and it was entertaining, and I thought it was cool that they were able to let a girl take the role of action star; however, I was also disappointed by the fact that they felt the need to make her Iron Man suit pink.
The color pink is used in contemporary Western society to separate female items from mainstream (male) items. By making all girls necessarily pink, whereas boys can be any color but pink, it contributes to the separation of femininity from mainstream culture. When things are separate, they are encouraged to be valued differently, and this coupled with latent cultural misogyny leads to femininity to continue to be devalued. In order for there to be gender equality, we need to stop gendering colors and let anyone represent themselves in any color.
My feelings regarding this issue were not helped when I then watched Toy Story 3 and saw a male character (Ken) mocked for writing effeminately in pink ink. Gendering colors contributes to sexism. Stop it!

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