If it had a diesel engine, this would be my new car. How on earth could I resist a pink convertible grease-powered jalopy with the Powerpuff Girls painted on its side? Particularly as my car is in the shop, again, to deal with leaking brake fluid, again – this time they’re reconfiguring the muffler so it doesn’t scrape against the brake line and cause leaks every two months. I’m being nickled and hundred-fifty-dollared to death.
Never mind the car troubles, though, I’ve been thinking today about my relationship with the color pink. It’s the only color with enough social meat to form an actual relationship with, the only color that pushes back at you and refuses to accept whatever implications you care to rhapsodize into it. Squealing over a pink car is definitely a betrayal of my adolescent self. And it’s not that I’ve secretly wanted to love the color pink all this time, but was too ashamed – pink is fine, but for genuine aesthetic enjoyment I’ll take a nice green car any day. Obnoxious pink things are just a big girly “fuck you” – and driving around a big “fuck you” is loads of fun! But I’m not quite certain who, exactly, I would be supposed to be fucking with that sort of a car*.
Anecdotally, aggressive pink is something I’ve seen more of in male-dominated environments – there was definitely more of it at Tech than in Iowa. I’m thinking of L., and the vicious joy she expressed while talking about how she set her Windows color scheme at work to pink; and of D., a generally nice guy who sometimes develops a sense-of-entitlement swagger and does something egregiously inconsiderate, and how the automatic response to this is to paint his room pink or replace his drill bits with sparkly magic wands.
Is pink a way of taking revenge on our surroundings for being too masculinized? The desire to respond to privilege by pulling everyone down to the same level of powerlessness is common, I suppose. Or are we just adopting the role of the geek comic wish fulfillment character, inadvertently propping up stereotypes by asserting femininity?
But the assertion that a woman can do these [geeky, traditionally male] things in spite of herself, and somehow still be beautiful, doesn’t establish her as a character. It reinforces the idea that the “age old stereotype” is, in general, truth; it makes her a tool, an abstraction. A wish fulfilment.
I’ve been sitting on this for two days (my car’s fixed, now, too) and haven’t come up with anything solid – just this niggling sense that it all fits together, somehow, pink and frustration and aggression, in a way I can’t quite put my finger on yet.
*Is it just me, or does “fuck you” lose its power in this context unless I make explicit reference to a large pink strap-on? I need a little song to sing whenever I get these shades of Andrea Dworkin popping up…