The Color Pink



Sophia Li, Staff Writer

The color pink. Too often deemed just a girly color or associated with youth, the color pink has so much to offer, symbolizing and being so much more than a feminine color. The color pink offers much history (especially of how it became a girly color!), has meanings and symbolism, and is one of the world’s favorite colors!

The Brief History of the Color Pink (And How It Has Become A Girly Color)

The color was officially recognized dating back to 800 B.C. in Homer’s Odyssey, coined by a Greek botanist, noting the ruffled edges of carnations. Throughout the mid-18th century, pink was a fashionable color among males and females, as a symbol of class and luxury. Until the mid-20th century, pink was gender-neutral, but to reflect their service in World War II (WWII), men started to wear darker colors. As a result, advertisements targeting women depicted them in colorful clothing, predominantly in lighter colors, like pink. This was mostly due to the fact that women were transitioning to their traditional homemaker roles, after their removal from the workforce. 

In 1927, in an attempt to figure out what colors were associated with girls in their clothing lines, TIME magazine took a survey of all the major department stores in the United States. As previously mentioned, the survey found that the color pink, among women, began to spread widely after World War II. Then, in 1953, eight years after WWII had ended, Dwight Eisenhower, became president. Now you might be wondering: “How does this even relate to the color pink?” Well, his wife, Mamie Eisenhower, known for loving the color pink, attended the inauguration wearing a pink ball gown with enormous rhinestones–which was unique especially since women were wearing dull colors was the norm during the pre-WWII period. However, thanks to her fame and the gossiping newspapers, the color pink became known as a more lady-like color. 

“When I initially heard about this story, I was shocked that the color pink had become a girly color so recently, as I would have thought that it was more feminine a while ago! This story interests me because the color pink became a girly color through World War II!” Ashley Lin, a senior at Arcadia High School (AHS) shared. 

Meanings and Symbolism for the Color Pink

There is no doubt that the color pink is a girly color, though the meanings and symbolism for pink have changed over the years. However, the color pink has represented love, passion, and comfort since the beginning of time. For instance, in early Greek mythology, the Roman goddess Venus, who was the goddess of love, beauty, fertility, and desire, was associated with pink. It is also the color of universal love of oneself and to others. It can also represent friendship, affection, harmony, approachability, and inner peace. Known as the sweeter side of red, this color is basically red but with a lighter hue. 

“I really like the color pink because it’s so versatile, and it means so many things. Not only does the color itself bring me joy, but I like how there are so many hues and so many meanings, like how it can represent calmness and love,” Lin also said. 

Uses of the Color Pink

Pink is everywhere, and I mean that literally. Think of the iconic line in Mean Girls (“On Wednesdays we wear pink!”) or of the cupids and roses on Valentine’s Day. Pink was such a popular color that Victoria’s Secret brand even has a whole clothing brand of the color: PINK. It seems pop culture also can’t get enough of the color, in instances like Elvis Presley’s iconic 1955 Cadillac, Marilyn Monroe’s dress in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, or even the singer P!NK, with her stage name also named after a color.  Today, though, pink takes on new meanings, as it is also the color of awareness for causes like women’s rights, the LGBTQ+ community, and can be associated with breast cancer awareness. In 2017 during Milan Fashion Week and during protests after the 2017 presidential inauguration, people wore so-called “pussyhats”, pink hats with ears shaped like a cat, as a symbol of the fight for women’s rights. 

However, the color pink is taking an even edgier meaning these past couple of years. Before, pink had a notion of being associated with femininity, but now, that’s being challenged, as it’s androgynous and strong. Nowadays, pink is also everywhere we look online. For instance, year after year at huge awards shows like the Grammy Awards Show, female celebrities will wear full-on pink dresses, whether it be Rihanna’s cupcake-looking dress, Camilla Cabello’s sparkling pink dress, or the multitude of pink dresses worn by singer Ariana Grande. Not only that, food challenges like ‘Only Eating Pink Foods for 24 Hours’ are popular and have been done by many, like BuzzFeed or Youtubers like HJ Evelyn. Last but not least, world-renowned choreographer Parris Goebel incorporates pink into her routines, whether it be having the majority of her dancers with full-on pink hair (in the music video for the song “Yummy” by Justin Beiber) or all of them wearing pink, eye-catching costumes. Other artists like Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande are also constantly seen using hues of pink in their music videos, making them extremely appealing to the eye. 

“I believe that the reason why pink is such a popular color in pop culture or in any area is because of how easy it is to express oneself with that color, and how positive it is. I enjoy how the color is also being more versatile and having many different meanings to it, as it can show how society is changing and becoming more inclusive, which I really like,” Lin also shared. 

At the end of the day, no matter what use of meaning, this special color is special among the others. With a rich history to get to where it is today, representing various movements and fights for equality, everyone can have a little bit more of this color.

Graphic Courtesy of WIKIMEDIA COMMONS