Do Women Hate Pink?

Or at least, a study says that women hate pink. Naturally, there are exceptions to the rule as I have a deep love for the color pink (honestly, I think I’d be over the moon if I ever owned a pink car – alas, I am still pretty happy with my small blue car). And Debby wore one of her own favorite pink dresses on the cover of her book, Because It Feels Good (though now she swears she can’t wear the dress anywhere without people asking if that’s her “book dress”).

But a recent post on Gawker was talking about how women hate pink, per a new study from the Harvard Business Review. I love that the article initially got my attention by starting off saying “Do you find the color pink threatening? If so, you’re probably a woman.”

The study has more to do with the pink ribbon associated with breast cancer, and how that is actually not the ideal ribbon color to choose. Without doing any research and just speaking anecdotally, the pink ribbon is one of the first color associations I remember for cancer or any illness. While there are other “ribbons” near and dear to my heart, I know that I personally have had to really think about what the different colors are for each illness – but pink? I remember that pink is for breast cancer every time.

Both Gakwer and the study state that it’s not so much that the color of pink in general bothers women, but the idea that pink is naturally associated with the female gender – so it’s a defensive response (and less of an angry response). Women that had more gender cues in their life were less likely to donate to organizations that used the pink ribbon (as well as less likely to think that they were at risk for breast cancer). While many organizations have previously been under fire for using the pink ribbon on products, and then not donating any (or donating a very small) portion of the proceeds to breast cancer, I’m a little sad that all it takes is a color to stop people from donating.

While not related to breast cancer, I have had people comment on my extreme love of pink. Sometimes it’s easier in my life to have “my” own color (in my office and at my house) so, for example, I know that it’s my water bottle at my office. Further, pink just makes me happy. I firmly believe that I can be egalitarian and a feminist while wearing pink and lipstick (kind of reminds me of another post I made about not having to be pretty, unless you want to).

How do you feel about the color pink?

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About Holly Moyseenko

Holly Moyseenko is a sex educator living in Ohio. She is an advocate of positive and healthy sexuality. Holly currently works for a non-profit health organization as a health educator, and also teaches workshops that focus on many topics within the realm of healthy sexuality. In her spare time, she also is an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, gardens, reads anything within reach, drinks copious amounts of tea, and naps with her two dogs.

  • Holly Moyseenko-Kossover

    But you look good in so many shades! You can keep disliking pink – leaves more for me :)

  • Holly Moyseenko-Kossover

    I also love pink. I tend to dislike objects sold in pink just to instantly make them more appealing to women (like the DeWalt tool you mentioned – like that makes a difference to me? I’ll stick with the black and grey tools I already have). 

  • Holly Moyseenko-Kossover

    I can defintely see your point about being afraid of being seen as too feminine. I feel like in so many situations just being a girl already puts me at a disadvantage and being seen as too girly/female/feminine can make it worse. I’m with you – showing my love for the color makes me feel daring