The Pink Stigma

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What defines manly?  

Let’s be honest. It’s not “what”. Rather, it’s “who defines manly?”. We have been taught by society that blue is for boys and pink is for girls. How our peers react to our actions signal whether they approve or disapprove. This in turn affords us the opportunity to prepare for any confrontation that may come our way. On April 28 (last Friday) I wore a loud pink T-shirt to work just to observe reactions. Being in the military for 20 years, I had an idea of how accepting my Marine counterparts would be. I had one guy ask me if my shirt was salmon. I replied that it was in fact pink. If you’re going to wear it… wear it. The smile on his face reflected his acceptance. 

After work, I had some errands to run so I took the opportunity to continue my observation. Sure, I got some looks and a few smiles, but that was it. No snickering, no pointing, no one with a mullet wanted to fight, no one had a problem with my pink shirt. Half of the time I forgot I had it on. That is, until I looked down to see where I was stepping. (Cattle field habit) 

This leads me to believe that our reaction plays a role in how we perceive other’s reaction. Had I been more on the defensive side and expected others to have an issue, then my perception may have led me to believe those looks and smiles had ill intent.  How often do we misinterpret other’s reactions due to our self-conscious attitude? 

What started as a “how will others react” turned into “how will I perceive”. I believe I will continue my “pink shirt Friday”. It compliments  my “tuxedo shirt Tuesday” very well. 🙂


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