I Will Never Use a Pink Water Bottle

by on October 23, 2013 · 8 comments

in Culture, Editor's Picks, Gender, Politics

TriSuit_wp_mediumBy Eva Posner

I hate pink.

It’s really an awful color in my opinion. I do not begrudge those who like it. We are all different, so rock it if you want to.

But I will not. I cannot. It is not in my wardrobe or my color wheel.

I have the exact opposite problem as David Harris-Gershan, author of My Life with a Pink Water Bottle.  Harris-Gershan found himself ridiculed for using his wife’s pink water bottle, and instead of cowering to attempts at humiliation and intimidation by other men, he decided to use it to make a statement about gender roles and sexism. He now carries it around on a regular basis, using people’s reaction to it as a teachable moment. I think his reaction is fantastic and I applaud him for challenging stereotypes.

As a woman, however, I am bombarded with pink constantly, and I am so over it.

A few weeks ago I went to Sports Chalet to pick up a few supplies for this year’s Mission Bay Triathlon. My wet suit from the year before didn’t fit anymore due to my post-baby figure, and I needed a replacement. While browsing the store I opted to go for a tri-suit instead, which is made to be worn throughout the race, rather than having to change from a wet suit into running clothes. I figured it should shave some time off of my transitions. It seemed the efficient, and slightly cheaper option.

There was only one problem: every woman’s tri-suit was pink. Partnered with the other two acceptably feminine colors, purple and turquoise. That’s right, we aren’t even allowed to have real blue. It’s not dainty enough. Or something.

The same can be said for most brands of women’s athletic shoes, sports bras, tennis equipment, and bikes (I had to buy a men’s bike to avoid any trace of “girly” colors). They even make pink footballs and baseball bats.

In a store whose sole purpose is to sell athletic equipment, (and athletics are generally considered a man’s world which is why Title IX is sadly necessary), I could not find a reasonably colored suit. Because, didn’t you know that women will only exercise when they can look cute doing it? And cute means pink because we all really just want to be Barbie.

I will admit there are more options available online. But like most women, trying things on before buying them is a necessity, so going to a brick and mortar store is the only way to be sure I’m not wasting money or have to deal with a cumbersome return policy.

When I was 16 my father bought my brother and myself golf clubs. He loves to golf, and he wanted us to go with him. He also bought me pink golf balls. Maybe because they were pink I would want to play more? My brother just got plain white golf balls. I guess if you’re a guy normal sporting equipment is enough.

I know my dad didn’t mean to insult me. He knew that in a upper-middle class man’s world I needed to be able to play golf if I wanted to make and sustain connections with important business and politico types. I appreciated the lesson, and although I am terrible at the game, I can talk it well enough to get by when I need to. The ironic part is that as a woman I am rarely invited to play. Because me and my pink golf balls don’t have a place on the course.

Remember last year when BIC released the BIC For Her pens? They came in pink and purple. Thankfully there was a controversy surrounding the obvious sexism suggesting that women had been using man-pens to write down all of our recipes, directions to play dates for our children, and phone messages at our secretary jobs. There wasn’t enough of a backlash though– and somebody must be buying them– because they are still available.

And don’t even get me started on October! The ridiculous barrage of pink that is supposed to somehow cure breast cancer; all the while trivializing the disease (which kills men too, by the way) into something cute and feminine and completely overshadowing other types of cancer that also need awareness and research money.

I’m not saying all women should reject pink. A lot of people, of all genders, think it is a perfectly good color. And although there is no accounting for taste, they should be able to purchase items in that god-awful pigment if they so desire. But I should not be strong-armed into it by a lack of options just because I am a woman.

Just in case you’re wondering, thanks to the clearance rack, some miss matching, and a pair of men’s tri-shorts, I wore black on race day.

I sure wish I could do something as simple as carry around a water bottle to protest gender stereotypes.

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Eva Posner

Eva Posner is a freelance journalist and Southern transplant passionate about politics, current events, travel, her son and her dog. Follow her on Twitter @evaposner.
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Dana Levy October 23, 2013 at 8:22 am

I am all for breast cancer awareness but the writer is correct. Too much is too much. And, the # 1 killer of women is heart desease in both heart attacks and strokes related to cardio and associated aterial problems. Do you/we see any color for the #1 spot? Nope and it gets zero attention/publicity/traction as it isn’t sexy or sex related. Ask any doctor and they will tell you that the symptoms for women’s heart problems is way different than those touted and propounded for men, which do get lots of press. It is the “silent killer” of women and needs much more recognition and publicity. Perhaps the pink could join the “red blooded” group and coalesce the two major killers together and promote the preventable one better to save those lives too.

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avatar Eva October 23, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I often wonder why February’s Heart Disease Awareness Month hasn’t taken off the same way. But I think you are right. Breasts are sexier than hearts. And phrases like “Save the Boobies” succeed in separating the disease from the thing it is killing: the woman.

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avatar Sara October 23, 2013 at 11:07 am

The Facebook community linked to this site: http://pigtailpals.com/ provides excellent moral support, education, and resources in gendered children’s products and marketing. As an adult woman, I find it personally comforting and a rich resource for parenting.

I was viscerally anti-pink until I had my daughter and we were given almost exclusively pink clothing. I grew more tolerant of the color when it was wrapped around my sweet kid, and even occasionally wear it now. Thankfully my daughters don’t prefer it, either.

Props to women, girls, men, and boys who prefer cotton candy, pastel, or hot pink products, but we’ll opt for blues and blacks and browns and reds and oranges and purples and yellows and greens.

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avatar Eva October 23, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I was personally really happy to have a boy, partially because I could not imagine shopping for girls clothes and Barbie toys. So much pink! I imagine that, like you, if I have a girl I will become more tolerant. But I kinda hope not. I enjoy my soapbox. Haha.

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avatar bob dorn October 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm

It is a little creepy, the pinkness that creeps into ordinary, everyday activity.
Something about the color is unnatural; maybe the association with illness
will be enough to undo the campaign to establish it as “women’s color.” Also,
there are a lot of women who neither like the color nor can be said to wear it,
if you know what I’m getting at. I’m hoping October 2013 will be its final
season.

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avatar Frank Gormlie October 23, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Unnatural?? It’s only red mixed with white. Didn’t that sheriff in Arizona harass his inmates by forcing them to wear pink underwear and even had cells painted pink?

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avatar bob dorn October 23, 2013 at 3:53 pm

But Frank, look at the Charger bolt in pink, on the right side of the page. It looks as natural as one of those mustaches on a share-a-car auto grille. Would you eat a pink hot dog?

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avatar DP October 23, 2013 at 1:53 pm

My little girl fell in love with pink right out of the womb. Not so much because it was a default color of baby clothes, but more because she’s been strong willed and decisive since day one. No one could tell her that pink wasn’t pretty.

At times, it was tough to stomach. But now that she’s all of four and a half, her attitude and pizzazz comes through in how she dresses herself and coordinates tops, tutus and year-round kneesocks. A huge lover of animals, she’s never met a flower she didn’t like.

Who am I to say her choice of color was ever wrong, misguided or out of style when she’s still got the ability to see through all of our ugliness? Thankfully, she’s growing more willing to test other colors on occasion… http://instagram.com/p/jS5PV/

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