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Business Spectacle: Lilys Hair Studio (video)
Business Spectacle: Lily's Hair Studio (video)
October 26, 2023

Pink is for everyone

Sameeha Syed
Young girls and boys were dressed in the same garments until the 20th century when color began playing a larger role in gender. The Sidekick social media manager Sameeha Syed thinks gender associations cause more harm than good.

Until the early 20th century, there was no definitive standpoint on which colors were considered feminine and which were masculine in the western world. Young children, both boys and girls, wore simple to make white, dress-like clothing until they were mature enough to manage traditional attire. 

Around 1910, stores began suggesting “sex-appropriate” colors and as a result, garments for children began to change. There were disputes between clothing companies about the colors pink and blue- which one was meant for boys and which one for girls? Many outlets believed that pink should be advertised as a masculine color due to its strong and decided nature, while light blues were gentle and a better fit for delicate girls. 

This directly contradicts modern day color-gender associations, and shows that colors do not innately have genders, associating them in this way causes more harm than good. 

What was once a matter of functionality, (dressing your child comfortably in something that was easy to clean), became a statement. It was suddenly inappropriate to dress little boys in the same clothes as little girls.

Like so many objects and activities, colors became associated with gender because influential businesses and media companies constructed these ideas and redefined what is considered “normal,” not because men or women naturally have an inclination towards them. 

The issue with this predetermined affinity is that it eliminates the prospect of choice. When people are forced into gender roles, it creates a harmful environment that contributes to social hierarchies and stunts personal growth. 

From a young age, children are taught what they should like and dislike based on their gender. The Sidekick social media manager Sameeha Syed thinks gender associations hinder personal growth and cause more harm than good. (Sameeha Syed)

Gender norms have been prevalent throughout all of history, different roles have been designated to men and women, not based upon skill or enjoyment, but on uncontrollable factors.

When roles are gendered so harshly, the idea that everything is exclusively male or female seeps into everyday objects and activities. Things like cars, sports and strength are closely associated with men and masculinity, so they’re pushed on to little boys early in their lives. Similarly, makeup, shopping and nurturing personalities are stereotypical activities and traits affiliated with women so they are taught to girls when they’re young.

Though these may seem harmless on the surface, these stereotypes greatly affect the way people view themselves. Children are more likely to feel like they don’t fit in when they dislike the activities that they are expected to enjoy. This can cause them to feel uncomfortable in their skin and hide their true passions in fear of being made fun of.

I do not think there is anything wrong with defining roles as long as they are chosen based on individual circumstance and personal preference, not assigned. It should be equally as common for women and men to work and should be equally acceptable for anyone to tend to a home. 

Discussions about gender have become more frequent in the past 50 years and because of this, action towards gender inequality has increased dramatically. This phenomenon is often referred to as the ‘Gender Revolution’ and it encompasses changes such as greater access to education, higher female employment and changes in societal views of people across the gender spectrum.

Men and women are expected to dress according to what society has deemed “normal,” regardless of what they personally prefer. The Sidekick social media manager Sameeha Syed thinks gender associations restrict self expression and cause more harm than good. (Sameeha Syed)

These steps towards equality are great and should be celebrated, but they are not enough. Inequality is still present and discrimination is still prevalent in many aspects of people’s lives. People still face backlash in their personal and professional lives because of the way they choose to express themselves. We must continue to fight for societal and institutional change around the world. 

People should be free to decide how they want to act, how they want to dress, and what they want to pursue without fear of facing gender based discrimination. 

With the rise in conversations about these longstanding inequalities that are deeply rooted in our culture, people are realizing that these conventions are both harmful and meaningless. Pink is just a color, it does not define one’s gender and does not characterize an identity. People are taking a stand- change is necessary and we should embrace it. 

Follow Sameeha (@ssameehaa) and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributor
Sameeha Syed
Sameeha Syed, Social Media Manager
Sameeha Syed is a senior and the Social Media Manager for The Sidekick. Syed joined The Sidekick thinking she was going to write, but realized she enjoyed taking photos and videos more. On rainy days, you can find her listening to her favorite artist, Steve Lacey, or watching her favorite movie, Little Women (2019). Syed loves spicy, flavorful food and her drink of choice is hot chai. Syed dislikes sweets; in fact, she would take savory food over dessert any day. Syed has a super cool fashion style, and if you look at her hands, 9 times out of 10, she has on her fun accessories: her rings and her favorite watch. Syed has a list of odd things she really likes, and on that list is her emotional support water bottle and warm socks. Syed also is very much a night owl, preferring to stay awake later rather than wake up earlier. Her favorite subjects in school are history and literature courses. You can contact her on Instagram (@ssameeha) or through email ([email protected]). 

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