Thursday, July 9, 2015

Colors / Pink

Cabinet summer 2003- David Byrne

“Colors” is a column in which a writer responds to a specific color assigned by the editors of Cabinet.

“I adore that pink! It’s the navy blue of India,” declared Diana Vreeland, former editor of Vogue and source of many aphorisms. By this she meant that, just as navy blue in our culture tends to signify conservative respectability, pink exemplifies tradition and balance in India. The existence of universal stylistic and psychological color reactions is therefore placed in doubt: what we would consider a wild, flamboyant, and feminine color is, in India—at least according to DV—considered refined and conventional.

I asked my daughter, who is thirteen and loves the color pink, why the attraction and what it’s all about. She said it’s a “nice color,” it “looks good on me,” and “guys can’t wear pink—it makes them look stupid” (more on this later). “Pink and black look good on everybody—except redheads.” When pressed, she suggested, “Maybe it’s because of Barbie” (proof that kids are aware of the effects of marketing, branding, and advertising). “Maybe because I was given pink stuff as a baby—and maybe because it’s pretty.”...

Full Article here.
This room at the US Naval Correctional Facility in Seattle, Washington, was the first to be painted Baker-Miller pink (a.k.a. Schauss pink). Full spectrum fluorescent lights ensured that the color was not distorted. Courtesy Alexander Schauss.
... "So, back to the beginning. Girls and Boys. Far from enhancing virility and voraciousness, pink leaches it away. Was pink then marketed, post-World War II, by men to women as a girlie color in a secret effort to restrict gains made by women in the workforce during the war? To turn the newly independent earners back into passive consumers? This was all decades before the Baker-Miller research, of course, but one might go so far as to assume that the "pink effect" was unconsciously or instinctively known (except by the writers of the Ladies' Home Journal). Diana Vreeland's awareness that pink's power is culturally determined in this light looks prescient, and my daughter may buy into pink, but clearly she knows that it is being sold to her. Instinct and intuition often predate proof."