One of my favorite things to do as a color psychologist is to study how different color schemes affect us as individuals and as a group.
When you realize that color can convey so much about a person, you’ll select your expression colors with greater care.
Consider the color yellow. Did you know that yellow is the color most closely associated with joy, and that donning an appropriate shade of it may help you feel more confident and upbeat? This may explain why some individuals reach for it every morning upon waking.
However, just as our perspectives and associations with colors may shift as we develop, so can all other aspects of our lives. Our connection, emotions, and responses to one another are all evolving, and pink is the one color where this is happening.
Over the last several years, I’ve had numerous conversations with women, and I’ve learned that many of them feel “uneasy” around the color pink.
True, the vast majority of females actively avoid anything pink.
The fact that this occurs is hardly breaking news. No one in the 1980s and 1990s worked in an office where pink was acceptable attire.
Just why did we avoid the color pink? Because of the negative connotations of being dependent and weak.
Women began donning power suits in traditionally masculine colors like red and black in an effort to be perceived as “equal” with men in particularly male-dominated situations. They were obviously making an effort to downplay their femininity as if it were unacceptable or irrelevant in the workplace.
But here’s where things get exciting… Red is a traditionally masculine color. Red is associated with assertiveness, confidence, initiative, and leadership in the business world. It has ambition, strength, and confidence. I mean, isn’t it the epitome of what we hope men will be?
That doesn’t mean women can’t also do other things well. It’s simply that a lot of women, in an effort to advance their careers, pretended to be men and suppressed their femininity. So, in our efforts to be seen as equals and welcomed at work, they unwittingly bolstered the “man dominated world” image.
Pink is taking over
In the subsequent fifteen to twenty years, a new paradigm of femininity has emerged.
Along with this new way of thinking, the color pink is also being viewed differently. However, we aren’t quite there yet; the stigma that wearing pink makes you look too girlie or unprofessional prevents us from truly embracing the color. Is there truth to this?
When I conducted a study on the best colors to represent their own business brand identity, I was astonished to find that many women business owners, while taking a feminine approach to aiding women with their specific difficulties, indicated they hated the color pink. You don’t have to resort to pink simply because your company caters to women. What’s fascinating, though, is that the work these women perform revolves on the exact color they rejected or felt emotionally distant from. Before we can look at the ideal colors to convey their female-centric business, I must first help them repair their own broken connection to pink and what it means.
Changing from a scarlet to a pink hue
A few years ago, I collaborated on a study with a well-known skincare company that revealed women are more likely to choose magenta, the more manly variant of pink, over softer pink tones that are traditionally associated with women.
Magenta pink has been increasingly popular in recent years, particularly in women’s fashion, branding, and marketing. Magenta pink is a cool, blue-based pink that is sometimes referred to as “shocking pink” or “hot pink.” Yes, it’s that challenging. Magenta, if there were a pink that spoke its mind, would be sassy and feminist.
Magenta pink, in my opinion, is the “transition pink” for a lot of women who have a difficult time accepting the color pink. Indeed, I think that for many women, this color represents an important transition from the hard male force to the gentle feminine strength. This is a step in the right direction, as it indicates that we will no longer be suppressing our femininity and will instead be reclaiming it and recognizing its tremendous virtues. It’s evidence that we’re progressing toward a balance with the masculine rather than a struggle against it.
The trip does not begin with magenta pink. It will be interesting to observe how women naturally shift toward and embrace the softer pink tones as the next stage in recovering the softer feminine strength.
Ivanka Trump, daughter of US Tycoon Donald Trump, once remarked, “I will wear pink if I want to, because although sexuality isn’t good in the boardroom, femininity is terrific.” Red is the color associated with lust, therefore all the women in the boardroom who wore it were sending the incorrect messages.
The power of the feminine lies in reclaiming our connection to our own gentler, more nurturing side. Women run businesses differently than males. Together, we create connections. We are rooted in empathy and compassion, which are far more potent and powerful than we give them credit for.
I think the shades of pink we see in the world may tell us a lot about how we’re doing as a society when it comes to embracing our femininity because of the close relationship between our individual experience of pink and our perception of our own femininity.
How do you feel about the color pink?
What kind of impression do you have of ladies who choose the gentler shades of pink?
Since there are so many different shades of pink, it’s best to start by embracing a shade that you truly enjoy.
As an alternative, why don’t you let me guide you to the perfect pitch? You don’t have to wear only pink from head to toe to feel more feminine; rather, developing a personal relationship with pink is the first step toward making a change in local, regional, national, and international communities by contributing your much-needed feminine perspective to smooth out the rough edges.
Since this is potentially divisive, please share your thoughts on pink as a color, as a symbol of femininity, and as a matter for debate by leaving a comment below.