“When a child gets a hug from his or her mother, if that hug were a colour, it would be pink”, says Karen Haller, an expert in colour and branding. From cotton candy to the rosy cheeks of newborns, from steamy love letters to female power rangers, pink has always been the superstar of all colours, somehow always being noticed first in a sea of colours. Although it is important to note that many tend to associate pink with “ a lighter shade of red” , I feel that pink has done more than enough to deserve its own class of colours and should never have to dwell in the shadow of red, or any colour for that matter.
Throughout the ages, the symbolic meaning of pink has been a controversial issue. In the 18th century, which was the golden age for pink, George Romney made pink the colour of seduction in his potraits of Emma, Lady Hamilon who would go on to be the future mistress of Admiral Horatio Nelson. His take on pink was later challenged by Thomas Lawrence who in his potraits, depicted pink as a completely opposite meaning. Thomas’s portrait named “Pinkie” equated pink with childhood, tenderness and compassion. How two artists from a single era could come up with totally contrasting outlooks on a single colour shows just how intriguing and ambigous the colour really is.
Thankfully the modern era has a more unanimous view on the meaning of pink. Just take a walk through the female toddler section of Parkson, and you will see how pink has come to become the colour of the ladies. Even toilet signs nod in approval. Stronger is the apparent disapproval of men who are brave to adorn the colour. Men who go to bars dressed in anything that is the slighest shade of pink would almost surely be sleeping alone that night. In Nazi Germany, inmates of concentration camps who were accused of homosexuality were forced to wear pink triangles. Today, the pink triangle has become a symbol of the modern gay rights movement, empowering gays around the world to stand up not just for what they believe in, but more importantly for who they are. Such is the power of pink.
In conjunction with Global Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Student Concil of Sunway College, Kuala Lumpur took up arms to inform students and facuilty on the subject. And their theme colour? You guessed it, the pink ribbon is the globally recognized symbol for breast cancer. I was fortunate to have been approached by two young gentleman from the Student Council, Kendrick and Leslie. They handed me a pink card which showed a terrifying fact about breast cancer, that every 19 seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with breast cancer. I was amused however by the tiny caption at the bottom of the card which read, “#LETSBEBREASTFRIENDS”.
Alas, my hope for mankind is that we tear down stereotypes of blue men and pink women, and start to create a society filled with an entire spectrum of colours. Only then can we truly bask in the palette of colours that is life and ensure that our liberty stays in the pink of health.