Pink is a colour stereotypically associated with girls, and often used to feminise geek products/events/campaigns/etc or to (supposedly) make them attractive to women.
Origin of "pink is for girls" stereotype
In modern-day western culture, pink is associated with girls and especially young girls. This is a relatively new thing, and has increased rapidly in the later 20th and early 21st centuries; earlier, pink was considered a colour for boys since it was a lighter shade of red, which was considered an energetic colour. Light blue, as a "calm" and "graceful" colour was deemed more suitable for girls. [disputed: Del Giudice, M. (2012). The Twentieth Century Reversal of Pink-Blue Gender Coding: A Scientific Urban Legend?]
Some people claim that women's attraction to the colour pink can be explained by Evolutionary psychology (eg. "prehistoric women were gatherers and are attracted to pink/red tones to help them spot ripe berries in the forest".) This is bullshit; if it were true, the association of pink=girl would not be so new.
Reasons for using pink
- Positive or neutral
- Using the colour pink can increase women's visibility
- Women's and girls' preferences and interests are often stigmatised; sometimes women intentionally use pink to reclaim it.
- Many individual women simply like the colour pink. This is an individual choice, and should not be conflated with mass pinkification. (However, see Choice for thoughts on the context within which we make individual choices.)
- Negative or basically bullshit
- Using pink to make products "more interesting" to women (for instance: power-tools, computer accessories, smartphone applications)
- Using pink to "correct" the fact that default-coloured geek things make women using them supposedly seem masculine or unattractive.
- Assuming all women like pink is gender essentialism.
- Pink is mostly associated with young girls, and so serves as a form of infantilisation
- Its presence can trigger stereotype threat (i.e. when women are reminded that their gender is seen as less competent at geek things, they perform less well at them)
- It perpetuates segregation: "normal" (i.e. fully featured, in a range of colours) products for men, and pink ones for women.
- Pink products are often dumbed down, or advertised in dumbed-down ways. For instance, a pink laptop may have lower specs than its masculine sibling, or not list the specs on the website.
Pinkification is when a company or organisation makes their promotional material pink to attract women. This may also be accompanied by cutesy logos, soft/curvy/floral/otherwise femininity-associated design, or dumbing down of language, products, etc.
- Della computers
- way too many women in tech groups/campaigns/etc (see this article for discussion of this pattern)
- Slashdot "pink pony" april fools joke (satirical, but typical of the pattern)