and didn't think too much more about it until a friend of a friend asked me:
Legal?Is it legal ?
I saidWell, yes
Later that day, about to relate the tale to a friend of how the colour of my front door's legality had been brought into question I got no further thanI think so, no complaints so far...
before she askedI've painted my front door pink
and looked at me faux coyly in a lovely way she has that she reserves solely, I suspect, for simpletons.Is that a euphemism?
Determined to catch up I resorted to hearsay and Wikipedia and was surprised to learn that pink is controversial enough to have a campaign aimed at it's elimination. Well, that's not quite true but there is a campaign railing against the 'culture of pink which invades every area of girls’ lives'. www.pinkstinks.co.uk. Pinkstinks thinks that the culture of pink for female tots leads to a whole load of bad stuff including body image obsession, as girls are conditioned to subscribe to the damaging boundaries within which they will grow up in via pink. There's a lot of conviction and a high degree of passion flying around the site and although they don't seem to say if they think that pink would be just as damaging if it were to be foisted on boys instead of girls, I was surprised to learn that the correlation between boys:blue and girls:pink wasn't always the case.
[Is this true? Ed.]
Yes. According to Woman's Journal, a women's rights periodical published from 1870-1930:
pink being a more decided and stronger colour, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.
So. Pink is a moveable feast. It arouses strong feelings and it used to be a colour associated with boys and now it's associated with girls. Just when Pink shifted it's association is unclear but I was pleased to learn about the mutability of pinkiness as I've always been intrigued by the choice of colour for the doors and down pipes of Swansea's old J Shed - a very masculine building if ever there was one.
J shed was re-developed in 2004 as part of the bland chic-ification that was the then Welsh Development Agency's best efforts around Swansea's old Prince of Wales Dock. Thus J shed's now shows a very National Trust style approach to colour which resolutely eschews pink. In fact it's grey and sage as, amusingly, The Bland tend to ignore the ravages of time on colour intensity when they redecorate, and assume that history chose faded colour schemes.
J shed was built in or around 1895, about the time the PoW dock was expanded to accommodate the larger steam ships that were then giving sail ships a run for their money.
But does anyone know when J shed was painted pink?
The Prince of Wales' Dock was probably in decline in the later half of the 20th century in the face of competition from the larger King and Queens' Docks to the West and the loss of traffic due to the demise of Welsh coal. So I'm guessing that the last redecoration was probably in the 50's or 60's when pink should have been well on the way to being re-aligned from boy colour to girl colour.
You can see the actual colour transition at J shed in this picture of a wheel from the bottom of one of the doors.
J Shed's doors & downpipes were once blue and mutated to pink via British Empire Blood Thirsty Red thus showing an anachronistic embrace of what was probably the then accepted colour code for gender - assuming of course that we subscribe to the notion that J Shed is indeed a 'masculine' building. That's another subject, but it certainly existed in a whole heartedly male world - that of Swansea's dockers and the world's sailors. I suspect J shed was pinked up in the 50's or 60's by someone who thought that pink was still associated with masculinity .. Tho as we're unclear as to when pink or gender shifted it's allegiance it's hard to know just how far out of line this thinking was.
Whichever way you look at it, J shed's choice of colour is curious, and begs the larger questions of how the exclusive assignment of a single colour to gender is assumed, as well as how the shift of this colour between genders occurs. In the currant maelstrom surrounding sexual identity, pink, and the assumptions we all make around colour & gender, should be well worth watching.
More research, as they say, is needed. Also, and far more importantly to a boy whose pink credentials are nailed firmly to the door at Number 4 Uplands Crescent:
When will it be our turn again to have another go with pink?
Boys. Really now.
What's not to like about pink ?