Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tickled Pink

I love the color pink. I always have loved pink, and don’t anticipate that I’ll ever stop loving pink. As a matter of fact, I’m wearing pink as I write this. It’s just a bright, happy color. My favorite color is purple (as you can probably infer based on the blog color scheme), but pink is certainly a very close second. My friends have always thought it was a little weird that I'm so into pink, since I just don't seem the type, but I really love the color. So sue me.

I volunteer at the children’s service at my synagogue on Shabbat (the Sabbath). Every week, the kids walk around with kid-sized Torahs, some of which are stuffed toys. There’s only one pink one. I feel like I should mention that this pink Torah is about twice my age, very faded, a little corroded looking, and has been sewed more times than I can remember to keep the stuffing from falling out. The other stuffed Torahs (that only come in red, yellow, blue, and purple) were bought in the past few years, so they all look new and are in pretty good condition. Despite the clear quality disparity, all hell breaks loose every Shabbat when the little girls come running to grab the pink Torah before anyone else can catch up. And yes, innumerable tears have been shed and many fights have ensued over this issue.

The obsession over the pink Torah has been going on for a while now, and it’s really been bothering me. I know it’s not the girls’ fault that they love pink, since they’re being flooded by pink pink pink on a daily basis by the media. Like, a while ago, I was at a friend’s house, and we were watching the Disney movie Princess Protection Program with her youngest sister. As I stated previously, I love pink, but the movie’s insistence that princesses have to have lots and lots of pink things was getting me nauseated. I know that my own love of pink is because society has conditioned me, a possessor of ovaries, to like the color. It’s nobody’s fault but the media, and society for allowing it.

Is it really a big deal, though? If girls love pink, does it matter so much? I think it does, not so much because of the specifics of the matter, but because of the concept. When one gender is conditioned to prefer one thing to another, it becomes the property of that gender, not to be enjoyed by the other. Pink is liked by girls, which makes it girly; if it’s girly, boys who like it are considered effeminate. Boys like cars, so that’s really boyish; if it’s boyish, girls who like it are tomboys. It separates the genders, making a dichotomy between the two.

(And I’d like to point out that girly doesn’t have any real male equivalent. I used boyish in the above paragraph for lack of a better word, but it doesn’t have the right connotation.)

When the girls at my synagogue fight over the pink Torah, they create their own little world, excluding the boys. If a boy naturally likes pink, it’s too bad for them - it’s girly.

One Shabbat quite a while ago, a boy actually asked for the pink Torah. It had already been snapped up by one of the girls, but it really made me happy that society and his parents hadn’t yet conditioned him not to like pink. While he hasn’t asked for the pink Torah again, I hope he still wants it.

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