I found myself staring at this picture for a good solid five minutes, because I can’t fully make up my mind about it.
My rambling is after the jump.
It hits all of the pinkification red (pink?) flags. The woman doing science is literally pink, she’s wearing high heels, and her lab coat has become a somewhat frilly dress. But I find myself (I think) liking this picture, primarily because of the very serious, badass expression on the woman’s face. She is pink, and pretty, and frilly, AND she is doing science like a boss. The picture is a weird mix of sexual objectification and assertion of dominance. …For instance, I’m pretty sure she’s doing a power pose.
Maybe another reason I like this picture is because the pinkification isn’t infantilization here. It’s not a soft pink but a bold pink. Furthermore, this was originally posted with the tagline,
“i was just 16 when i realize i have love for science,”
It’s not showing women as girls. It’s showing a girl as a woman. Even with the dress and high heels–they’re pretty functional looking. I could actually imagine someone doing science in this getup; she has her goggles on and her sleeves are rolled up. (Disclosure: I’ve never worked in a lab so for all I know exposed legs or long, loose hair is a safety no-no.) I’ll amend that statement: Her outfit looks more functional than the artist could have easily made it.
Definitely, there is still an element of pink-science-lady-as-sexy-object-of-desire, but I don’t think that aspect is as strong as the implication here that pink is not the color of passivity. Perhaps it would also help if I throw in this biographical tidbit: I have been pretty anti-pink my whole life. Age 9 or 10 rolled around and I would have nothing to do with the color. In fact, it’s taken a lot of willpower to incorporate anything between the shades of deep purple and dark red into my wardrobe.
But lately I’ve been trying to embrace pink more. A lot of people (girls and women are people, too) strongly identify with the color pink, so having everyone denounce pink is not the way to go. Yes, women shouldn’t have to like or wear pink; but those people that do, they shouldn’t be shamed for it. There’s nothing bad or despicable about liking or identifying with pink, because there’s nothing bad, weak, or pathetic about identifying with the feminine.
Along that line, this picture doesn’t strike me as “This is what everyone woman looks like when she does science.” It comes across as, “This is a stylized portrayal of a girl who loves pink things and science things at the same time. Boo-ya!” (Technically, it’s a rip off a character who’s a princess, for what that’s worth.)
I don’t know if I’m just late to this bandwagon of realization, but I’m just struck by how this picture is messing with my associations of science, pink, and feminine.
Does anyone know a good way to compare a picture like this to the discussion we had here on that notorious video “Science: It’s a Girl Thing”? , especially considering I’ve seen a few articles on why the “pinkification” of science is overall not a good thing.
(Also, am I misusing the term “pinkification” here?)