Does the Colour Pink Really Effect Our Ability to be Strong?
“We psychologically think that pink will calm us down because society has conditioned us to believe that anything this closely related with women should take on their stereotypical character traits.”
Words by Georgia Gadsby
Image by Juno Calypso for ‘ULTRA: Art of the Women’s World Cup’ exhibited by J Hammond Projects
Walking into my baby pink room after a long day at work, I immediately feel calm. I feel at home. My stressed out work brain replaces itself with a tranquil substitution as I slip into some cosy pyjamas and select a film to watch for the evening. Perhaps this is all just because I associate my room with feeling safe and comfortable, or perhaps it is owing to the colour of my accent cushions.
During the Women's World Cup I came across a story that had my eyebrows raised in intrigue, but also in speculation. A photographic art piece by Juno Calypso captured bloodied and bruised female football players in a millennial pink changing room for ULTRA’s ‘Art for the Women’s World Cup’ exhibited at the J Hammond Projects Gallery in London. The piece was based on Norwich City’s controversial move to paint their away changing room pink for the 2018-19 season. This was in a bid to lower their opponents testosterone levels, therefore making the football team calmer and easier to defeat. According to scientific theory, this holds up, and has even been used in US prisons in an attempt to calm aggressive inmates.
Although, scientifically, there are studies to suggest that this would be an effective tactic to enhance chances of winning a football game, Norwich City were beaten 4-3 by West Bromwich in their first home match since the painting of the away changing room. Taking this information in made me question as to why we believe pink is a calming, testosterone reducing colour. Is it because we associate it with childhood? We dress young girls in pink, encourage them to be calm, patient and caring, while other colours such as blue and red are considered masculine and are in turn associated with stereotypical male traits such as aggression and strength.
We associate the colour pink with the female gender from birth and although we continue to push the binary in today’s society, we still relate the colour to the calmness of character and a relaxed state of mind that women are so often forced to take on in order to be a ‘desirable woman’. With these traits and this colour being so intertwined, the painting of the away changing rooms pink almost dismisses the very notion that anything closely associated with women could be strong, powerful, and able to conquer. We psychologically think that pink will calm us down because society has conditioned us to believe that anything this closely related with women should take on their stereotypical character traits. This is a social construction, which is why the painting of the away changing rooms did not work in Norwich’s favour.
Despite our pink locations, whether it’s an away changing room before a football match or a cosy bedroom after a long day of work, the colours around us do not determine our strength, just as our gender does not either.
For more of Juno Calypso’s work click here.