What is “Millennial Pink,” and Why Do I Care?

Apparently my generation has its own shade of pink.

I didn’t know this until recently, when I read about it in The Cut. They say it “refuses to go away,” but that was the first time I’d heard about it.

Millennial Pink is a shade somewhere between pastel and Barbie, not quite peachy but not too magenta. It’s a very middle-of-the-road, neutral color.

I didn’t realize it was tied to a generation. Why should it be?

Trends happen. Colors have their moments. Pantone picks a new hot color annually (this year it’s a shade of green). And trends of any kind are likely to be popular with young adults. That’s not unusual.

I don’t have anything against pink in general, or even this shade in particular. In fact, my phone wallpaper and lock screen are very close to Millennial Pink*.

It’s telling, to me, that two things often maligned for frivolity — the millennial generation and the color pink — are put together. Especially because they have been joined to ask why this color won’t go away.

Pink is associated with the feminine, and that, in turn, is seen as silly, superfluous, unnecessary (this is ridiculous, of course). Millennials are seen as self-centered, spoiled, and flighty (also ridiculous). So I guess it fits that fashion and thinkpiece writers are lumping them together in snidely-toned articles.

If we’re going to put trendy colors with their generations, why stop at Millennial Pink? How about Gen X Black? It’s as bleak and depressing as 90s sitcoms always said you were! Baby Boomer Avocado — it destroys the economy and elects Reagan then makes fun of you for having an iPhone and not affording a mortgage! The possibilities are endless!

I kid, but come on — it’s not all that unusual for their to be a hot color that hangs around for a few years. I’m actually glad it’s pink right now. Pink is a great color, but because it has become associated with women and girls, it doesn’t get any respect (insert Dangerfield impression here). The feminine** is silly and childlike, while the masculine is serious, professional, and mature. Women are taught not to display feminine characteristics if we want to be taken seriously, especially at work. Interests like fashion or makeup are mocked while sports are celebrated. Crafting is silly but carpentry or working on a car is cool. And so on.

You’ll note that Millennial Pink is very similar to Pantone’s Rose Quartz, which shared its color of the year designation with Serenity, an equally-soft blue. I don’t see thinkpieces analyzing the meaning of blue — maybe because we’re supposed to like blue, everyone can like blue, but pink is weird, unpopular, “girly.”

If, as some have written, embracing pink means my generation is eschewing this gendered nonsense, I say bring it on. No mocking necessary.

*I also have a rose gold iPad. Sue me.

**There are infinite ways to express femininity, but for the purposes of this post, I’m going with the stereotypes

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