Millennials and their pink

Originally featured in Volume 23 of tmrw

Millennial pink. Millennials. Why are associated with a colour? Noughties kids doing naughty things dressed in bubblegum pink. If that’s how we’re going to go down in history, then the 90s would surely be camouflage and the 70s is paisley.

But seriously, Millennial Pink is the colour that has fully saturated a market targeted at our impressionable youth. Its presence in our updated rainbow (which is just seven shades of varying millennial pink hues) is as persistent and consistent as the right swipes of a guy who’s just downloaded Tinder for the first time. This salmony peachy grapefruit colour is the most sought after, Instagrammable tone of the last couple of years. It’s been used on catwalks, on the high street, it’s covering the latest books, and colouring our tote bags and cafes, and Harry Styles bathed it in for the imagery of his debut self-titled album cover, which is arguably the most important use of this pink tone.

But this isn’t just any shade of pink, and don’t even begin to call it a muted shade of fuchsia or Barbie pink, because girl you’re just not getting the hype. It feels like the world needs a training day at Dulux to fully understand what we’re dealing with here. You see, it’s not exactly a new colour, but it’s had a new name for these past couple of years. The phrase ‘Millennial Pink’ represents a sort of take-back of the colour pink, and anything associated to it has been given a new meaning. Do you remember that phase where you fought away from pink in an attempt to prove you weren’t a girly girl? Or you thought the colour would risk your masculine reputation? That’s all gone now. Millennial pink holds no boundaries to who can wear it, or how or where they can wear it. For a colour that looks kinda like someone chundered strawberry milkshake all over the girls’ aisle at Toys’R’Us – it actually holds a much deeper significance.

In an article published on The Cut’s website titled ‘Why Millennial Pink Refuses to Go Away’, Lauren Schwartzberg wrote, “It speaks to an era in which trans models walk the runway, gender-neutral clothing lines are the thing, and man-buns abound. It’s been reported that at least 50 percent of millennials believe that gender runs on a spectrum — this pink is their genderless mascot.” Forget blue is for boys and pink is for girls – millennial pink is the colour for everyone, and it is the inclusiveness of this hue that actually describes who are we are as a generation. And not just the basic idea that we like the colour…

Fluidity amongst us young’uns is something to be celebrated. It is us as a generation that has arguable encouraged conversations to be had about sexuality and gender in society, and break down potential existing barriers that were put up by our parents and so on. But entering into androgynous territory, not just with millennial pink, but also with our views on equality and gender, is something that our older relatives sometimes just don’t get. And when they don’t understand something, they pigeonhole us all into an ‘other’ category, all because they can’t get their heads around the fact some guys can be expressive in their emotions and allow themselves to shed tears, or how some men aren’t fixated on how much weight they can bench press. And how not all of us young women have goals to be a housewife and a mother by the age of 25, some want to start their own business or be their own boss, and some don’t actually want to be women. Sorry we don’t have the same goals you did when you were 21 Sandra, stop calling us “those pesky millennials” and wondering when we’re going to move out. We’ll do it in our own time, okay? Maybe stop making us dinner every night and doing our washing, because you’re just making us even more comfortable.

But it’s true, our parents love to portray us as a stunted generation, and that’s translated into media outlets too. They’re all talking about how we’re not buying houses, we’re not getting married, we’re not saving any money because we just absolutely love to be in debt and live at home until we’re 30. Instead of getting a mortgage at 19 like our grandparents, we’re spending our easy-earned cash on getting drunk and wearing a colour pink that apparently defines us. Sorry that we’d rather spend our dollar on avocados than saving for a mortgage, I suppose we’ve just got different priorities. It’s got nothing to do with inflation, or the cost of house prices, or how hard it is to get loans from the bank. Nothing to do with that at all.

Well, as a designated spokesperson for Generation Poached-Eggs-and-Avocado, I’d like to say we’re not stunted just because we wear millennial pink and have views that don’t correlate to those of forty years ago.

So, my fellow peers, next time you see something plastered in millennial pink, don’t be sad because we are defined by it, be happy because that’s what’s happening. Here’s to a generation of a cute pink colour who have views that are gonna stir shit up.

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