Why women need to reclaim their relationship with pink

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller

Why women need to reclaim their relationship with pink

As a colour psychology specialist, one of the things I love to do is to observe the impact that colour choices have on our behaviour both as individuals but also as a society.

When you become aware that colour has this kind of impact, you’ll become even more aware of the colours you choose to express yourself.

Take yellow for example. Did you know that yellow is the colour that psychologically relates to happiness and when you wear the right tone for you, it can aid in boosting your self-confidence and lift your spirits? Some people instinctively choose to wear it in the morning because of this.

But just as everything else in life changes, as we evolve, our perception and how we relate to certain colours can also change. And the one colour where our relationship and our emotional connection and reaction is changing is pink.

Pink? I’ll take red thanks

Here in the UK, I’ve spoken to many women over the past few years and discovered that many women have a somewhat ‘uneasy’ relationship with pink.

In fact, most women reject pink outright.
This is not new news. If you were around in the corporate world in the Eighties and Nineties you would not have seen a pink skirt, jacket or blouse in sight.
Why did we shun pink? Because it was all too often seen as weak, needy, and disempowering.

In an attempt to be seen as ‘equal’ with men in very male-dominated environments, women took to wearing power suits in masculine colours like red and black. Essentially they were trying to diminish their femininity as if it was somehow not acceptable – or certainly not useful in a work context.

But here’s the interesting part… The colour red is the colour of masculinity. In the business context, red communicates strength, power, action taker and dominance. It’s ambitious, powerful and assertive. And isn’t that everything we desire a man to be in their role as a man?

That’s not to say women can’t be all these things and more. It’s just that so many women were trying to get ahead by portraying masculine qualities – and denying their feminine selves. So, without even realising it, they were inadvertently compounding the ‘male dominated world’ view in our bid to become equals and to be accepted in the workplace.

Make way for pink

Fast forward 15 to 20 years and a new paradigm is definitely emerging of what it is to be feminine.
And along with that paradigm shift is a change in perception when it comes to pink. But we’re still not at the point of fully embracing it yet, because there’s still a lingering belief that you won’t be taken seriously or be seen as ‘girly’ if you’re wearing pink. Does this resonate with you?

I’ve worked with many female business owners who take a feminine approach in supporting women with their unique challenges, but when it came to carrying out an analysis on the best colours to express their own business brand personality, I was surprised to see how many said they loathed the colour pink. Now just because a brand is focused on femininity it doesn’t mean you have to use pink. But what is interesting is the very colour these women were emotionally disconnected from or rejecting is at the very core of the work they do. My first job when working with them is to re-establish their own relationship with pink and what this means before we can look at the best colours to express their feminine-based brand.

Transitioning from red to pink

A couple of years ago I carried out research with a major skincare brand and we found that women prefer to wear magenta, the masculine version of pink, rather than the softer tones of pink, which are more feminine.

In the past few years there has been a surge in magenta pink in women’s clothing, branding, in products and in marketing. Magenta pink – often called ‘shocking pink’ or ‘hot pink’ – is a cold, blue-based pink. It’s quite hard. If there was a pink that expressed itself assertively, magenta is feisty and feminist.

For many women who perhaps have an uneasy relationship with pink, I see magenta pink as being their ‘transition pink’. And I believe this colour is the first step for many women in bridging their journey from the masculine to the soft feminine power. This signals a shift away from completely quashing our femininity and a move toward claiming it back and understanding its incredible strengths. It shows we are learning how to complement rather than compete with the masculine.

Magenta pink is only the beginning of the journey. The next step in reclaiming the softer feminine power will be to see how women intuitively transition to, and embrace the softer pink tones.

One of my favourite quotes is from Ivanka Trump, daughter of US Tycoon Donald Trump, who said, “I will wear pink if I want to, because although sexuality isn’t good in the boardroom, femininity is great.” Interestingly, red is the colour of sexuality, so all those women wearing red in the boardroom were inadvertently sending out the wrong signals.

Reconnecting with the feminine and getting back in touch with our soft feminine power is our feminine strength. Women do business differently. We build relationships. We come from a place of kindness, empathy and compassion, which has a power and strength beyond what we can ever imagine.

I believe our personal relationship to pink and how we view our own femininity are intrinsically linked so keep an eye on the tones of pink you see when you’re out and about in the world and you’ll know how we’re progressing toward embracing our femininity.

What’s your relationship with pink?

How do you perceive women who wear pink, especially the softer tones?

There are thousands of pink tones, so if you want to start exploring your relationship with pink, find a tone that you love, that resonates with you and embrace it.

Alternatively, why not let me help you find exactly the right tone for you? You don’t have to dress from head to toe in pink to reclaim your femininity, but once you have a personal relationship with pink, you can help to make a shift in society, nationally and globally, and bring your needed feminine approach to soften this tough world.

This can be quite a controversial topic – I’d love to hear your views, so please leave a comment below about how you feel about pink, wearing pink, as the colour of femininity or whatever else you have to say about this topic.

Also, If you’d like some expert help to find a pink tone you can fall in love with and loves you back, then book in for a discovery call with me.

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  1. Andrew Way on September 22, 2023 at 9:44 pm

    Colours are for everybody. Not just for women. Not just for men. As a 47 year old man I commonly wear pink and a variety of other colours. Why should colours be gendered in the first place. Colours don’t have genders.

    • Karen Haller on September 29, 2023 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Andrew,

      I completely agree with you. There are no gender colours just as there are no gender neutral or gender fluid colours.


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