A year or two ago, I proudly joined an association specifically designed for women in the construction industry to network, mentor and support each other. What a wonderful concept! We are a minority in construction, so it was wonderful for me to see women reaching out to other women in the industry for this purpose.
One of the first things I saw was an advertisement for construction gear, safety equipment, etc. that was made especially for women. I was ecstatic! Trying to fit into clothing, boots, gloves and safety gear that was made for men is not easy. It’s not shaped right and can be uncomfortable or downright unworkable. When I saw that this safety company had made an effort to include women in their marketing plan, I had visions of gloves that fit my hands or – dare to dream – cordless drills that were streamlined to be lighter and more female-friendly. Listen, I’m sure there are women out there who can handle the standard cordless drill with one hand, hanging off a ladder, no sweat, but I am not that woman. They’re heavy!
So anyway, I got all revved up imagining the awesome female-friendly gear that this company would offer, so I clicked through, only to find that the only difference in their female-friendly merchandise was that it was pink. Pink hard hats, pink gloves, pink-handled tools. There was even jewelry featuring little glittery pink charms shaped like hard hats, hammers and backhoes. Seriously?
What on earth would possess anyone serious about construction to want bright pink tools? Or to wear head-to-toe pink clothing on a construction site? To express their femininity? Should we also wear tiaras and steel-toed stilettos? I feel female enough in this industry, thank you very much.
Don’t get me wrong. One woman in my office exclaimed joyfully that she MUST HAVE the pink work boots, so obviously there are some women out there who are totally into the pink thing. But I object to the idea that if it’s for a woman it MUST be pink. Where was that written? Down with pink!
If you want to make tools in fashion colors, go right ahead. I like green. Blue is also nice. But most importantly, I want good quality tools, clothes and safety equipment that fit me. I want to be comfortable and practical. Pink is not practical. Coloring men’s safety equipment pink, does not make it “specially made for women.” It just makes it pink. And pink sucks.