Everyone has a colour. Many people self identify with a colour.
“It’s a child’s play.” You might say.
Sure, because in kindergarten we were all asked to pick one colour out at one point. Usually it’s also unique, at least in that group. Once, as I was five years old, we were doing some paper crafting games. Of course, everyone was asked to pick a piece of paper with one colour on it.
I went for the blue one. I always liked blue. “Choose pink. It’s pretty and it’s a girl’s colour.” I was told by a teacher.
“But I want blue.” I didn’t want to say it’s my favourite colour, because what if I change my mind?
“Blue is a boy’s colour.”
“Then I choose yellow.”
“Yellow is also a boy’s colour.”
You must be kidding me.
“Ok. What else are a girl’s colours?”
“Red, pink, and purple.”
“What about green. I like green.”
“Choose another one.”
“Fine, I choose black.”
“There’s no black in the game.”
“It’s not colourful.”
“Black is a colour, no?”
“Yes. But it’s not colourful.”
“Because it’s not pretty.”
“Black is pretty, I think. My hair is black. Look, it’s pretty. So black is pretty.”
“…Please, just choose a colour.” The teacher was getting impatient.
“I choose blue.”
In the end, I was stuck with red.
Red means good luck. That’s when I learnt that this is a fact in China.
“Everyone can use some good luck. Boys and girls both.” So I accepted.
My mother liked red. “It’s a lucky colour.” She used to say. “It brings good luck and prosperity.” She never told me that colours are gendered. Because she never thought about colours that way. She used to pick out jackets and sweaters that contained a lot of “Chinese red” (hexadecimal colour code #aa381e, a medium dark shade of red-orange). And she told me once, if she had to pick a favourite colour, it’s going to be this red.
She didn’t choose it because it’s a girl’s colour. She never cared about it. Symbolism as such was luxury for people at the bottom such as her family.
My rebellion against everything “girly” started because of my father. Since I was very little, I realised if I chose something that’s not traditionally “a girl’s choice”, my father would be very happy and very proud of me.
So, having a rebellious father and a mother who doesn’t give a damn about gendering colours, I always picked anything but “girl’s colours”.
Until I realised, I actually like red, pink, and purple.
Most of the times, I don’t have a preferred colour. Because I like every colour.
By resisting the pit called “girl’s colours”, I had been trapped in another pit called “not choosing a girl’s colours.”