Real Men Wear Pink, don’t they?

21 April 2017

pink male flamingos
A question to the men out there. Would you wear a pink shirt? What about pink trousers? Shoes? A pink man-bag? Under-pants? Is it just a question of taste or is something else shaping your view?

Burts Chips new and improved firecracker lobsterToday, pink is everywhere. ‘Millenial pink’, a sort of dusty, neutral shade, has been declared the colour of 2017 and the tills are ringing. ‘Rose-gold’ iphones sell by the bucket-load and now too it seems do pink men’s clothes. Pink is no longer just for girls. Burn your jock-straps lads. Time to embrace the de-gendered liberation of colour. Pink-phobia is for dinosaurs – which is of course, great for Burts’ pink-packeted Firecracker Lobster flavour. Eat away fellas. No need to tip them into a manly brown Devon Roast Beef packet!!!

So what’s going on here? Are we seeing the rise of a new colour-consciousness? Is this just the latest fashion trend, soon to go the way of parachute pants and the sideways-turned baseball cap? Or have we reached the end of traditional mankind as we know it – the inevitable conclusion of a world where gender is seen as a spectrum rather than a binary choice between man and woman?

Well, here’s an experiment. If you google ‘can men wear pink?’, you’ll discover hundreds of freshly written articles all waxing lyrical on the subject. Full of historical precedent, social theory and sartorial advice, they all basically boil down to the same thing – a message that can be summarised as – Guys, relax; pink is good. No need to worry. Men have been wearing pink for centuries. Break through your misconceptions, they have no place in the modern world. The only thing you need to concern yourself with is picking the right shade for your skin tone.

Do real men wear pink?All good. Now try googling something that takes the other view, such as ‘men shouldn’t wear pink’ or ‘pink is for girls’. What do you find? Oops, cannot compute. Watch the tumbleweed roll across your screen. Nothing, nada, blip-all. In fact, you just get more myth-busting and championing of pink. What does this tell us?

Well, if it really was such a non-issue for men to wear pink, would we have to work so hard to convince ourselves it’s OK? The raging uniformity of view online suggests that however hard the style gurus and social commentators try to convince us, pink for men is not just a fashion statement. It’s a full-on political narrative: Real men wear pink. Full-stop. Period. End of. No further discussion.

Don’t they?

Hmm. A quick and fairly unscientific consultation with friends and colleagues suggests many remain unconvinced. Sure the history books tell us that pink used to be more associated with class than gender. Or that male babies were swaddled in pink because, as a derivative of red, it was considered bold and manly. But that stuff is long gone. For anyone who’s lived through the age of Barbie dolls, and strolled down supermarket aisles full of colour-coded toys and clothing, it’s hard to break the mind-set that pink is, well, not for men. And certainly not below the belt-line.


Above: “Man-Bags: Golfers at the Dubai Desert Classic wear pink to promote breast cancer awareness.”

So who’s right? Well no-one. Pink IS just a colour after all – and a fine one too. But it’s most probably best if we choose for ourselves whether to wear or reject it, rather than surrendering our judgement to the fashionistas. Who needs all that profit-motivated propaganda? Besides, being in the ‘hell will freeze over before I wear pink pants’ camp doesn’t make you a Neanderthal. And there’s plenty of women who object to the ‘pinkification’ of society too!

How should we leave this subject then? Well, we could leave the last word to Hollywood beef-cake Sly Stallone and his eye-bleeding pink floral shirt. Or maybe hand the microphone over to with their video claiming confident pink may increase your salary.

Or maybe we can just accept that pink is not for everyone and that just like with Burts crisps, everyone has their own favourite flavours. What do you reckon?

Do real men wear pink? Let us know …