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Empowering Women in Branding: Thoughts on Using Pink and ‘Girl’

I’m thrilled that in the Tough Girl Tribe we can have thought-provoking discussions and share our opinions in a safe space. I received an email about using the colour pink and the identifier ‘girl’ in my branding and I brought the discussion to our Facebook group to hear more about what our tribe members thought.

Thank you again for sharing your opinions. I am always open to your feedback and I hope you all feel that you can reach out to me. Your voices are so important.

In the discussion on using the colour pink and the word ‘girl’ in branding, I don’t feel there is one right or wrong answer. There are a lot of different factors and backgrounds that come into play with perspective and that’s part of what I want to share with you today.

I’m still learning a lot about building a brand, community and platform on which to share my message of empowerment and support for women and girls. I’m not always going to get it right. It is a journey that we are all on together. Please just know my heart is in the right place and I do think about these topics a lot. I am serious about making a positive difference. My hope is that the stories on our podcast are heard and that they encourage, motivate and inspire women and girls to live their best lives possible.

In sharing both sides of feedback on branding toward women, I hope we can learn to appreciate where others are coming from and the ambiguity of discussions like these. We’re all entitled to our own opinions and I hope we can respect that here.

Pink is a Personal Brand

If you’ve seen any of my personal accounts, you’ll know that I simply love the colour pink. I see pink as a powerful colour. In my mind, you can still be girly and do all the amazing challenges you like. I know that not everyone likes the colour pink, but then again, I can’t please everyone. I’m being my authentic self and that’s someone who simply loves pink. Your brand is your choice and pink is the colour I’ve chosen for Tough Girl.

Opening up the conversation to the Tough Girl Tribe, other women reflected the same love of pink. It’s bright and fun. For women with a love for pink, it can be annoying when technical gear is too often black or navy. Pink lovers enjoy how pink makes them feel.

While there are societal charges behind the color pink, in the end, to many it’s only a colour. One tribe member said, “No one should have to apologise for wearing pink, green, yellow, blue or red!” Why don’t we embrace all colours and celebrate them for what they truly are?

Pink is Stereotypical

While using pink can signal that something is catered toward females, it’s also a colour that’s been forced upon women by society. Our energy might be better spent breaking free of these stereotypes.

This challenge becomes apparent when women seek out technical gear. Many times, pink is the only option available and if you’re not a fan, you’re out of luck. “I dislike brands that slap pink onto all their women's lines (although they seem to be backing away from that, thanks to backlash from us, the female consumers). Pink is a fine colour, but I really don't want my women's-fit clothing to only be available in that colour,” related one community member.

Looking at this topic from another point of view, our society runs into the issue of what it means when boys like the colour pink. If we see less of pink equaling girls, society might be more open to accepting anyone who likes this colour. Using different colours could expand inclusion efforts.

‘Girl’ Belittles Women

Calling women girls highlights the need to be youthful, useless, and girly. Men rarely identify as boys, so why should we identify as girls?

I totally understand the issue with woman vs. girl. In the end, it came down to how it sounded. The Tough Women Podcast didn’t have the same ring as The Tough Girl Podcast. It’s the same with Tough Women Challenges, didn’t sound as good to me as Tough Girl Challenges. Then it came to domain names and social media accounts. I’ve been building this brand since 2014 and I don’t see changing it. I talk about women and girls on the podcast, which is for both.

Some tribe members actively discourage others from using the term girls. With girl being used to demean women in the past, working past this stereotype is important for our generation.

For many listeners, they don’t see themselves as very girly and simply prefer to identify as women.

Words Don’t Define Me

One tribe member put this beautifully, “Wonder Woman vs Supergirl? I don’t care, they are both badass. It’s a word, and words that define don’t bother me because I am what I am, and I know who I am.” The point arises, why does girl have to be demeaning? If we take charge of the term girl, we can decide what it means.

Others pointed out that part of the purpose of Tough Girl Challenges is inspiring young girls. This part of our audience might not relate to the term women yet. Still some ask, “Do we need to label ourselves at all?”

Need to Change Stereotypes

Beyond paying attention to how things look, we need to be focusing on the real issues at hand. If society is telling us that femininity is weak, we need to change that.

Even those who aren’t a fan of the colour pink, can acknowledge that we need to turn this stereotype around and make it mean what we want it to mean. The women on Tough Girl Challenges are doing this by sharing their brave, inspirational stories.

Ultimately, the actions we take are far more important than our colours or terms, as one tribe member pointed out. This is what will begin to turn the tide of how these things are viewed in society.

I want to thank this community again for coming together and having these kind of discussions. It means a lot to me each time one of you reaches out. Please continue to share your voice and speak your truth. I appreciate you!

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