feminist, researcher, lecturer

Harriet: pink or magenta, it’s still patronising and sexist


On View from the North: Harriet: pink or magenta, it’s still patronising and sexist

I was asked on a comment elsewhere today: “I wonder what Elizabeth Cady Stanton would think of it all?” Good question, I thought.

Though the question related to another issue, it could easily be asked also about Labour’s Harriet Harman’s new initiative to engage women voters: a pink campaign bus. Harman claims:

The message she wanted to get across to women was: “Use your vote, use your voice because politics is too important to be left to only men voting.”

She’s right that women must use their voice by voting for what’s important to them but she’s misguided if she thinks that touring in a pink bus will help make a difference. Worse, she’s amplifying a culture that infantilises women and girls.

Pink is for girls; blue is for boys

Harman told Sky News that, “It’s not about a colour; it’s about something, it’s about our democracy. It’s a small bus but big issues” (emphasis added). Harman came in for such criticism on her launch that it’s not surprising that she tried to backtrack but, regardless, the reaction to the campaign is very much about colour.


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