As soon as the baby’s sex is known it’s hard to avoid: the baby shower cards, the congratulatory balloons, even newborn diapers come in pink or blue. Some parents embrace this. Others try to hold out a little longer, forgoing newborn hair ribbons or camo onesies. The dream of Free To Be… You and Me still alive in their progressive, gender stereotype-refuting hearts. But soon enough that little liberated girl will paw herself off that green and yellow baby mat and announce: “My favorite color is pink.”
This phenomenon is the subject of “The Pink and Blue Project” by South Korean artist, JeongMee Yoon. She’s been working on this for years but I just learned about it yesterday. Now I’m obsessed. Look at these incredible pictures:
On her website Yoon explains: “To make ‘The Pink and Blue Project’ images, I visit the child’s room, where I display and rearrange his/her colored accessories. I ask my models to pose for me with their pink or blue objects, in an effort to show the viewer the extent to which children and their parents, knowingly or unknowingly, are influenced by advertising and popular culture. I first lay out the larger items, blankets or coats, and then spread smaller articles on top of the clothes. This method references objects that are displayed in a museum collection. In some pictures, the children even look like dolls.”
Somehow these pictures are critical, startling, familiar, garish and astonishingly beautiful all at the same time. I feel pleasure. I feel dread. I have to admit the monochromatic color-coding is actually a little bit blissful, in a funny way. It may actually be the sheer amount of consumer goods that frightens me most.