I am a cheerleader, a sorority girl, a makeup lover and my favorite color is not pink.  It’s orange.  But what if it was pink?  Would it matter? Does it make me less of a feminist?

With the stigmas placed on “being a girl,” for many young teens, it does matter.  As a cheerleading coach of eleven to fourteen year olds, when it came time to pick bows last season the consensus was “anything other than pink.”

Statistically, that seems strange.  An entire squad hates the color pink so much that black ended up being the top choice.  They kept insisting that “black is the new pink” but I knew the truth—they liked pink, but couldn’t admit it.  They are already pestered for liking the “girly” sport-that-no-one-considers-a-sport, cheerleading.  Plus, the oldest on the team already insisted that black is much better than pink; what would people say if they admitted they liked pink too?

The attempt to free girls from stigmas stigmatizes those who do fit the stigmas.  You don’t have to like pink, but what if you do?  Is that not acceptable?  Does it become even more unacceptable if you already like another “girly” cliché?  “Girls should be able to like what they want” is the root argument, but when girls like the cliché, they are told they shouldn’t like that.

This year, I am coaching ten year olds and they openly like pink; what needs to be done to ensure that next year, at age eleven, they still can?