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Pink Think [Paperback]

Lynn Peril
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 29 2002
From board games to beauty pageants, a smart, witty, pop-culture history of the perilous path to achieving the feminine ideal.

Deluged by persuasive advertisements and meticulous (though often misguided) advice experts, women from the 1940s to the 1970s were coaxed to "think pink" when they thought of what it meant to be a woman. Attaining feminine perfection meant conforming to a mythical standard, one that would come wrapped in an adorable pink package, if those cunning marketers were to be believed. With wise humor and a savvy eye for curious, absurd, and at times wildly funny period artifacts, Lynn Peril gathers here the memorabilia of the era —from kitschy board games and lunch boxes to outdated advice books and health pamphlets—and reminds us how media messages have long endeavored to shape women's behavior and self-image, with varying degrees of success.

Vividly illustrated with photographs of vintage paraphernalia, this entertaining social history revisits the nostalgic past, but only to offer a refreshing message to women who lived through those years as well as those who are coming of age now. 8 pages of color, 45 black-and-white illustrations.

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Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Books titled How to Fascinate Men and How to Help Your Husband Get Ahead. Hope chests. Home economics courses at the college level. Ah, womanhood. Peril, founder of the zine Mystery Date, devoted to her obsession with old etiquette and self-help books, analyzes these and other marvels in her first book. "Pink think" is "a set of ideas and attitudes about what constitutes proper female behavior," she says, and it "assumes there is a standard of behavior to which all women... must aspire." In casual, friendly language, Peril who shares tales of her own childhood pink think rebellion charts the amusing yet sad history of how women have been conditioned with a set of rules that often begins with someone telling them little girls are made of "sugar and spice and everything nice." A pop culture history of achieving the feminine ideal, the book explores everything from childhood and adolescence to marriage and the workplace. Spurred on by the "Patron Saint of Pink Think," Jayne Mansfield, pink think infiltrated frighteningly numerous aspects of women's lives from the 1940s through the '70s and was often driven by advertisements pitching girls' versions of house-cleaning supplies and feminine hygiene products that counseled women to douche regularly in order to ensure a happy marriage. In an afterword, Peril expresses her dismay at the apparent preservation of pink think today (witness the success of 1995's The Rules and 2001's The Surrendered Wife). Although her book may leave some women thinking, "OK, we've ditched the maternity girdles so now what?" it's hilariously entertaining. B&w and color illus.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Lynn Peril is the founder and editor of the online 'zine Mystery Date. She lives in Oakland, California.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Even though a baby couldn't read and she might not like the opposite sex until some time after puberty (and maybe not even then), that didn't mean she couldn't start learning how to get a date while she was still in her crib. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
I read this book a few weeks ago and all I can say is WOW! I had no idea women were so stero-typed, (I'm in my early 20's, so I missed all that the book talks about). Lynn's writing style is great. She actually made cultural studies interesting! I have yet to see another history book like this. She is blunt, but very funny. It is a real page-turner, I read it in four days and enjoyed every minute. I think all girls from age 18 to 100 should read this book! I only have one request-where's BLUE THINK? That way we could all see both sides of the story. :-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars FABULOUS! June 12 2004
This book is fantastic. For anyone interested in gender studies, women's studies, or just 50's/60's culture, this book is just great. I had read Peril's column in Bitch magazine and decided to get her book. (the column is similar to this book) I couldn't believe all of the amazing and frightening tidbits of female life in the 50s... like Lysol being sold as a douching product?? And even more disturbing was the death toll from using Lysol in such a capacity. More upsetting still was the company's reaction to these women's deaths - the women had failed to properly dilute the product and, therfore, caused their own deaths. Most of the book is not so disturbing. In fact, most of it is really charming. The kind of stuff that makes you look at bullet bras, cardigans, saddle shoes, and other icons of 50s femininity and think "wow, I've got it pretty good." A great read if not for academic purposes then for simple head-shaking humor.
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5.0 out of 5 stars sad, and awesome June 11 2004
My mom makes a whole lot more sense to me now.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good read April 18 2004
By A Customer
although i've enjoyed this book, i did not find it as fascinating as some of the other reviewers. except the part about a product that was a douche/ enema/ mouthwash all-in-one: "three orifices, one product" and using lysol as a douche, there was nothing really new. nonetheless, a very good read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not Great March 15 2004
By A Customer
I was a little disappointed by this book. I found the subject matter really interesting, and Peril has done a good job gathering information from all kinds of sources. Peril puts very little of herself into the book, though. I would have liked to see a bit more theory or application. The early chapters indicate the blueprint that is to be followed throughout the rest of the book and there is very little development from then on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For the Pink Thinkers Among Us Feb. 26 2004
I love the color pink, don't get me wrong. However, after reading this book, I can't look at it quite the same! This book was an excellent read, which I picked up while doing a project on women's sexuality from the 1950's to today. This book is definitely an eye opener--for those of us who thought we knew--but really had no idea. I think everyone should read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pink think...I was impressed. Feb. 16 2004
I stumbled across Ms. Peril's website once, relieved that I am not the only person in the world who collects old home-ec and charm books :-) I got this out of the library, not expecting this book to be as exhaustive as it was, really thinking it might be more of a pictoral "poking fun of the kitschy 50's" type of book which I've seen now and then. However, I was delighted to find that Ms. Peril does a fantastic job exploring the mores of the past. Funny, scary, unbelievable. I would have to agree with another reviewer here, though, that present day "pink think" is only briefly touched upon. This is fine with me, because I look upon this as more of a historical perspective of the 20th century through the 70's. Nonetheless, I found it fascinating and hard to put down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Dec 15 2003
It is what I saw to be a modern "Feminine Mystique". A very insightful book on the media's effect on women and how impactful society affects females to the point that a color becomes a technique to manipulate women. As a high school student I found this book truly amazing and an awesome reading that I would recommend for everyone to read as we are constantly blinded by how detrimental society can be to women.
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