Pink Think: Becoming A Woman In Many Uneasy Lessons Paperback – Oct 29 2002
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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 a secretary and the author of Pink Think, College Girls, and Swimming in the Steno Pool. She lives in Oakland, California.
Top Customer Reviews
It's enraging and yet at the same time strangely intriguing to read about books, magazines, advertisements, games, television shows, movies and more were so often geared toward steering a woman to be a certain way.
Strange details include how women were encouraged to be 'fresh' from douching with disinfectants to childhood games where the goal was to get the perfect date to how a woman only achieves true sexual satisfaction after she had fulfilled her destiny of marrying and having children. On top of that it details how girls were encouraged to always dumb themselves down in front of men to flatter their egos, and the author even provides quizzes published decades ago in magazines to test girlishness or career woman potential.
Any modern independent woman will be both shocked, amused, angered and more than likely grateful that so much progress has been made (even though we're still encouraged in many ways to continue to 'think pink'). Just open up a woman's magazine and see the advertisements for pink feminine hygiene products and diet aids, among a million other self-improvement articles. It's great to see a book like 'Pink Think,' however, to realize how far we've come along.
Peril reviews highlights of advertisements and home ec propaganda from mid-century america, when gender roles were apparently our patriotic god-fearing duty to obey. Along with illustrations and reprints of such epherma, we get her commentary, which isn't as obnoxiously judgemental as it could be- instead she is just amused and continuously dumbfounded at the ploys used to develop brand loyalty from age 3 on, instill a pride in fragile, meek femininity (strapping robust heterosexuality in the males), and exploit adolescent anxiety in order to do so.
Open any womens magazine from the era and you will find page after page of ads for deoderant and listerine- all with the same message that failure to use their products might ruin your chances at MARRAIGE, the be all end all, apparently, of female life in the mid 1900s.
Lynn Peril collects and organizes the best of these ads and textbooks for you. It is up to you to make any conjectures about what they imply past and present about their place in politics and commerce in America.
The 8 color pages in the center could be put to better use, such as putting more pictures on each page, but that's really just a minor detail.
But "Pink Think" is little more than the sum of its parts. Its historical treatment of pink think is brief, and it barely even touches on present-day pink consumerism. The book also makes no attempt to analyze its subject matter, instead restricting itself to what amounts to a detailed list, and while the entire book is interesting, it's hard to find an impetus to continue beyond the first few chapters.
I would like to point out one thing, however, something which the author herself addressed: things haven't changed. In my opinion the only thing that has clearly changed dramatically are women's career opportunities, but we are still expected to keep a happy, clean home, raise children, and keep hubby sexually satisfied. While reading this book with the TV on, I was struck by the similarity between today's ads and those presented in Pink Think (cleaning products - nuff said.) Rather than coming away from this book thinking that you have it so much better than your baby-boomer mother did, allow it to open your eyes to the hilarious propoganda in the present.
I can't wait to see a book from the same author chronicling current magazine ads, dating advice books, and TV commercials.
Most recent customer reviews
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). Read morePublished on June 18 2004
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:... Read morePublished on April 18 2004
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. Read morePublished on March 15 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! Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2004 by J. McGuire
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... Read morePublished on Feb. 16 2004 by Fanshawe
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... Read morePublished on Dec 14 2003 by Jennifer M.
This book is a true gem! It's rare to find a book that tackles such subject matter without hitting you over the head with a heavy dose of feminism. Read morePublished on July 5 2003 by ugagirl
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