FRC 2881 The Lady Cans, a team from Austin, Texas, wear hats, and each member begins their hat with duct tape, scissors, and a hat of their choice. The first stripe of duct tape is always Safety Pink, which repeats after our green, blue, orange, and purple stripes (“PGBOP”)--similar to the pink polyester of our team shirts or the pink LEDs on our robots, but neither color exactly. We aren’t just one type of pink, though Safety Pink is the correct pink.
If you pass our pit during competition or visit our build space, we’ve got pink bow ties, batteries, and tool drawers. Our pink isn’t for girls, it’s for girl engineers and builders. The sexist, pink packaging, which our female stereotype is “supposed” to use, was pink because pink was for girls and everything else wasn’t. So we made our hats, tools, and robots pink, and therefore robotics was for girls, too.
In the early days of our team, we wore many shirt colors from blue to orange, but we were never able to stand out from the crowd. In 2014 we chose Safety Pink and we not only had a visual impact, but we also glowed. We begrudged pink before we loved it, disinclined to wear a color that didn’t want us building, programming, or getting our hands dirty. Pink was for girls, and we weren’t trying to make ourselves different from anyone else. Pink was the sexism of one girl engineer among teams of boys, but sexist pink wasn’t the only pink. 2014, we wore loud pink, feminist pink, neon pink, STEM pink, and Lady Can pink, reinventing the middle and high school girl into a girl who could be on a robotics team without rejecting their femininity and other female peers.
We were pink for good. Now, when new things are pink-less, we get another roll of duct tape and make the patriarchy a little pinker.
This blog was written by a member of FRC team 2881. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, click here to sign up on the schedule!
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