Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson headed to jail last week resplendent in pink socks and pink underwear. The accessories are part of the prison uniform at Maricopa County Jail, where Tyson served a one-day sentence for a drug offense.
The pink pants began when county sheriff Joe Arpaio discovered that the prison underwear was being stolen and sold on the streets. Emblazoned with the words Maricopa County Jail, they had "tough-guy" traits. Arpaio believed that dyeing the underwear pink would discourage this, as pink is not seen to be a masculine color. The revelation that pink is also known to have a psychologically soothing effect led Arpaio to dye the prison's sheets, socks and towels.
The response to Tyson's outfit has largely been that it is the ultimate humiliation because pink is associated with girliness.
In western society, femininity's relationship with pink is a fairly recent development - for some time, blue was rather linked to femaleness, because the Virgin Mary was frequently shown wearing blue.
"Young girls were dressed in a toned-down version of that religious blue," explains Dr Veronika Koller, of Lancaster University, England, "and boys were dressed in pink - a toned-down version of red, which was associated with heat and masculinity."
The colors essentially swapped places after the first world war, "when blue became associated with military uniforms and men's work wear."
But could men be about to reclaim pink? Earlier this year, UK high street men's clothes retailer Moss Bros reported that pink is the fastest-growing color in shirt sales, while in Thailand, pink soared in popularity among men last month after King Bhumibol Adulyadej left a hospital wearing a pink shirt and blazer.
Cory: What are you wearing?
Ben: They're my sister's old pants, but she said either a boy or girl can wear them.
Cory: I don't think so. Those definitely look like chick pants to me.
Ben: Why are you always so critical of me?
Cory: I'm not trying to be critical. I'm just pointing out that you look like a wimp. It's better I tell you now than that you go to school looking like that.
A wimp is a person who is looked upon as being very weak. For example, "Thomas acts like a tough guy, but everybody thinks he's a wimp. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes."
Let's hope Tyson has held on to his underwear.(The GUARDIAN)