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Finding empowerment in princesscore and the color pink

How can pink survive in a non-binary world? Very nicely, if you ask Megan Baffoe.

The 20-year-old Oxford student penned an essay recently for Dismantle Magazine about her love of princesscore — an ultra-feminine style that embraces the color pink.

The Show talked with Baffoe, who is part white, part Black African, as well as disabled, about the princesscore style and what it means to her.

Interview highlights

How would you describe your princesscore look?

I think it's fair to say at this point, my wardrobe is like 90-95% pink. Lots of tulle, lots of skirts. I have like one pair of jeans ... Lots of bows, ribbons. It's just very feminine, very frilly. Yeah, it just makes me very happy.

How did your love of pink come about?

I guess I always had kind of an instinct towards it. I mean, obviously little girls are kind of navigated towards pink, but in my case, I feel like there wasn't actually that much pressure. I just sort of naturally really loved it. And then I kind of fell out of it, I think a lot of girls do when I sort of got to like 12, 13. And then when I was 15, I had a seizure, and then I got diagnosed with epilepsy, and I was really sick. And at that point, I got very into fashion. And again, just naturally what attracted me was pink, the feminine runways ... And yeah, I guess at that point there wasn't much else we could do because I was in bed all the time, and I just started buying clothes, sort of watching runways. Now I'm 20, and it's a big part of my life.

Often little girls are pushed toward pink or supposed to be feminine in this way. But you talk about its intersection with race and how it's a little different when you're not white, and how your experience with things like Disney princesses was different growing up. Can you tell us about that?

Growing up in the 2000s — when I say I gravitated towards pink, it was characters like Princess Peach, Barbie, Elle Woods when I got a bit older. I remember when like "The Princess and the Frog" came out, and I was obviously elated because I was like, "Oh my God, it's a princess that looks like me." And then still, when I watched the film, I was most obsessed with Charlotte ... and her bedroom. It's like aggressively pink. Charlotte is blonde, like all the other characters ... As a child, I was always sort of like aspiring to be like women who [were] ... very much not like me. And  I was sick, so I didn't really have sort of the wider social context for why that was, but it was just sort of like a matter of pattern recognition. I could see I didn't fit in. And so I think it didn't quite feel like I was being pushed towards it. It almost felt like I shouldn't like it as much as I did. And for that reason, I feel like I don't have that quite tense relationship with pink that some women have where they feel like they were really pressured into liking Disney and pink and princesses and all of that.

How have you grappled with this as you've gotten older? Like how did you change pink into something that sounds very empowering?

Yeah. I guess, because when I looked back at when I was a child and I felt like almost like I was intruding on a space that wasn't for me. Now kind of like taking that and saying, "No, this is mine." It feels empowering. It feels nice. And I guess as ... as a student pink isn't necessarily what people wear to sort of be taken seriously. I kind of feel like it's kind of privileging my own desires over sort of social pressures. 

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.