Kenyon College

Emily and Her Pink Things


JeongMee Yoon
(Korean, b. 1969)

Emily and Her Pink Things, 2005.
Light jet print.
30 x 30 inches.
Courtesy of Joe Baio Collection.

JeongMee Yoon’s ongoing Pink and Blue photography series depicts young children surrounded by the color-coded objects of their gendered realities. Yoon, a South Korean artist, explores the international spread of the expectation that girls must have pink and boys blue, an idea that only began in a post-World War II United States.

The sheer volume of objects combined with their careful, categorical display creates a multiplicity of roles for the blank-faced children; in one sense they are swallowed by mass consumption, becoming one more branded item in the contemporary globalized world. Or, perhaps they are the masters of their color-saturated domain; a triumph of a childhood urge to forge a social identity through the collection of coded objects.
The compositional tension between order and chaos echoes the dichotomy between natural and nurtured desires expressed in pink and blue. This question of choice reveals a glaring absence in the images. What influences and forces have we knowingly and unknowingly absorbed to allow these signifiers to become so pervasive? Who or what controls these colors and their consumption?

Schuyler Krogh ‘15