Leave it up to Radiolab to ruin everything. In a blog post, Robert Krulwich pointed out something that’s old news to scientists. The color we know as pink is just a combo of two existing colors, red and violet, and as such does not actually exist on the rainbow. Bummer. he goes on:
I know, of course, that all colors are just waves of light, so every color we “see,” we see with our brains. But what this video says is that there is no such thing as a band of wavelengths that mix red and violet, and therefore, pink is not a real wavelength of light. That’s why pink is an invention. It’s not a name we give to something out there. Pink isn’t out there.
Melissa Locker at TIME, who originally pointed directed me to the debate, notes that this isn’t a done deal. All color may i fact be a figment of our brains. She quotes biologist Timothy Goldsmith:
Color is not actually a property of light or of objects that reflect light. It is a sensation that arises within the brain. Pink is real—or it is not—but it is just as real or not-real as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
Of course, that doesn’t prevent us from assigning meaning to colors as a matter of cultural practice. But perhaps this scientific reality should suggest a change of tactics for videogame marketers who’ve been chasing female gamers by simply summoning the color pink. Given the the complexity of all who play games, male or female, the nonexistence of a color is non-event when there are so many other ways to talk about games.