Stranger Things has become a worldwide phenomenon since its release on Netflix in 2016. Viewers have become deeply invested in the characters, especially the mysterious girl known as Eleven. Played by Millie Bobby Brown, Eleven is a fan favorite due to her extraordinary powers and tragic backstory. One of the most iconic parts of Eleven’s character is her affinity for the color pink.
The History of Pink and Eleven
Throughout the show, the color pink is strongly associated with Eleven. This dates back to her time at Hawkins Lab, where she was forced to stay in a small pink room whenever she wasn’t being experimented on. This room was her only sense of home and normalcy during her traumatic childhood. As such, the color pink became a source of comfort and safety for Eleven.
We see this demonstrated when Eleven escapes from the lab and breaks into Benny’s diner in season 1. She steals a pink dress to change into, gravitating toward the familiar color. The pink dress also symbolizes Eleven attempting to embrace her newfound freedom and explore her identity beyond being a lab experiment.
Later, when Eleven is taken in by Chief Hopper, she decorates her bedroom/hideout in his cabin with as much pink as she can. This includes pink curtains, bedspread, lamp, and wall decorations. After being deprived of any control or choices for most of her life, Eleven finally has agency in surrounding herself with her favorite color.
The Meaning Behind the Color Pink
The color pink is often associated with femininity, innocence, and youth. This reflects Eleven’s state of being – she was robbed of a normal childhood and forced to use her powers as a weapon rather than getting to develop her own identity. The pink aesthetic shows Eleven embracing her femininity and finding joy in simple, sweet things she was denied before.
Pink is also connected to self-worth and gentle emotions like love, warmth, and nurturing. As Eleven finds people who care about her like Mike, Joyce, and Hopper, the color reinforces the message that she is worthy of love. After spending years being treated as a disposable experiment, Eleven rediscovers her humanity through the healing power of pink.
On a metaphorical level, the vivid pink contrasts with the cold, clinical environment of Hawkins Lab where Eleven was raised. It represents the lightness, tenderness, and warmth she discovers in the outside world and through relationships. Where the lab was devoid of life and color, pink is vibrant and full of possibility.
The Use of Pink in Key Scenes
Some of the most pivotal scenes for Eleven feature the color pink, showing how it represents comfort, self-discovery, and love.
- In season 1, Eleven is drawn to a blonde pink wig while the boys search for disguises so she can sneak into school. The wig allows her to imagine who she might be if she had a normal life and identity.
- When Hopper lets Eleven go to the Snow Ball school dance, she wears a beautiful pink dress with pink bows in her hair. This symbolizes Eleven finally getting to have an ordinary fun childhood experience.
- In an emotional scene in season 2, Eleven finds a box of mementoes including a pink dress that belonged to her mother. The pink dress represents the bond with the mother she never knew.
- In season 3, Eleven is confident enough to express her identity through punk style, but keeps her iconic pink jacket. She also wears a pink scrunchie made by Max, showing she maintains her childhood self.
No matter how Eleven evolves and matures, pink remains a constant in her story, reflecting her resilience, heart, and inner light.
The Significance of Pink in 1980s Pop Culture
It is also important to note the significance of the color pink in 1980s pop culture, which is when Stranger Things is set. The ’80s marked a time when the color pink started to be reclaimed and viewed as empowering for young women after being associated with strict gender roles in the past. People like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper popularized pink in edgy styles that gave girl culture a bold new attitude.
Millie Bobby Brown has specifically cited Madonna as inspiration for Eleven’s season 3 style evolution. Like Material Girl fashion, Eleven mixing pink with punk elements shows her owning her femininity while determining her own identity and power. The pink conveys she is not limited by typical conventions of how girls “should” look or act.
The Princess phone craze of the 1980s also featured every teen girl coveting a pink phone for their bedroom. Eleven having her own pink phone in her room despite being confined reflects this cultural trend towards pink as the ultimate feminine status symbol and mode of self-expression.
Pink as Eleven’s Superpower Color
Aside from her personal connection to pink, the color also seems to be linked to Eleven’s telekinetic abilities. Her powers are visually represented by pink when she accesses the void or moves objects with her mind. The pink light radiates from her eyes or as energy flowing from her body.
Some key moments where pink signifies Eleven utilizing her powers:
- Using telekinesis to slam a door shut on the orderlies trying to apprehend her at the lab.
- Destroying the Demogorgon by disintegrating it with a huge burst of pink psychic energy.
- Levitating toy figurines with a pink glow around them when she visits the void.
This suggests a strong link between the color pink and the source of Eleven’s abilities. The soft, bright pink radiance contrasts with the violence of what she can do with her mind, reflecting the complexity of her powers being both miraculous and destructive.
The Future of Pink and Eleven
Going into the fifth and final season of Stranger Things, pink will likely continue to be an important part of Eleven’s character. She has evolved from the buzz-cut girl in a pink dress but retains a soft spot for the color. It connects Eleven to the parts of herself she has reclaimed – innocence, empathy, inner strength.
As Eleven’s journey concludes and she discovers who she is beyond her powers, pink represents hope – the hope of embracing the ordinary joys of girlhood like friendship, love, and self-expression. Regardless of how dark the battles against the Upside Down get, the vibrancy of pink conveys Eleven’s light within.
|Wearing a pink dress at Benny’s diner in season 1
|Seeking comfort and familiarity after escaping from the lab
|Pink bedroom in Hopper’s cabin
|Having control to surround herself with her favorite color
|Pink wig shopping disguise in season 1
|Imagining a normal identity and life
|Pink dress at the Snow Ball dance
|Experiencing an ordinary coming-of-age milestone
|Punk style with pink jacket in season 3
|Blending femininity and defiance in ‘80s girl power fashion
As we’ve explored, the color pink holds great symbolic meaning in Eleven’s character arc and journey of self-discovery throughout Stranger Things. It represents comfort, healing, femininity, and power. Eleven’s affinity for pink provides insight into her resilience and humanity. As the final season approaches, pink will continue to be the shade that reflects Eleven’s true self – both within and beyond her role as a superpowered heroine.