Chromophobia - the Fear of Color
Oct 3
Here’s a new word for us – chromophobia. It means the fear of color. Did you already know this one? Not I! And did you also know there are people out there who study color – the history of color, color vis-à-vis colonialism, color and how it affects your mood. Who the heck knew? I once met a guy who sold enzymes for use in jam / jelly production – a totally random job that makes you think about all the careers out there. The study of color sounds more fun, which probably means it doesn’t pay as well as enzyme sales.

I think about color quite a bit, because I love color. Color expresses your personality, your individuality, and your mood, of course. And, according to this article on Apartment Therapy, color may have built in prejudices associated with it. For example, brightly colored cloth from India was used to pay African chiefs for men during the slave trade. How crappy / disgusting / amazing is that? That practice certainly influenced how people thought about color (and fabric, for that matter). Check out this interesting commentary:

“The German writer Goethe famously stated that "Men in a state of nature, uncivilized nations and children, have a great fondness for colors in their utmost brightness," whereas "people of refinement" avoid vivid colors (or what he called "pathological colors"). In short, a love of bright color marked one as uncivilized, as not possessing taste, as being "foreign" or other.”

Well, that sums it up nicely (and sounds like more prejudice). Those of us who wear orange, much less paint our houses orange, are uncivilized. This explains a lot. I am definitely uncivilized per this rationale. How about you?

The Apartment Therapy article has much more to say about color and white, with color representing the “otherness” of the world that we may be trying to keep out of our homes. White keeps the inside distinct from the chaos outside your home. Interesting take. In America (outside of planned communities), your right to be garish and tacky or afraid and sanitized, whichever is your preference, is your right. Thank goodness! And you can even say, Screw you! (fill in the blank) is my favorite look, and it doesn’t mean I’m (pick one: garish or fearful). And you know what – you’ll be right! Who knows you better than you do? Who gets to choose based on preference? You do!

Curious: are you focused on white walls or furniture or appliances? Does it calm you and keep the chaos out? Or, do you go for color - splashes, hints, or the whole orange enchilada? If you feel like experimenting, here is something to try. Paint a door some color you would not normally think of for a door. A door is a little space, but it has a lot of impact. This article suggests jazzing up the front door, but any room in your house will do. And remember, if you tend toward the garish (yours truly), this means you need to try a calm or quiet door. Are you up for the experiment? Do it – try something wild, or something calm - and see how it makes you feel. You can always paint over it.

Let's hear about your reactions - and your pals' reactions - to your color choices in the home. Really!

(P.S. Here's another how-to for painting the front door.)


There are no comments for this entry yet.

Leave a Comment