The Beigeification of Affect

Emma Barnes
2 min readJul 5, 2022


“Hey sis, d’ya think someone else might prefer us this way?”

It’s not just psych meds that make us beige on the inside. It’s all the feedback that we get about being “too much”. We censor our emotional expression as children (masking), and soon enough we cease fully feeling. We’re adults now and it’s been a long time since we had our full palettes.

By all means have a stretch but keep the colours on the DL. These pants are only $12.95 with with your purchase of the 4 week package from Yoga by Yani.

Sadness is not our only option

For me noticing all the colours inside me coincides with noticing all the colours around me. And noticing the ways I was personally beigeified, means noticing the ways we all are. Zooming out from the personal to the political, capitalism brings all of our sparkling diversity into the middle of the palette and washes it together. Greyification is capitalism’s normative project — the manufacture of conformity — from the police to the media to medicine, it’s all one big project to me. It’s grey.

a colour wheel with grey in the middle and text in the middle that reads “conform here”

And in a world of grey, beigeness is a colourful privilege.

When we say “neuronormative” i think of schools at the developmental end, media in the middle, and psychiatry, aged care facilities, and prisons at the carceral end. When we say “heteronormative” and “cis-normative”, I thnk of gender reveals, gendered toddler clothes, gendered names for infants at the developmental end, and legislature, cops, and psychiatric authority at the carceral end. There is so much in between.

Hey, doc, since I lost my health to long covid, my home to the rent crisis and community to their fragility, I’ve been crying in public and it’s gonna lose me my job. Can you make me stop feeling things?

The world is a child-care centre

Picture father Capitalism as the manager of a childcare facility. If the toys he’s provided the children (work, family, consumption) only pacify, say, 50% of them, what will you do with the remaining 50%? Shut them the fuck down. Psychiarists, cops, soldiers. So it’s no surprise to me that the characters in the clip above are feeling beige and forlorn. They are subs to an institution which aims to make creative dissenters feel that way.

Shrinks: No no, we just want to relieve people’s distress

Me: that’s what you want. Now examine what you’re obliged to do.



Emma Barnes

Autistic, trans, survivor, abolitionist @friedkrill on Twitstagram