Color is assigned meaning by culture, context, and environment. So when did the color pink become synonymous for girl and overwhelmingly associated with delicacy and femininity? According to CNN, the color pink conjuring up images of Disney princesses and Barbie is a recent development. Below is a breakdown of the complicated and fascinating gender history of pink:
- In the 18th century, little boys and girls of upper classes as well as grown men and women wore pink and blue and other colors uniformly.
- A 1918 publication from the trade journal The Infants’ Department stated that the rule is pink for boys and blue for girls. Why? Because pink is a decidedly stronger color, therefore making it more suitable for a boy.
- The 1890s and early 20th century marked the beginning of manufacturers attempting to sell more children’s and infants’ clothes by color-coding them. For example, stores like Best & Co. in Manhattan branded pink as a boy’s color while others like Macy’s identified pink as a girl’s color.
- Zero unanimity amongst manufacturers led to the rise of the public thinking there was a distinction between blue and pink. And thus, pink officially became tied to the female gender.
Yet fast-forward to present day and one will find that history is repeating itself as researchers at Pantone found that the color pink is being adapted by more men than ever before. Pink is transcending the gendered box it was placed in, and people are enjoying it, wearing it, and giving it any meaning they see fit. As it should be.
To read more about the complicated gender history of pink, go to CNN.
Photo: Amy Velazquez via Unsplash