Colour Observation #004

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pink is for girls - Blue is for boys

At least in the West it is.

I remember my grandparents telling me that it used to be the other way around some time ago. I imagined that it must have been like that perhaps in the 1700s or 1800s, but apparently, it didn't reverse until after World War Two. Many others have a lot to say about the topic, so I will add no new words here and submit some quotes:

“At one point pink was considered more of a boy’s colour, (as a watered-down red, which is a fierce colour) and blue was more for girls. The associate of pink with bold, dramatic red clearly affected its use for boys. An American newspaper in 1914 advised mothers, “If you like the colour note on the little one’s garments, use pink for the boy and blue for the girl, if you are a follower of convention.” [The Sunday Sentinal, March 29, 1914.]

“There has been a great diversity of opinion on the subject, but the generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. The reason is that pink being a more decided and stronger colour is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” [Ladies Home Journal, June, 1918]

According to Jo B. Paoletti and Carol Kregloh, “The Children’s Department,” in Claudia Brush Kidwell and Valerie Steele, ed., Men and Women: Dressing the Part, (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989). - In the United States: “The current pink for girls and blue for boys wasn’t uniform until the 1950’s.1

So, are there male/female boy/girls colours in other cultures around the world?

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