This color is literally put into the cradle of girls. It goes without saying that we associate pink with the female gender. But why actually? Why is pink a feminine color? There were times when pink was reserved for boys and girls wore light blue. Let’s find more about the transition.
Often one look into the stroller is enough to know the baby’s gender. Rompers, shoes, or even prams in pink demonstrate that it is a girl. Even later in life, pink remains the color of innocent, harmless femininity, while the more intense pink stands for more self-confident but just as unambiguous womanhood. What we take for granted today was exactly the opposite in the past. There were times when pink was considered a downright boy’s color, while little girls wore light blue.
It is a relatively new phenomenon that the gender of young children must be recognizable at first glance. In earlier eras, boys and girls wore white. That had little to do with childlike innocence but was mainly due to practical considerations. Children’s clothes were prone to stubborn stains and for centuries only undyed cotton could be cooked. Gender neutrality in clothing went so far that boys up to the age of six were happy to be dressed in long clothes which is still reflected in the christening gowns today.
White Dresses For Little Boys
Around the middle of the 19th century, technical progress made it possible to dye textiles inexpensively and permanently. Pastel tones became increasingly popular in baby clothing, pink and light blue emerged as the favorites. At least in the USA, however, between the world wars, it was a custom and an expression of good taste to dress a male baby in pink and a girl in light blue.
On closer inspection, this coloring makes sense. Pink is a toned-down red that stands for vitality and strength and could therefore be interpreted as more masculine. In contrast, blue is the color of Our Lady Mary in Christian iconography. However, the maritime blue, which is quite insensitive to dirt, increasingly prevailed as a men’s color. First sailor suits and later also the blue jeans occupied the color more and more as a masculine tone. In addition, it became popular at the beginning of the 20th century to dress little boys in sailor suits so that pink, inevitably was left for girls.
A First Lady Sets The Tone
In the 1940s, the color pattern that is still in use today was cemented. The cause was quite profane and capitalistic. Manufacturers and sellers of children’s clothing interpreted the preferences of their customers in the mass production of goods and thus helped to lower the scale in favor of pink for girls. It could have turned out the other way around but it was not.
In addition to Hollywood stars such as Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe, a president’s wife also played a part in the fact that pink became a symbol of femininity beyond the nursery. Mamie Eisenhower, the wife of President Dwight Eisenhower, loved this color and appeared at the inauguration ball in 1953 in a powder pink robe. It was precisely this shade that became one of the most popular colors of the 1950s as ‘First Lady Pink’.
The First Lady went so far in decorating the White House that it was nicknamed ‘The Pink Palace’ by staff and press. Even the bathrooms and headboards of the most powerful man in the world were pink. Many housewives emulated the first lady. The furnishing trend almost inevitably spread from Washington, DC around the world. Many US embassies decorated each bedroom pink to be prepared for a possible visit by the presidential couple.
From Barbie to Elsa – Why Is Pink A Feminine Color
Barbie then did the rest. After it was introduced in 1959, its box was held in ‘First Lady Pink’ and only later became the bright shade commonly used today.
From generation to generation the theory of gender colors appeared to be more and more natural. In the wild 60s and in the course of emancipation, pink temporarily got a bad reputation and was considered a symbol of the oppression and infantilization of women. But nobody can come up against the pink color, hardly any other color is so associated with a certain attribute.
The strong association between pink and light blue in particular allows the colors to be used symbolically. The blue dress of ‘Frozen’ princess Elsa in the Disney film not only goes with her ice palace, but the color also underlines the message that this princess is no longer a little girl. And pink is no longer a girl color. Now you knew why we pink associate as a feminine color.