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Pinky Blue
January 8, 2009 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Pink is still the colour where little girls are concerned, no matter where they grow up - some think propensity for pink is hardwired into girls. For a stark depiction of how many pink things a five-year-old could possibly own, a Korean photographer photographed boys and girls with their possessions arranged according to colour.
posted by mippy (116 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
FABULOUS!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:34 AM on January 8, 2009 [9 favorites]


See also: a recent Straight Dope on the subject.
posted by JoanArkham at 7:39 AM on January 8, 2009


Somehow the recent Straight Dope article on this was missed in the post!

Odd how it's such a recent invention
posted by inthe80s at 7:40 AM on January 8, 2009


The photos have been linked previously. See also. The "empathizer" part in the Time article is so so weak. The Berry theory is kind of lame too.
posted by cashman at 7:41 AM on January 8, 2009


I'd like to see that study done with children.

That said, my one girl (and only my one girl) is also passionate about pink, purple, violet and raspberry (in a constantly shifting order). Her twin brother, also 3.5 years old and like his brothers, rarely mentions color. In fact, now that I think about it, her older brother who loves doing arts and crafts *also* rarely mentions color but mentions texture quite a bit. Huh. (This anecdote is data.)
posted by DU at 7:41 AM on January 8, 2009


Pink is still the colour where little girls are concerned, no matter where they grow up - some think propensity for pink is hardwired into girls.

A far more likely explanation is that "everyone assumes that girls are going to prefer pink, so they go ahead and just make it pink -- and so that's the only color girls' stuff comes in anyway".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:42 AM on January 8, 2009 [25 favorites]


Thanks for the straight dope article. I think the study they refer to is the one in the Time article - "A color preference study of Caucasian and Chinese men and women showed both Caucasian and Chinese women strongly preferred red and pink, while Caucasian men strongly preferred blue and green. However, the Chinese men showed a broader range, with many picking red and pink — possibly because in China red is considered lucky. To me that suggests the biology argument is pretty weak."
posted by cashman at 7:45 AM on January 8, 2009


Tangentially: have they ever done a study that proves children prefer bright, heavily saturated colors? Or do we just use them out of habit?
posted by Joe Beese at 7:46 AM on January 8, 2009


A Pink story: Yesterday an 8-year-old girl came over. Her big brother and my son are friends and classmates. It was the first time she'd been over since the holidays. My son had proudly bought walking canes and glitter paint at the dollar store as gifts for the two of them. (They had all vied for use of one such cane found in the park across the street--a game called "Old Grumpy Grandpa" which involves wielding said cane and crying, crotchety-like, "Get off my lawn!" etc.) Anyway, friend Ella, armed with not only the glitter paints, but all my other paints and brushes, set to work. At this point I should say, this girl is a rough and tumble customer, active and inquisitive, quirky beyond quirky, and in no way a fluffball. Spends a lot of time on the trampoline and playing with the dogs. What did she do to decorate her cane?
Every shade of--PINK!! (But you already knew that.)

P.S. My favorite colors are green and brown, but it was not ever thus. Seasons change.
posted by emhutchinson at 7:46 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tangentially: have they ever done a study that proves children prefer bright, heavily saturated colors? Or do we just use them out of habit?

I have read that with babies, the higher-contrast, vivid colors are what their eyes best respond to as they develop.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:49 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


And then there's my (girly) wife, who hates pink in all its variations and my (quite boyish) son, whose favorite colors have been pink and yellow.

Biology, my eye. People need to get over their cultural biases.
posted by grubi at 7:52 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Elvis used to dress in pink and black so often that they were sort of considered his signature colors.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:58 AM on January 8, 2009


Do girls like these?
posted by netbros at 8:04 AM on January 8, 2009


Korea's got a lot of catching up to do... it seems the girls' pink is drifting into purple pastels. I was at a 3-year old girl's birthday party last month and, god, it was just neverending tons of purple Disney princess stuff.

And I don't think this is anything to do with X kids liking X color... it's all about what the manufacturers are creating and putting on the shelves. I think a lot of marketing and design people are perpetuating whatever bias is going on.
posted by crapmatic at 8:08 AM on January 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


The fact that manufacturers only make pink clothes a lot of the time has me shopping in the boys section of baby clothes stores more often than not.
posted by gaspode at 8:11 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agree that these color choices are a social construct. To me, it's almost like saying that women are hard-wired to prefer diamonds. It's something that's been pushed so hard culturally for a few generations that folks just start to think (or want to think) that it's "natural".

And the Pink & Blue picture project only enhances the social construct of it all. What child do you know has a hand in purchasing most things they own? Almost everything my 4-yr-old niece owns was a gift. There are very few things she owns that she independently picked out without influence of an adult.
posted by anthropoid at 8:11 AM on January 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


Do girls like these? - posted by netbros

It's adorable!
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 8:12 AM on January 8, 2009


Pink used to be a power color for men, apparently, which is why the Ohio state capitol building has pink interior walls. Or so I was told by an Ohioan at the time.

Also,

MIPPY!
posted by pineapple at 8:13 AM on January 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


1. Girls like girl toys.
2. 99.99999% of girl toys come in pink

There's your data. Ta da!

Also, here's a typical kid scenario:

Girl goes into school with a blue backpack with a rocket ship on it. Another girl comes up with pink backpack with rainbows, feathers, and sparkly things attached to it, says to first girl "Why are you wearing a boy's backpack??" in a voice dripping with 9-year old scorn. First girl begs mom that very night to buy her a pink backpack, please please please.

Oh; and 100+ years or so ago, blue was considered a "weak" color suitable for girls. Pink, being derived from red, was considered more "manly" and suitable for boys.

But yeah, pink-loving is innate! SCIENCE WINS AGAIN.
posted by emjaybee at 8:14 AM on January 8, 2009 [9 favorites]


Among the 5-7 year olds of my acquaintance there seems to be a definite pink backlash, which is great on the one hand, but causes massive headaches (for me, anyway) when trying to help the girls get dressed in the morning, because the closet has no idea that the child has repudiated pink.
posted by padraigin at 8:16 AM on January 8, 2009


Most boys do seem pretty agnostic on the color issue until they reach that age when suddenly every boy's favorite color becomes "porn."
posted by The Straightener at 8:16 AM on January 8, 2009 [8 favorites]


Seems to me that children's TV shows - movies - advertisements are geared towards prospective toy owners, not just their parents. Little consumers probably get more excited about the stuff being marketed to them than its color, per se. Kermit the Frog made a big impression on me and green has been my favorite color since childhood. Favorite animal? Frog. In the growing-up-gendered debate, my pet peeve is the assertion that "Boys tend to resist reading stories about girls, whereas girls do not tend to resist reading stories about boys" (from the International Reading Association).
posted by woodway at 8:16 AM on January 8, 2009


have they ever done a study that proves children prefer bright, heavily saturated colors?

I have a new baby, on whom I perform Science.

He absolutely prefers high-contrast imagery, geometric patterns, and architectural details (a good bannister, wall sconce, or railing can keep him entertained for... minutes! Which is like days in baby time!) but so far has exhibited no apparent preference for one color over another. I will say however that the one and only time he has responded to anything on the television was when one of his cousins watched an episode of SpongeBob; this was riveting. Whether this is due to the bright colors (the equally vivid commercials were completely ignored) or the squeaky voices (which are unquestionably a baby-attractant) is unclear.

Further study, and possibly grant money, is required.
posted by ook at 8:17 AM on January 8, 2009 [10 favorites]


A far more likely explanation is...

What is this "likelihood" based on? The utter identicality of men and women in all other respects, both physical and psychological? If only there were a way to distinguish between the two theories!

Ling says that she and her colleagues plan to expand their research in future studies to other cultures — not only British and Chinese — and age groups, including infants, to further test the nature-versus-nurture concept.

Aha!
posted by DU at 8:17 AM on January 8, 2009


Biology, my eye. People need to get over their cultural biases.

Translation: Yesterday was cold. So much for global warming!

The anti-science in this thread is disgusting and alarming.
posted by DU at 8:19 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


If I ever start a jazz band, it's gonna be called 'ShameSpiral and His Blue Things'. If I ever become a transsexual pornstar, my greatest film will be called 'ShameSpiral and Her Pink Things'.
posted by ShameSpiral at 8:19 AM on January 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


yet more proof that i am not actually a girl.
posted by RedEmma at 8:26 AM on January 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


My 1-year old can sit still through an entire Simpsons episode, so I guess that her favourite colour is yellow.
posted by elgilito at 8:26 AM on January 8, 2009


Elvis used to dress in pink and black so often that they were sort of considered his signature colors.

So he was a hipster?
posted by dunkadunc at 8:31 AM on January 8, 2009


The anti-science in this thread is disgusting and alarming.

I know, like assuming that a preference for pink is inborn, amirite?

But seriously -- DU, am I to assume you do actually think a preference for pink is an inborn trait? Can you point to scientific proof of this that counters the cultural pressures?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:33 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Conclusion: regardless of gender, kids these days sure have a shitload of things.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:37 AM on January 8, 2009 [9 favorites]


Most boys do seem pretty agnostic on the color issue

I don't think I had a favourite colour when I was a child until adults started asking me what my favourite colour was.
posted by minifigs at 8:39 AM on January 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


When asked a few years ago, a a four year old girl I know said her favorite colors were:

"pink and purple and orange and blue and . . . sparkle."

It still strikes me as an eminently sensible answer.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:43 AM on January 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


* sorry to be unclear: she was four at the time, a few years ago.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:43 AM on January 8, 2009


Two more thoughts from this anthropologist:

Why are people so obsessed with positing (patently nearly impossible) naturalistic bases for such obviously cultural phenomena as color/gender associations (or, as in a recent thread, the intrinsic value of gold as currency)?

And how on earth is comparing the views of modern Chinese and modern Americans anything even approaching a systematic cross-cultural inquiry? The pink shit foisted on American girls is *made* in China. I'm sure plenty of it is also *sold* in China.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:48 AM on January 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


This is clearly propaganda from the International Consortium of Undercooked Meat. Also those photos are pretty great.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 8:49 AM on January 8, 2009


I'm sitting here thinking about how much my favourite colours have changed over the years. I think my first favourite colours were pink and purple. At 13 I loved red so much I wore head to toe red (dress, stockings and shoes) at my eighth grade graduation, while the other girls were all in pink or blue. At 16 I liked burgundy. At 20 I was back to red again, and at 25 I probably liked blue best, and a few years later it had morphed into turquoise. (I would have been Turquoise Swan, but it doesn't sound as well as Orange Swan.) At 35 my favourite colour is still probably turquoise, though I also love orange, apricot, peach, warm reds, spring and olive greens, cream, and brown. I'm trying to figure out why I liked the colours I did, and why my favourite colour kept changing, and can only suggest that I was going with whatever colours that I considered looked best on me.

So many factors can affect one's likes and dislikes in colour. One of my nieces, Peaches Swan, says orange is her favourite colour and claims to hate pink, and it's pretty obvious that she feels that way because her older sister is crazy for pink and subjected us all to a pink wedding nearly three years ago. (I teased my pink-loving niece that I was going to show up at her tasteful pink wedding in a vivid orange strapless dress, and she'd valiantly try to suppress any Bridezilla-type reaction. In the end, I wore spring green.) But also Peaches, being a definite "autumn", is perhaps instinctively choosing the colour that becomes her and avoiding the one that doesn't.
posted by orange swan at 8:54 AM on January 8, 2009


While the pictures with kids and their things is interesting, I'm going with the notion of confirmation bias and post hoc fallacy (kids have a lot of pink or blue, so they must like that color!). But little kids don't buy things, adults do. And when everything girly comes in shades of pink, you get a girls room full of pink by default. Behold, she likes pink things!

Once they grow up enough to be swayed by peers and their role models, there is another source for color-preference reinforcement (though Hannah does wear purple and black, so she's not completely a pink menace).

All these examples are from my US-based perspective, and I'd like to think kids hit their teens and grow beyond basic colors, but color is a brand for some.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:55 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Somehow the recent Straight Dope article on this was missed in the post!

I didn't know of this site -t hanks.
posted by mippy at 8:55 AM on January 8, 2009


As a kid, I was more like this girl. It's all about yellow.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:59 AM on January 8, 2009



1. Girls like girl toys.
2. 99.99999% of girl toys come in pink


I'm waiting for pink toy guns and pink dumptrucks. That'll annoy the hell out of most sociologists I'm sure.



(This anecdote is data.)

Only if you repeat it...loudly.
posted by Sova at 9:00 AM on January 8, 2009


And when everything girly comes in shades of pink, you get a girls room full of pink by default. Behold, she likes pink things!

I agree with the points above that it's manufacturers, then the people who buy things for girls that create rooms like that. I grew up in a yellow room with a striped carpet, and my favourite dress was green. I wasn't a Barbie fan either. Now I'm an adult and have been shopping for men's clothing, I'm quite glad that I'm from a gender that gets bright red coats and blue jumpers and colours that aren't navy, tan, oxblood or black for shoes. (Well, when I find women's shoes that fit me...)

From the BBC comments:
I'm sorry but girls liking pink is genetic. My niece loved the colour pretty much from birth and by no means had it been forced upon her. Little girls are girly, genetically, they are hard-wired to be so. End of story.
Sam


There might be genetic colour biases in nature but there is absolutely no reason why human females would prefer pink and human males blue.
posted by mippy at 9:02 AM on January 8, 2009


PhoBWanKenobi: As a kid, I was more like this girl. It's all about yellow.

Hmm, kid needs to see a therapist about their inappropriate crush on SpongeBob SquarePants.

And also, the picture's caption from the website:

The Color Project - Lola and His Yellow Things

What? This just makes the color/gender relation even more myterious. Like pink for girls, blue for boys, and yellow for trans kids?
posted by Sova at 9:08 AM on January 8, 2009


(I'm a girl) My favorite color is purple. I don't really care much for pink (i don't hate it, but i don't like it any more than say, brown). My favorite color has been purple ever since I can remember. The second-favorite spot has evolved through the years, it's currently green, but for some reason I'm just drawn to purple (all shades). My dad's favorite color is also purple-- specifically light shades, like lavendar. When he was a teenager, and got to paint his room a color of his choosing for the first time, it was lavendar. He's perfectly straight, I guess he just didn't get the memo that he's supposed to like blue. (which is my Mom's favorite color, actually.... maybe my family's just screwy.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 9:09 AM on January 8, 2009


What? This just makes the color/gender relation even more myterious. Like pink for girls, blue for boys, and yellow for trans kids?

Oops, you're right. Guess I was like that boy, then.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:11 AM on January 8, 2009


As a woman I personally want to destroy, chew and spit on all pink cell phones specially 'manufactured' for women. Because look, it's annoying enough when girls are little and all their clothes, toys, candies, supplies and bears are pink, but past 20 years old that's some FUCKED UP MARKETING SHIT.

And I'd bet it's not the demand that drives the market, but the market creating the demand. Fuck off with your patronizing pink shades.

/ rant
posted by Sijeka at 9:14 AM on January 8, 2009 [9 favorites]


I don't think I had a favourite colour when I was a child until adults started asking me what my favourite colour was.

Likewise. I recall asking my parents what theirs were so I could triangulate on what an appropriate response might be. My mom dug green, my dad had no preference. I went for blue because it seemed generic. From the time as a child I had any say in my own clothing until maybe age 35, I wore nothing but blue and gray and black.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:16 AM on January 8, 2009


Anecdote: I had some pink toys as a kid (and a firetruck, and GI Joe stuff), but I never sought out pink. I always liked blues, greens and violets (black when I hit my teens), but for the past few years, I've been all about orange.

Anecdote: I recently spent an evening with three little girls under 3 years old, all dressed head to toe in pink, with their families swearing that they wanted, nay DEMANDED pink everything.

SCIENCE!! I'm not convinced that there's a tendency, independent of culture, for girls to prefer pink, but I don't think it's impossible either. Sure, there is a history of pink being considered a more masculine colour than blue, but did little girls used to seek out pink anyway? But I'm still waiting for better evidence than what Time or Cecil has shown us.
posted by maudlin at 9:23 AM on January 8, 2009


I personally want to destroy, chew and spit on all pink cell phones specially 'manufactured' for women.

My pet peeve is the plethora of pastel pink sports jerseys, baseball caps, etc. They seem to say, "So I know guys like girls who are into sports but if I look like I'm too into sports I'll kinda look like one of the guys and not a girl, so like I guess I'll wear pink."
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:34 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know what else is hardwired? Guns and boys. With my son, from a very young age, every long skinny object was a gun. This is in a very anti-gun house with very little TV exposure, and no big brothers. It was fascinating to watch.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:34 AM on January 8, 2009


How does the fact that colour-blindness is ten times more common in males enter into these preferences?
posted by binturong at 9:39 AM on January 8, 2009


Never liked pink.
posted by flipyourwig at 9:39 AM on January 8, 2009


When my daughter was born eight years ago I told everyone that under no circumstances were they to get her pink stuff(I was a tomboy). I bought a lot of her baby clothes from the boys department because they were no gender neutral girl clothes but plenty in the boys section. I wasn't able to avoid pink all the time but we did for the most part. We do buy barbies and polly pockets but we buy the spongebob barbie and the polly pocket with a green car. It is possible to buy girlie stuff without the girlie colors. I think I did pretty well; my kiddos favorite color is blue.

I have to agree with everyone here saying girls tend to like pink not because it's hardwired in the brain but because most of the toys and clothes come that way. And Yuck! I wish it wasn't so.
posted by shmurley at 9:50 AM on January 8, 2009


My pet peeve is the plethora of pastel pink sports jerseys, baseball caps, etc.

I think that caps and jerseys in any color besides the actual team colors are an abomination. Those of you in pink Mets caps will be the first called to the mat when the revolution comes.
posted by jonmc at 9:54 AM on January 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


This little girl quite clearly owns a bikini. But then, she also has some hybrid sheep/dog costume which, as far as sexualization of little girls goes, I find slightly more disconcerting.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 9:56 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh; and 100+ years or so ago, blue was considered a "weak" color suitable for girls. Pink, being derived from red, was considered more "manly" and suitable for boys.

I don't necessarily doubt this, emjaybee, but can you support this statement? I'd be fascinated to see some material(s) that points this out.
posted by maxwelton at 9:57 AM on January 8, 2009


And I'd bet it's not the demand that drives the market, but the market creating the demand.

That makes no sense. What smart company would make things people don't want to buy for their own purposes? Here's a hint: they don't. People buy pink things. That's why companies make them.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:59 AM on January 8, 2009 [3 favorites]



My pet peeve is the plethora of pastel pink sports jerseys, baseball caps, etc. They seem to say, "So I know guys like girls who are into sports but if I look like I'm too into sports I'll kinda look like one of the guys and not a girl, so like I guess I'll wear pink."


Me too. I had to buy a kid's Brooklyn Cyclones t-shirt a couple of years ago because there was not a single woman's shirt in the team colors. Every single one was pink. Blech.
posted by gaspode at 10:00 AM on January 8, 2009


I'm offended by the fact that girls like pink.
posted by Zambrano at 10:04 AM on January 8, 2009


God, where are the historians of science when stupid, shallow, gender studies with conclusions that seem to assuage our current cultural anxieties come calling? This crap is sooo tiresome. The only thing "anti-science" are the deeply embedded assumptions of the study designers leading to poor design and thinly supported conclusions.

That aside, pink amuses me for this reason. I have been considering trying to write a book about the color pink. It is probably the single most culturally charged color for Westerners. I think about how strong the pressure was to like pink when I was a little girl - so much so that I basically thought I was required to like pink, regardless of the fact that I didn't, and was takin a social risk any time I expressed a preference for another color or "got stuck" with the "wrong" color toy from a grab bag or something. For a time I had a pink-gingham canopy bed and matching curtains, which I felt was testament to my undeniable femininity. Then came the strong rebellion, black-t-shirt phase that set in about when I was 13 - I covered the bedspread of the pink canopy with an unzipped sleeping bag in a bright red hunting print, and when my whole pink assembly burned in a house fire, replaced it with sand-beige walls and earth tones and neutrals. I hated pink and everyone had to know it - pink-hating becomes as much a social stage and statement for girls as pink-loving, at times, is.

As an adult, I got re-fascinated with pink as a social phenomenon. In the 80s, the pink tie or pink business shirt for men was an ultimate statement of alpha-dog masculinity, and Miami Vice, prep, and California-sporty-skater-surfer-style clothing was enthusiastically embraced as a cool look for guys. The Pink Ladies weren't actually very ladylike. Men's formal wear has appeared in pink for a long time. Pink went punk, and you often saw a pierced and leather-clad woman with a pink mohawk or asymmetrical hairstyle. The same was true in pop - pink was used in untamed, big-hair, angry-sexy presentations by both sexes. Cyndi Lauper draped herself in it ironically. Pretty in Pink, Pink Floyd, Pink Cadillac. The Pink Panther. Christo. The pink triangle became a ubiquitous symbol of support for the LGBT community. I read a story by Linda Greenlaw, the swordboat captain who was portrayed in a little cameo in The Perfect Storm, about how she always painted her bouys pink when she was lobstering, because most lobstermen were male and, even if they wanted to poach, they wouldn't touch a pink bouy. I've seen school-age boys tell one another with utter seriousness that wearing pink, choosing something pink, or eating something pink - even an M&M or piece of birthday cake - meant they were gay. [gasp.]

It's pretty interesting has this one color has come to bear so much of our preconceptions, guilt, shame, and anxiety over gender roles. Obviously there have been times when pink was much less strongly associated with femininity than it is today - we seem to be at a pink peak - and times when it was more associated with maleness, boldness, homosexuality, etc. These days I enjoy sort of 'reclaiming' pink - I don't see why I should hate a color just because people use it to enforce rigid gender stereotypes. It's just a color. So I kind of queer it whenever I can - like, when I was working on square-riggers and harry to carry a 6" knife and marlinespike on a leather sheath on my belt, I made the lanyard out of pink sparkle string. Today, everything pink is all breast cancer, all the time. You can get anything in pink as part of the cause marketing - kitchen implements, garden tools, water bottles, whatever. Breast cancer currently owns pink. Along with 'princess.'

The whole pink thing is interesting. It's clear to me that right now western culture, broadly speaking, might like to believe that women have an innate preference for pink - but since it hasn't been the least consistent over time or across culture, there's no reason to accept it as fact. Especially since the study itself asserts that all people seem to prefer blue more than anything. This is yet another fun-with-EP finding that really tells us more about what people with money and a desire for a fun press release think worthy of scientific inquiry, and about what we have been culturally training into people for a long time from a very young age, than about anything innate.
posted by Miko at 10:08 AM on January 8, 2009 [16 favorites]


This reminds me of the kindergarten kid who drew everything in black.

He would draw black houses, black trees, black animals, black rainbows. Everything. In black. Naturally the teacher was alarmed by this, so she called in the parents, the principal, the school psychologist, and the parents for a conference. They went over everything; possible emotional traumas, any parenting lapses, neurological or vision problems , possible incipent psychosis, and they couldn't come to a conclusion. Finally, in desperation, the teacher asked the child why he always drew everything in black.

He said, "I only have a black crayon".


Thank you everybody, I'll be here all week!
posted by happyroach at 10:09 AM on January 8, 2009


Maxwelton, I don't have the book with me, but it's from a history of costume book I picked up at a dollar sale, written in the 80s. A fairly academic one, so there probably is a cite, but this thread will have moved on by the time I go find it. I can tell you that "Alice Blue Gown" was a hit song in 1919, which is one of the instances of girls=blue cited in that book.

Aha, here's a Straight Dope article (which I think was linked above) with some references.

You know what else is hardwired? Guns and boys. With my son, from a very young age, every long skinny object was a gun. This is in a very anti-gun house with very little TV exposure, and no big brothers. It was fascinating to watch.

Really? So when did guns become hardwired, because they weren't invented until the 1600s or so? Or were boys "hardwired" for clubs and swords prior to that? And rocks prior to that?

You might make the case that boys are more likely to hit things with other things in an attempt to cause harm, but then, I've been in girl fights that were pretty vicious.

You had no TV; did your son play with any other boys? Because at least one of them probably showed him how to point something long and skinny and go "pew pew!" And if your son is like mine, anything an older boy does is automatically cool. Weapons are ingrained in boy play in lots of ways; soldiers, action figures, hero figures (cowboys, knights) because of centuries of cultural role-modeling. There are practically no girl toys/games/role models that feature weapons; if there were, I'm pretty sure we'd see girls exhibiting the same behavior.
posted by emjaybee at 10:13 AM on January 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


My favourite colour was always yellow, because it was the colour of that feeling you get in the winter when you're walking in the shade and you're cold and then you come into the sun and it's all warm on your back through your coat. This impression comes circa 1978 (when I was 4).

I still like yellow, but lately I've been drawn to green.

After years (teens, 20s) of loathing pink, I now enjoy playing with the pink stereotype. I have a violent pink raincoat, a pink digital camera, and a pink cell phone. I feel my acceptance of pink in my life is mostly ironic. But it's not actually an unattractive colour. It just comes with some baggage.
posted by Hildegarde at 10:15 AM on January 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


I used to work writing instructions and packaging copy for a small toy company and we did tons of testing on all new products. The girl color choices in order were always pink, purple and light blue. Always. When we came up with a scented version of one of our most popular doll lines the scents girls preferred were Bubblegum, Tutti-frutti and Watermelon (my grownup nose couldn't really distinguish between these artificial scents).

This leads to another culture clash/bad product planning side note: the practice at the company was to issue a line as white dolls first and if they were really popular, issue them in black as well. This was done with the scented dolls and it wasn't until 100,000 were made that someone pointed out the potential problem of selling a black doll that smelled of watermelon. 1/3 of the 100,000 dolls never went to market because of that.
posted by agatha_magatha at 10:18 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Violent Pink Raincoat would be a good band name. Seriously.
posted by jonmc at 10:18 AM on January 8, 2009


People buy pink things. That's why companies make them.

Companies do both - sell to an existing demand, and create demand. People didn't go looking to buy Coke or Pepsi until they knew there was a Coke or Pepsi available. And they didn't think to drink it outside a pharmacy, as a digestive remedy, until the decision was made to bottle it and marketers started suggesting it would be great to take on a picnic or enjoy at the fair. The Disney Princess thing is a good example: Princess was not a thing, at least not a standout from the normal fantasy-play characterizations children participated in, until teams of people at Disney sat down to come up with some ideas that would capture the interest of the boomlet being born at the turn of the 21st century, and hit on the idea of packaging several of their old movies (Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan etc) under a single brand, "Princess," so as to freshen them up in a re-release and create a new market for them. Before that, little girls weren't clamoring for "Princess" anything en masse. It's an entirely created market.

I've seen the same thing locally, oddly, with fairies. I don't know if this is spread elsewhere, but we have this local children's author who remembered making fairy houses as a kid [fairy houses - little pretend houses made of natural materials in natural places, like the base of a tree. We called them leprechaun houses where I grew up]. So she wrote a book about fairy houses. A local garden club thought it was a cute idea and started a Fairy House Tour. They had gardeners make fairy houses all over the city and invited families to come tour them. It was a big hit with little girls, which wowed everybody. So the author wrote a second book, then the camera club got in on it and made a calendar, then it became a birthday party theme, then the toy stores started carrying wands and tutus and wings, and now the whole thing is in its 3rd or 4th year and each year, 4-year-olds in wings descend on the place like a mania. This is due, of course, in part to the human need for identity play, which I would argue as innate, being channeled into a fairy shape by the opportunity to market to the audience, the parental approval of 'fairy' as a sweet, feminine thing for the girls to do, the implicit reward the girls get from adults and peers for acting like a fairy, and the enjoyment of dressing up and pretending. But to imagine that it would have happened without the marketing package is to underestimate the power of marketing and messaging.
posted by Miko at 10:19 AM on January 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


metroid baby, gaspode your comments brought to mind a WP article from 6 Aug 07, in which Under Armour Founder Kevin Plank describes the company's first attempt at designing sports products for women: "the line was largely derived from its men's products -- a process he jokingly called 'pink it and shrink it' -- and it wasn't going to work."
posted by woodway at 10:21 AM on January 8, 2009


I think people should be much more concerned about girls who like black.
posted by monospace at 10:23 AM on January 8, 2009


As Dr. Gregory S. Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University, speculates, "Women think that men are attracted to pink, and men are indeed, for a very simple reason: fertility. If you think about it from an evolutionary perspective, and if you look at most of the animal world, females indicate their readiness to mate with red and pink. Biologically, that's the color of engorged tissue; first it gets pink, then it gets red."

"everyone assumes that girls are going to prefer pink, so they go ahead and just make it pink -- and so that's the only color girls' stuff comes in anyway"

I suspect it's a combination of these two.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 10:30 AM on January 8, 2009


I think people should be much more concerned about girls who like black.

Ahem. Those of us of the sp00ky persuasion might beg to differ.

I do own a lot of pink stuff, but only because most Hello Kitty stuff is pink.
posted by JoanArkham at 10:36 AM on January 8, 2009


I hated pink as a kid. Wouldn't wear anything pink. No way. No how. Of course, in a lot of pictures during my "awkward phase" it was impossible to tell if I was an unattractive girl... or an unattractive boy.

The girls I nanny for LOVE pink. The 5 year old's favorite color is purple with pink coming in a close second. The 2 year old clams to favor pink, but really, she mostly draws with brown. She's the only kid I've met who will *request* brown paint/play doh/crayons over the brighter colors. Most of their clothes are very feminine - the 5 year old owns all dresses and ONE pair of pants - but not any more pink than any other color, really. They're definitely both girly-girls, but will happily put yellow or red or blue dresses on their princess dolls.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:36 AM on January 8, 2009


Evopsych theories like the pink thing kind of get my dander up because I remember thinking the coolest damn thing about psychology was learning about the incredible plasticity of the human brain. It's one of those things that makes science seem almost like magic to me. To some extent, it just seems like there's a trade-off between that plasticity and the number of things that can be hard-wired into the brain--after all, if people all lived in a very similar ecosystem, eating exactly the same food and living exactly the same life, we wouldn't need all that adaptability and could just hard-wire everything right in. Instead, we've spread across ecosystems so diverse and even now are living in situations so vastly different that it's mind-boggling when you sit back and look at it. Humans would never have been able to become the cockroaches of the mammal world unless we hard-wired very few of the most essential things in, and let everything else be determined by the environment. The idea that pink would be one of those things seems incredible implausible to me... what if pink was a great thing for women to be attracted to on one continent (nutritious berries!) while one continent over that's what all the poisonous fruit was colored? How would that make sense, to have something like that hard-wired into the human brain, given the diversity of environments humans have spread to?

That's really my whole problem with the constant effort to find "hardwiring" behind so much human behavior. I'm so delighted with the idea that humans, as a species, are so gumby-like and adaptable to almost anything, and the constant push to explain everything through genetics or evolutionary hardwiring takes away my delight at the sense that anything's possible. The sky's not even the limit, necessarily; I would bet that within a century human civilization has spread beyond this planet. (Okay, okay, maybe I've been watching too much BSG. Still, I'll stick with my wonder at the sheer possibility of it all rather than start to believe we're all stuck with what might or might not have worked for cro-magnons eons ago.)
posted by iminurmefi at 10:38 AM on January 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Why am I Mr. Pink? Why can't we pick out our own colors? Yeah, Mr. Pink sounds like Mr. Pussy. Tell you what, let me be Mr. Purple. That sounds good to me, I'm Mr. Purple."
posted by jonmc at 10:49 AM on January 8, 2009


When I read "Superheros in the Doll Corner", I read this story and I've never forgotten it. As part of the Kindergarten's class activities, the children make up stories and tell them to the class:

Teddy tells his first story at the end of the week. The boy’s response is immediate and strong:

"Once upon a time there was this little boy and his name was Pretty. They called him Pretty because he was so pretty. His name was really Hansel. There was this sister. He didn’t know he had a sister. The mother and father told him and then they had candy and then they went for a walk."

Andrew, Jonathan, and Paul explode in laughter. “He calls him Pretty!” “Ugh!” “Pre-e-tty!”
“He can call him that if he wants,” Charlotte says.
“No he can’t!” shouts Andrew. “Not if he’s a boy he can’t.”
“It’s Teddy’s story,” I add. “He didn’t tell you want to say.”
Teddy is not insulted, only curious. He smiles at the boys, who continue to make faces. Teddy’s use of “pretty” crosses over into female territory, a subject he will learn about from boys, who care more about boundary lines than do the girls.
“Anyway, his name is Hansel. Just call him that.” Teddy looks at the boys as he speaks.
“Are you sure, Teddy?” I ask.
“Yeah. I’m sure.”


(a few months –and chapters in the book- later)


“I’m going to do one of these ‘pretty’ stories,” Janie decides:

“Once there was a pretty girl and she planted pretty flowers in her pretty garden. And she was very pretty. Her name was Snow White. Then a witch gave her a poison apple, so she died. Then a pretty diamond necklace came on her neck and she came alive and she was still pretty.”

‘Pretty’ is a magic charm, and, for a while, witches will be foils to prove the power of prettiness.

“Once upon a time there were two pretty bunnies. Their mother said they could go for a walk. Then they saw a wicked witch and she killed them by her look. Then two prince rabbits came. Then two pretty lovebirds sang outside and woke up the pretty bunnies. So they married ever after.” (Karen)

“Teddy, do you remember your story about a boy named Pretty?” I ask.
“I remember.” He is silent for a moment. “I still know a boy named Pretty.”
“Who is it?”
“Me. My grandma calls me her pretty boy.”
posted by yeti at 10:50 AM on January 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


That's sorrowful.

I taught kindergarten and first grade for several years and witnessed many such incidents of children enforcing gender roles for each other. Quite cruelly at times. What one kid learns at home, from family or older siblings, filters down and outward to the peers. One or two peers who have the same experience form a strong social unit that then can set the behaviors and boundaries for others in ways that create a huge social risk to defy - at an age where what kids care most about is inclusion.
posted by Miko at 10:57 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm so delighted with the idea that humans, as a species, are so gumby-like and adaptable to almost anything, and the constant push to explain everything through genetics or evolutionary hardwiring takes away my delight at the sense that anything's possible.

I'm with you on the flexibility of the human brain. Anything is possible, but over time and over mass populations, teleonomy is real (imo).

"Hardwired" is such a bad term, b/c it implies a lack of flexibility. I think a better term might be "genetically predisposed."

Fwiw, I kinda agree with the berry theory, as stupid as it may sound. My newborn girl definitely notices and likes red quite a bit. Over millions of years, the ability to better differentiate between red and green may have been an evolutionary advantage for females. I could buy that. (Males are 3x more likely to be red-green color blind.)

This is all coming from someone who thinks there are very few physiological and psychological differences between men and women.

Also, as a heterosexual man, I now absolutely love the color pink. But I didn't when I was a kid. I liked orange and black. Go Giants!
posted by mrgrimm at 10:58 AM on January 8, 2009


Good! That's one square on my evolutionary psychology bingo card! Care to try for another?
posted by aliceinreality at 11:01 AM on January 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


I wonder how artistic sensibilities play into love of color. A lot of artists I know struggle to name a favorite color, because in a way, the love all of them.

I remember, as a little girl, hating the color pink because in the Crayola box I had, the only version of pink was Carnation Pink and it was so light, it was practically transparent wax. I hated how it looked on the paper and never used it, but my rich greens, blues and purples were worn down to nubs (and coincidentally those became my favorite colors). I never really liked pink until I was 26 years old and had to knit a baby blanket in pink. The yarn was so lovely and soft, that after that I began to appreciate the color.
posted by bristolcat at 11:02 AM on January 8, 2009


we seem to be at a pink peak

But have we truly reach Peak Pink? How many more years does Disney have left in the crinoline mines? Is that why their new princess lines are more lavender than pink? Should we reserve all remaining pink resources for essential needs like breast cancer research carrot peelers?
posted by bonehead at 11:04 AM on January 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


Wait, if men are hardwired to like pink because it's all about fertility, then why don't THEY prefer pink? If they like pink because of fertility, how come they are more often unable to differentiate it from bluish hues? If women are hardwired to like pink because they can differentiate berries from one another, why are men not hardwired to like pink because, when you dress the kill, you need to see when it is fully drained of blood? Are Arctic peoples hardwired to like pink because it means you don't have frostbite? What about fish, which people ate at least as much of as berries? Berries get a whole lot of mileage for something that really hasn't ever been an enormous portion of anyone's diet, because they are so seasonal and even when picked in great quantity and dried, provide only a small contribution to the diet compared to proteins and wild grasses. Besides, it's not only their color that differentiates them - even color-blind people can easily distinguish one berry from another by looking at the plant that they are growing on, shape of the berry, size of the berry, number of seeds, etc. My grandfather was great at picking berries and was also the kind of person who would be driving down a country road he'd never been on before, and suddenly slam on the brakes and say "Mayhaws!" or "blackberries!" where I could only see a bunch of bushes.

Was he gay? Am I really a girl? So confusing!
posted by Miko at 11:10 AM on January 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


Males are 3x more likely to be red-green color blind.

Oops. Sorry. By those numbers, it's more like 10-12x.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:12 AM on January 8, 2009


Hildegarde: My favourite colour was always yellow, because it was the colour of that feeling you get in the winter when you're walking in the shade and you're cold and then you come into the sun and it's all warm on your back through your coat. This impression comes circa 1978 (when I was 4).

Up until this very moment I never had a favorite color. I do now. Thank you for turning me on to the awesomeness of yellow. :)
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 11:13 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't stay away from light green, myself. I have to force myself to stop buying stuff in light green so I don't become monochromatic.
posted by Miko at 11:15 AM on January 8, 2009


All things I buy tend to be in a range of cool colors like blue, purple, and green, but in very vivid shades. I also tend toward earthy tones, black, and orange.

Basically, I can't pick favorite colors because the whole spectrum is neat. The only color I really can't stand is Breast Cancer Pink, which is not only patronizing, but sickly looking. Ew.
posted by aliceinreality at 11:19 AM on January 8, 2009


anybody read the accompanying blurb that went along with the photo presentation?

Pink was once a color associated with masculinity, considered to be a watered down red and held the power associated with that color. In 1914, The Sunday Sentinel, an American newspaper, advised mothers to “use pink for the boy and blue for the girl, if you are a follower of convention.” The change to pink for girls and blue for boys happened in America and elsewhere only after World War II.

Obviously not a scientific paper, but hey, anecdotal evidence is close enough, right?
posted by wayofthedodo at 11:24 AM on January 8, 2009


"Women think that men are attracted to pink, and men are indeed, for a very simple reason: fertility. If you think about it from an evolutionary perspective, and if you look at most of the animal world, females indicate their readiness to mate with red and pink. Biologically, that's the color of engorged tissue; first it gets pink, then it gets red."

Yes, little girls are clearly ready to mate. From infancy, even. Parents know this, and make sure to signal it by purchasing pink onesies even before their daughter is born.
posted by overglow at 11:29 AM on January 8, 2009


I'm quite glad that I'm from a gender that gets bright red coats and blue jumpers and colours that aren't navy, tan, oxblood or black for shoes.

Yeah — I would SO hate to be male and not be able to wear bright colours without people looking askance at me.

My pet peeve is the plethora of pastel pink sports jerseys, baseball caps, etc.

Then you should have been with me when I was at Zellers last night. Zellers carries work clothes for women — hard hats, work boots, work gloves — in pink. Just the thing the kind of woman who works in construction would love, right?
posted by orange swan at 11:39 AM on January 8, 2009


Miko, again, for the slam dunk. I am constantly in awe.

There's a great old Wynn Stewart song that comes to mind, about a divorced father who gives his young daughter a coloring book, and is horrified at the way she fills in the lines:

She colored mommy blue with brown eyes crying
She made our house as grey as the dawn
She made the sun as black as night
As if to say it had no light
But she didn't color daddy, cause he was gone

posted by fourcheesemac at 11:42 AM on January 8, 2009


My favorite color is and always has been brown. Because I like it. No idea why. But good things are brown - coffee, chocolate, dirt, good things. My wife's eyes, too.

When I was two, my parents asked me what kind of cake I wanted to eat for my birthday. I told them a brown cake, with pink frosting. (I still like more bright colors than my wife, she's all about greens ans earth tones.)

When we saw on the ultrasound that we are having a boy, we both had the same thought: "Oh well, at least we dodged the pink bullet". My mother-in-law was poised ready to bury us in pink frilly crap that neither of us wanted to deal with. Now if we can just keep her from trying to interest our boy in Nascar and shitty country music (don't get me wrong, there's a lot of good country, but she only listens to shit) we're golden.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:10 PM on January 8, 2009


A lot of artists I know struggle to name a favorite color, because in a way, the love all of them.

As a designer, I love all colors, I don't think any are ugly. My wife is hates pink anything and is attracted to primaries, the louder the better; I don't mind pink but much prefer subtle hues, though I don't really care what those hues are. At times I think brown may be the most beautiful color of all, though my opinion changes daily.
posted by maxwelton at 12:15 PM on January 8, 2009


jinx, caution live frogs!
posted by maxwelton at 12:15 PM on January 8, 2009


Wait, if men are hardwired to like pink because it's all about fertility, then why don't THEY prefer pink?

Around five years ago, practically overnight, most of the mainstream clothing stores in Ireland and Britain's men departments were filled with pink clothing. It was like the 16 to 29 year olds had been let off their leash. Pink went from "gay" to completely acceptable immediately, purely because the shops where young men bought their clothing said it was ok to like pink now. It's faded into the background again (baby blue is the formerly "gay" colour du jour) but it was truly amazing at how quickly the preference of an entire demographic changed because of a little bit of marketing.
posted by minifigs at 12:38 PM on January 8, 2009


I never much liked pink at any age - like bristolcat said, it's too pale and boring. But it is at the center of one of my first memories: when I was three or thereabouts, my family went to the Bahamas for a vacation. My parents made a big deal out of a beach we were going to called Pink Sands and I got all excited, because it was such a strange place, a rarity, a natural phenomenon. When we got there I cried and didn't want to even get out of the car. Why? Because it wasn't real pink - real neon shocking bright pink - it was just sort of beigeish with a pink hue. It was sand, boring old sand and I was crushed: it was Not Pink Enough for me. That's always the problem with pink - it's just not definite enough.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:50 PM on January 8, 2009


Why do my diaphrams always have to come in a pink box? And it's not like I'm given a choice.

Maybe I should Ask Mefi.
posted by emhutchinson at 12:52 PM on January 8, 2009


some of those kids sure do have a lot of crap.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:06 PM on January 8, 2009


oh, also, i LOATHED pink because it was so fucking girly. until i was like 22, and then i embraced the pink. love the pink. but only like the dark, fuschiay pinks, not that pastel shit.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:11 PM on January 8, 2009


When I was growing up in Bosnia, we didn't have anything like the number of toys that American kids had, and what we did have was often geared to both genders. Consequently, I didn't have any pink toys and I don't think that they would have held any special appeal to me as a little girl, even if they were available. Mind you, I liked girly things - my father could travel overseas and so I had a Barbie doll and related stuff, and I had 'local' dolls, which tended to come in folkloric outfits (solid colors, never pink.) Nowadays in Bosnia, the conventional blue / pink dichotomy is starting to take hold, and where its most popular seems to be amongst young parents with enough money to buy Disney crap, which says it all. I don't buy the innate biology thing at all.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:14 PM on January 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


As a little kid my favourite colour was red, and I ended up with pink curtains and things because that's what was out there. At about age 8 I switched to preferring blue; at adolescence it was hot pink (hey, it was the 80s) and in young adulthood it became purple. Now at 39, it's green, teal and purple. And always black; even when I was a child I remember picking out black things and being told I couldn't have them because I'd look like a witch. Which was half the point as far as I was concerned.
posted by andraste at 1:50 PM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is ridiculous. What possible selection pressure is there for one sex to prefer association with one color over another? I'm not talking about the ability to see a color more strongly than the other gender, but the desire to be associated with it.

Are you trying to tell me that 80,000 years ago, little girls were dyeing their goat skins pink? Hah.

A hundred and fifty years ago in America, pink was considered a form of red. Red was a "manly" color. Blue, on the other hand, was considered ideal for gilding the female lily.

Hell, the STi logo on the car I couldn't afford is pink (although they call it "cherry blossom red"). I promise that it isn't because Subaru is trying to sell the STi to girls. It's my understanding that, even in modern Japan, pink is still viewed as a shade of red and is considered "manly".
posted by Netzapper at 1:56 PM on January 8, 2009


aliceinreality, your bingo card has just been printed out and is now taped to the wall by my desk. It is all kinds of awesome.
posted by jokeefe at 4:02 PM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pink used to be a power color for men, apparently, which is why the Ohio state capitol building has pink interior walls. Or so I was told by an Ohioan at the time.

I've heard that some prisons and jails used to paint cell walls bright pink as a form of psychological torture (imagine staring at a bare bright pink wall all day everyday). The cell walls in the county lockup in nearby (to Austin) Williamson county, a place where law enforcement are notoriously corrupt and abusive, were supposedly bright pink until pretty recently according to some people I've known who were locked up there in the 80s.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:26 PM on January 8, 2009


The color pink is supposedly calming, hence its use in prisons and...um, what's the PC term for "paddy wagon"?
posted by JoanArkham at 4:54 PM on January 8, 2009


People buy pink things. That's why companies make them.

It's funny you say that, because that directly contradicts what I hear from staff and buyers at stores selling kids' clothes, who have consistenly stated that:

a) they get a steady stream of complaints about the bullshit "everything for girls is pink and purple" and
b) literally every supplier they have is narrowing their range of products down to those colours, no matter what the feedback from shops and customers and
c) it has been becoming narrower and narrower over time.
posted by rodgerd at 5:08 PM on January 8, 2009


happyroach: This reminds me of the kindergarten kid who drew everything in black.

Imagination, Whale.
[/derail]

posted by tickingclock at 5:45 PM on January 8, 2009


Well my head just exploded. All these years I was convinced that the French originally had the idea of pink ribbon for girl babies and blue for boys and now Straight Dope says that I got that idea from reading Little Women.

In a passage from Louisa May Alcott's 1868-'69 blockbuster Little Women, a female twin is distinguished by a pink ribbon and a male twin by a blue one, but this is referred to as "French fashion," suggesting it wasn't the rule over here.

My favorite colors are the mixed colors, the bleeding colors. As I child I was the only one who liked the blue-green crayon. Everything that I paint or color now is one color melting into another. Blues tinged with greens, greens tinged with purple, peaches tinged with yellow. I am never satisfied with flat colors. Which is why I love hand dyed clothing so much.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:54 PM on January 8, 2009


I taught kindergarten and first grade for several years and witnessed many such incidents of children enforcing gender roles for each other. Quite cruelly at times.

The six year old I tutor told me that I was wearing boys clothes because I was wearing a suit jacket. And the ironic thing is that I was wearing a women's suit jacket for the first time in years.

Yes, kids that age have just discovered gender, and they really care about it and they will tell you how it works. No luck telling them its okay for girls to wear boys' clothes and boys to wear girls' clothes (the whole discussion came from a book, where a girl was wearing something silly on her head - maybe goggles or a bucket or a helmet or something - was declared to be wearing a "boy's hat").

But that's also because they are imbibing their own culture's ideas about gender. I grew up with handme down clothes from my brother - there were no "girls' hats" or "boys' hats" in my house, there was just the "put on your hat already!" hat. Parents do control a lot of the norms of a child.
posted by jb at 7:22 PM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Canadian $5 bill is blue and feature boys playing hockey.
The Canadian $50 bill is pink and features the Famous Five.

Yeah.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:47 PM on January 8, 2009


If was a 3 year old little girl, and all my toys and clothes were pink because that's what my parents and grandparents bought me, and meanwhile all the stuff I wasn't allowed to play with was not-pink... you can bet your arse I'd be getting excited whenever I saw pink toys and pink clothes. Pink = mine!

By the time girls are old enough to realise that some colours look better than others on them (or they get a nice teen black preference going), pink isn't any more or less popular than any other colour. Any ev.psych explanation has to account for the fact that all little girls supposedly love pink, while adult women are evenly divided among all the colours. Why the drop-off in preference, if it isn't a cultural bias?
posted by harriet vane at 11:35 PM on January 8, 2009


I scrawled "GEEN" on the "favorite color" page of My Book About Me...still is!


Didn't we have this discussion a while ago? ....Pink was given to boys because Mars/warrior red was too harsh for youth.
posted by brujita at 11:39 PM on January 8, 2009


@jokeefe: That's one of my favorite things I've ever found on the internet. Glad someone else is enjoying it now, too.
posted by aliceinreality at 12:01 AM on January 9, 2009


As a woman I personally want to destroy, chew and spit on all pink cell phones specially 'manufactured' for women.

There's a particular laptop bag I want - it's smart, tough, and the smaller size comes in blue, green and yellow. Guess what size the one that fits my laptop is?
posted by mippy at 4:19 AM on January 9, 2009


*I meant colour. GODDAMNIT, this is what comes of posting while looking at something else.
posted by mippy at 4:19 AM on January 9, 2009


People buy pink things. That's why companies make them.

But if pink is the only color these things came in, people would still be buying them. But they wouldn't be buying them BECAUSE they were pink, they'd be buying them because nudity in little girls is frowned upon.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:22 AM on January 9, 2009


As a kid I liked pink. But I liked red more. Still do. All shades of red, and as a little kid, pink was just a pale shade of red to me. My bedroom had yellow walls and red carpet, and while I had some pink stuff I don't remember it dominating anything. Clothing wise red dominated, home decor wise it was yellows and greens, and as for toys - anything goes.
I do remember when I went 'off pink'. It wasn't because it was 'too girly', though later I did form that impression. It was when I was in Switzerland, all dressed in a pink running suit with matching pink runners. While walking through a field I stepped in cow shit. Twice. Once per foot. Pink = cow shit, at least subconciously, and I stopped wearing it.

Now that I'm All Grown Up, I'm begining to appreciate pink again as a pale shade of the reds I love so much. But hot damn there's too much pink cow shit stuff for girls these days. Variety is good! (This is why I have clothes in my closet in colours other than red. I make myself. Because dressing in red every day is a bit much, even for me)
posted by sandraregina at 7:16 AM on January 9, 2009


For a while I thought the pink / blue demarcation was related to the color of the respective genitals.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 8:08 AM on January 9, 2009


I have a Free To Be You And Me hissyfit in my mind every time the attendant at McDonald's asks me if we want a "boy toy" or a "girl toy" with a Happy Meal. I wish they would name the specific toy (Hot Wheel, Barbie, whatever) so kids can feel okay about playing with whatever the hell they want. I've even written to McDonald's corporate about it, but I'm sure my letters go into the whackjob pile.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:08 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


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