Figure 1.--.

Gender and Color: Pink Assessments

HBC has noted pink used for children's clothes as early as the 18th century and we have begun to collect detailed lists of instances where pink has appeared in paintings and clothing advertisements. We do not, however, yet fully understand the gender connotations. We have noted a variety of assessments by various authors. These provide some interesting ideas about color conventions over time. Many writes do not carefully document their assessments so at this time we have to treat these assessments as speculative, but they at least provide some basic senarios that can used to begin our asessment. In some of the cases we note several authors repeating some of the same ideas. We are unsure to what extent this is authors repeating accepted preceivd wisdom or if some of these ideas are really grounded in fact. What we want to obtain is actual contemporary sources to substantiate these assessments.

One author writes concerning the dresses worn by 19th century boys, "The preferred color to dress young boys in was pink! Blue was reserved for girls as it was considered the paler, more dainty of the two colors, and pink was thought to be the stronger (akin to red). It was not until World War II that the colors were reversed and pink was used for girls and blue for boys--perhaps due to the association of red or pink with unhappy remembrances of bloodshed in the War." [Jane Ellen's Newsletters]

Christopher Wagner

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Created: September 25, 2002
Last updated: September 25, 2002