Girls Didn't Always Wear Pink!
Girls Didn't Always Wear Pink!
Over a century ago little boys were dressed in pink! Before the First World War, pink and blue were used as gender signifiers; however, it was not until the 1940’s that pink was set as the females gender signifier that we know it as today. This has been seen in publications throughout the 20th Century, one of such being that of Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department, which is from June 1918. This article stated that,
“The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger colour, is more suitable for boys, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”
It is strange to think how deeply stereotypes are engrained in our culture today. Pink is stereotypically seen as the colour for girls and blue is thought as the colour for boys, rightly or wrongly.
Arguably, it is believed by some that cultural norms may shape colour preferences. In cultures where pink is considered the appropriate colour for a baby girl and blue for a baby boy, babies become accustomed from birth to spending time wearing, or even surrounded by, those colours. This makes it difficult to know whether any preferences expressed later on are hard-wired.
A study in 2011 discovered that by the age of two girls started to like pink and by the age of four, boys started to determine their rejection of pink. This is the precise time when toddlers become aware of their gender, to talk about it and even to look around them to see what defines a boy and what defines a girl.
Some commentators today believe that pink dominates the colour of little girls which can have damaging effects. Sue Palmer, the author of Toxic Childhood, says the “total obsession” with pink stunts girl’s personalities. Palmer continues by stating that she is worried about it as you struggle to find girls over the age of three who are not obsessed with the colour pink. She argues that it is under our skin from a very young age and severely limits choices and decisions, which in turn creates overwhelming peer pressure to which girls have to conform.
However, therapist and researcher, Michael Gurian argues that too much pink does not have a profound effect biologically - simply because it can’t. Furthermore he states that humans are programmed in a certain way and no amount of contact with external influences can change that. For example,Michael states that images of thin models and actresses do not cause a person to become anorexic – there are more complicated factors at work.
Personally I am very big on the colour pink! Have a look at my Instagram and you will find my latest investment of sparkly pink stapler. I have a pink phone case, Ipad case, a pink laptop and keyboard cover, even my post-it notes are varying shades of pink! I would say this- to quote Sue Palmer- “total obsession” with the colour pink has not stunted my personality in anyway!
In fact I would argue it shows off my personality. People can easily tell I am fun and colourful yet also intelligent. I joke regularly with my friends and family that if I had done law degree I would have been the British version of Legally Blonde-although the vast majority of the clothing in my wardrobe is black but that is a minor setback!
I feel women need to embrace the colour pink. It does not make you less of a woman or a feminist, in fact I would argue that it shows people that you are a modern women! Modern women don’t care about what other people or society thinks is appropriate. If you like pink, wear pink!
Nina is in her Honours year at The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow studying History. She loves keeping fit and healthy at the gym and singing to her hearts content. Because of Nina's love of all things history related, she has a passion for reading, writing and researching. Nina is the Editor-in-Chief for an online magazine for female students at Strathclyde called Her Campus Strath and wants to continue her passion for writing after graduation.