Pink gender timeline
Many shades of pink
© 2013 by DOMINIQUE GRISARD. All rights reserved.
Gender of colors
Gender of colors
Baby blue; masculine blue: blue collar / jeans, sailor outfit; cinderella blue: white/blond femininity
„Pure white is used for all babies. Blue is for girls and pink is for bos, when a color is wished“ (Ladies’ Home Journal, 1890, cited in Paoletti, 87).
„It is clear that pink-blue gender coding was known in the 1860s but was not dominant until the 1950s in most parts of the United States and not universal until a generation later“ (Paoletti, 89).
The blue/pink gender color-coding took hold later in Central Europe than in the United States. Also, there were substantive class, religious and regional differences: for example Catholic regions in Germany, France and Belgium as well as Protestant patrician families in Switzerland adorned boys’ birth announcements with pink instead of blue ribbons well into the 1960s (Heller 1999). Some claim the introduction of denim jeans and blue collar-overalls might have contributed to blue’s transition from a girl’s to a boy’s color. Others attribute the change to the white/dark blue sailor suit, worn by bourgeois boys (and girls) until the 1940s (Weber-Kellermann 1997). Another plausible explanation for the blue/pink gender switch might be tied to secularization. Indeed, color-coded Christian art and religious iconography only lost their meaning in 20th century secularized circles. It is thus entirely possible that the fact that the Virgin Mary is generally depicted wearing a light-blue cape and Baby Jesus wrapped in pink cloth, influenced children’s fashion.
Jo B. Paoletti (2012): Pink and Blue. Telling the Boys from the Girls in America, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann (1997): Die Kindheit. Eine Kulturgeschichte, Frankfurt a.M: Insel.
Eva Heller (2001): Wie Farben wirken, Reinbek b. Hamburg: Rowohlt.
[work in progress]
Power of color