Gender and Color: A colorful history

Gender and Color: A colorful history

Julia Cho
Apr 2, 2007

Blue= boys and pink= girls. But it's not that simple really, and many of you expressed strong opinions on color and gender last week at the sight of the pretty blue room Rachel helped her friend paint for her baby girl. Rachel is a color consultant- a very interesting job we might add! We checked out her site and found a great article she wrote on the history of gender and color. So, have little boys always been dressed in blue? Not on for the full story.

In the early 1800's in the US, babies, both boys and girls, wore long white dresses. It wasn't until later when an emphasis was placed on development and crawling, that the clothing was adapted to allow for more ease of movement.

Interestingly enough, pink was originally designated for boys. In the Christian tradition, red, and therefore pink, were associated with males and blue, associated with the Virgin Mary, was feminine. It wasn't until after WWI when blue had been used in military uniforms, that blue was considered masculine.

Based on today's modern catalogs, people still seem fairly attached to the tradition. We do notice a whole lot of bright orange showing up these days, which could be a good neutral color. What gender neutral colors would you choose?

Thanks again to Rachel for this great article! We only scratched the surface really- for the full story, (and loads of other interesting thoughts on color) click here!

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