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Is pink for girls?

Emili Alsina, Director, Ediciones Just

  • Key4Communications

Although we are aware that this is a conventional distinction, it may seem that the colour blue is for boys and pink is for girls. We know this is not necessary or mandatory, but it feels almost natural.

But in reality it is a completely arbitrary distinction. In fact and despite popularity and social conventions, pink is the favourite colour of only 3% of women, according to the German psychologist Eva Heller.

The distinction is so arbitrary that a century ago it was completely different. A 1918 article cited in Smithsonian.com, explains 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 color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

In addition, Time published in 1927 a table with the most suitable colours for children according to major department stores in the U.S.: many insisted that pink was the most appropriate for boys.

In fact, U.S. retailers and consumers did not settle with pink for girls and blue for boys until the 40s, in a decision that could have gone the other way, as Smithsonian.com says. Also, this piece explains that in many ways the differences we impose on children are greater nowadays than they were before, although it may seem otherwise.

Since the mid-80s, parents can know the sex of their child before birth, so they can buy clothes, furniture and textile items in the colours they consider appropriate, based very often in gender. Also, growing consumerism, the increasing number of audiovisual contents, and the influence of advertising means that children are becoming conscious of their gender between ages 3 and 4, and that they also want to feel identified with gender role models, so girls end up preferring pink and princesses, while boys go for blue and superheroes.

This means that in some areas we have entered a vicious circle in which these messages reinforce themselves, but we should not forget that all this is just the consequence of changing arbitrary conventions. Pink is not necessarily a colour for girls and our offer can be much wider, reaching far more kids and people.

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