Question: Pink vs. Blue

Without these colors we couldn't tell the baby's gender upon sight! Oh no, we might have to interact with it without preconceptions and assumptions!

I learned from the vlog brothers that it is Hitler’s fault that pink is now for girls.  Boys used to be pink and girls blue, but Hitler used pink triangles to identify homosexual people and then pink became a feminine and “girly” color.   First, knowing this makes pink a bit cooler to me.  Hitler was a dick and wearing something proudly that he disdained seems like an awesome idea.  Second, this proves how stupid an arbitrary this color coding of genders is.  

I don’t like pink and I never have.  I think it is usually and extremely ugly color when it isn’t on a real and living flower. It helped, fueled and hardened my hatred for this bright and disturbing color that it was forced upon me.  It was a symbol for why I wasn’t supposed to play baseball with the boys and got mocked by them when I did for the clear plastic belt with cute plastic flowers on it I wore during games.  It was my only belt at the time and I loved it, damn it!  It was forced upon me and I, like most people, do not like it when things are forced on me.

Why do we feel the need to color code our babies?  It isn’t just pink and blue or infants/newborns, either.  If you go to a department store that sells baby and children’s clothes, then you will see that the boys’ clothes are overwhelmingly in blues, greens and browns and the girls’ clothes are in pinks, purples and lighter blues.  The boys’ clothes are also darker and the girls are more pastel.  Why?  The boys’ clothes, as is usual, seem more practical.  Those dark clothes hide stains better, I am sure.

So what is your take on these color differences?

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About Tori

I am a graduate student working on my masters in Women and Gender studies. My masters thesis is on the gender nonconformity and ambiguity in modern film.
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4 Responses to Question: Pink vs. Blue

  1. Sita says:

    I used to love hot pink. I had it everywhere–even down to the hot pink carpet. But I grew out of that phase (thank god!). I now wear a lot of dark colors, and I am NEVER going back to the hot pink, or any pink if I can help it. I look good in dark “boy” colors like blue and green. Why should I wear those colors just because I’m a girl? I can feel just as feminine in “boy” colors as I can in “girl” colors–and often times, I feel more feminine when wearing darker colors because they actually work with my natural coloring and skin tone. If I ever have kids, I have no plans to dress him or her in only one set of colors just because of their gender. I’ll put whatever looks cute that day on them!

  2. Rebecca says:

    I am flamboyant; I like colors, and I like to change things up when it comes to which ones I tend to wear. 😉 I’ve had some all black phases, and some phases where I resemble an Easter basket. Whatever.

    As a kid I was all right with pastels and bright colors. Red was my favorite when I was little, followed by blue when I was a bit older, and then red/dark purple/black when I gothed myself out around middle school. That was rebellion sort of unrelated to gender.

    “What’s your favorite color?” always bothered me as a kid. I’m serious. I’d always see the merit in other people’s favorites, and wish I could choose them all… except yellow and orange. But even those sometimes. XD

    Clothing colors don’t bother me as much as marketing for toys. The girls’ aisle almost makes me sick: everything is packaged in hot pink. Everything. The colors are bad enough; the words used in advertising and the nature of the toys themselves are worse. How bored I got as a little girl! No wonder I started reading so much, so early! Boys get to play complex and/or active games, build things, learn as they play, imagine worlds beyond the domestic and way beyond the body. Girls get to fantasize about motherhood, princesshood, and supermodelhood. At least we have the animals as toys – that widens the possibilities a little. But yeah, every time I go to Toys R Us or Target and see how obscenely distinct the gender lines are (and you can tell immediately by color: girls = garish pink, boys = normal colors in natural-looking proportions), I kind of want to cry.

    As an adult, I advocate choosing colors for no reason other than you like ’em. Aesthetically, that is, and if you must, symbolically – but at this point, choosing binary boy/girl colors for binary gendered reasons is lame.

    • Tori says:

      Yeah, toys are a huge gap for children. I’ll admit to enjoying My Little Ponies. I still think they are adorable! You see more building type stuff for girls, but it still has to be pink and princess oriented or it just doesn’t work! (Please be aware of intense sarcasm in that last bit) Princesses are fun and all, and I’m not saying I want a shoot ’em up toy, but come on. I haven’t really looked through the toys recently, but I think I will do a post soon about a walk down the isles! Thanks for the inspiration.

      • Rebecca says:

        Np! You’ve got good stuff here, and I only blather on to keep ideas flowing, so I’m glad it had the desired effect.

        I agree: princesses were lots of fun. And it’s too bad our culture tends to bash or exploit how much fun it can be to pretty oneself up. I still forget sometimes that it’s really okay to go all out with dressing up, that it doesn’t make you less intelligent or imply that you’ve sold your soul to the beauty industry.

        It’s funny about shoot ’em up toys: I took up Nerf guns to play Humans Vs. Zombies (as you know from my gloriously immature dart-shooting at PSU), but I don’t call them guns. This was at first a practical matter; grown men and women can’t run around campus talking about guns, or we’d raise an uproar. So they’re “blasters” or “Nerf toys.” Now I find myself calling them “toys” around my little cousins, because that’s what they are, really: toys for the enhancement of playing tag, that just so happen to imitate guns. The little ones can call them guns and not be disturbed, but I personally feel better calling them toys.

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