Pink vs. Blue


As long as I can remember, pink was associated with girls and blue for boys. When a baby is born, they get wrapped in a blanket, either pink or blue, depending on their gender. How did these colors get assigned? Does is go back thousands of years ago? Is it scientific? The pink and blue gender myth needs explanation.

When you walk into a large store such as Walmart or Target and visit the kid’s clothing section, blasts of pink line the walls and racks of the girl’s area. On the other hand, the boy’s department is filled with dark or cool colors, such as blue, camo, green, and so on. Pink has clearly been deemed a feminine color. Why aren’t girls given the option of wearing dark blue or green, and vice versa? The lack of selection in a variety of colors at retail stores for young boys and girls may feed into the association that girls “need” to prefer pink, and boys blue. In the article “The ‘Pink vs. Blue’ Gender Myth,” Claudia Hammond states “Various studies have looked at colour preferences in different age groups. In the US most have found that babies and toddlers, whether male or female, are attracted to primary colours such as red and blue.” These two colors are favored by both genders, regardless if they are a boy or girl.


In a research study conducted at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, adults were asked for their color preference. The result was that both genders mostly said blue for their favorite color, further proving that color cannot be associated with gender. Cultural norms can therefore be considered the reason for our color preferences. Once a baby is born (especially in the United States), they become accustomed to either pink or blue shades, depending on their gender. Hammond describes another study conducted in 2011, in which “one-year-old girls and boys were shown pairs of identical objects such as bracelets, pill boxes and picture frames, but with one object pink and another of a second colour, they were no more likely to choose pink than any other colour.” However, the author explains that after the age of two, the girls begin to prefer pink, and by the age of four, boys began to reject pink, which they associate with femininity. By this age, children have a clear understanding of the differences between boys and girls, therefore they feed into cultural norms.

In American society today, we are beginning to realize that color is something that should not be associated with someone’s gender. Instead of programming into a child’s head what color he or she should associate with, we should disregard color entirely and let children choose for themselves what color they like best, leading to a more equal society.





Author: ninashepperson

I am a senior at Wheaton College MA, majoring in Film and New Media Studies with a minor in Studio Art.

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