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The herstory of, Pink for Girls and Blue for Boys

Maria D

Brilliant_Rock
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Jan 24, 2003
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That is a fascinating article! I'll admit that I was completely ignorant of the subject and had no idea that boys were routinely clothed in white dresses until they were 6 or 7. And today there is outrage over J Crew copy depicting a mom painting her son's toenails pink!
 

AprilBaby

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Totally fascinating! Thanks for the link!
 

innerkitten

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You know, I have always wondered why those colors were associated with each sex! Thanks for posting that. When my DD was a newborn I dressed her in blue a lot just because I like the color. Now she's five and her favorite coors are yellow, white and hot pink.
 

innerkitten

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Maria D|1303596447|2903645 said:
That is a fascinating article! I'll admit that I was completely ignorant of the subject and had no idea that boys were routinely clothed in white dresses until they were 6 or 7. And today there is outrage over J Crew copy depicting a mom painting her son's toenails pink!
Really!? I didn't know about that. When I was like five we painted one of my male friends finger nails. And he turned out just fine :) Hehe
 

Black Jade

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Aug 21, 2008
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As usual with these articles to make a point, this one isn't accurate.
WE can't tell today that Franklin is a boy, but his outfit was not gender neutral for the time. It's a boy outfit. Boys wore skirts (not until age seven, but more like age 3 or 4) because of practical issues (easier to get up under a skirt and change diapers) and upper class boys wore lots of lace, to show the outfit was expensive but the outfits were different from girl outfits and people could definitely tell their girls from their boys.
Markers of masculinity and feminity in garments change over time--but they always exist. My students looking at Louis XIV wearing lots of lace, white stockings, red high shoes and a big poufy curly wig say--well, you can guess what they say. But these were the masculine clothes of the time signifying status and rank. In the case of Louis, he actually had a cross-dressing brother (called "Monsieur'). 'Monsieur' who was not only a cross-dresser but homosexual (cross-dressers are not necessarily homosexual, and vice versa) and who was definitely 'out' (which is not a new thing in history, either) wore the long women's dresses of the time at court, when cross-dressing and also women's jewelry and wigs -=and did not wear the red high heeled shoes, which were men's clothes, at those times.
Anyway, the article would be right if it said that markers of masculinity and feminity are not static and change over time but wrong to imply that people ever thought that it was not important to mark little boys off from little girls--except for that brief period in the 80's when some 'progressive' parents tried it (this was far from being everybody) and now have their children reacting against it.

I have sewing patterns and books from Franklin Roosevelt's period and they clearly state how to sew a boy outfit and what's different from a girl outfit--the author did not research at all, probably but already had the point he/she was trying to make in mind before writing the article and altered the historical facts.

P.S. What tends to happen over time is that what's acceptable for boys/men to do/wear becomes narrower and narrower as girls/women take over things. Take the case of names. The list of acceptable boy names gets narrower and narrower. the moment a name becomes unisex, boys stop using it and it becomes, in fact, a 'girl' name. Not just Courtney, Leslie and so forth which has happened in the last generation, but look further back--Shirley was a man's name. There were plenty of men named Carroll. And Francis, with an 'i'. (but that's sort of out of style for both sexes) And maybe lots of men or boys were wearing pink before 1940 (I doubt this, but don't have proof) but you know, I have been informed recently that purple has now become a 'girl' color. I have teenage boys and also teenage male students and they have been telling me that purple is now considered non-masculine.
 
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