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Pink was not always the color for girls

Men, embrace your pink bathrooms — there’s historical precedent, it seems, to cast aside the silly notion that this is a color just for girls. Arcalus Bo recently sent me an article that indicates that prior to the turn of the 20th century and possibly through World War II, we gave little credence to the notion so entrenched today that “blue is for boys” and “pink is for girls.” The article in particular cites research from  Jo Paoletti of the University of Maryland. Her bio says she has spent 30+ years researching and writing about children’s clothing in America, with a focus on the development of gender differences. The University of Utah Press will publish her monograph, Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America, this year. In a nutshell, the story seems to be that it took a long time for gender differences related to clothing colors to become entrenched and that the pink/blue divide is really pretty recent. Even so, recall that evolutionary biologists now also are weighing in on the subject with some studies indicating that women gravitate toward reds and pinks as the result of natural selection reflecting their hunter/gatherer role. Links: The Straight Dope story about girls and boys and pink and blue, and Jo Paoletti’s blog on ethical fashion and conscious consumption. Image: A very lovely 1954 Kohler ad, woof woof.

CategoriesPink Bathrooms
  1. Frankie says:

    WOW !!!! I’m so excited my husband and I have got just gotten a mid-century home …With a pink bathroom ….Great wood floors…but a lot of real wood paneling ….That I’m going to need you guys to help me with…
    LOVE This Site

  2. Martha says:

    We toured the newly restored Ohio Statehouse in Columbus a few years ago. There’s quite a bit of pink in there (original colors), and the tour guide told us that at the time the statehouse was built, pink was considered a masculine color because it was related to red, which was related to bloodshed and warfare. Not exactly a pleasant thought, but that’s what they told us and could explain pink as a “manly” color..

  3. adam richards says:

    Pink and black makes a great combination, it was the color scheme at our wedding (2008). Not to mention that it’s very popular these days, but it’s also very 50’s as well (the main reason we choose it for our colors).

  4. My grandpa was born in 1916 and his clothes that were saved and passed down for babies to be photographed in were a soft (leaning in an orange direction) Pink. He said little boys wore pink all the time and short pants too no matter how cold it was. No wonder the men didn’t put up a fuss in the 50’s when their wives wanted a pink bathroom, it wouldn’t have seemed “girly” to them at all, childlike maybe but not girly at all.

  5. Damon says:

    My grandparents had that exact sink and tub in their bathroom. It i too bad they took it out. I’m sure someone would love to have it.

  6. Mrs. Pitcher says:

    I posted on another thread, and I can’t find it. Speaking of pink bathrooms, we will be moving AGAIN (long story), and I will be giving up my aqua and yellow bathroom for TWO pink bathrooms! My husband and I are buying another mid-century house (again, long story) and this one is a time capsule. EVERYTHING is original, except the range. Can’t wait!

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