From the day you were born, actually even before conception, there are beliefs and stereotypes that are attached to gender. Pink is for girls and blue is for boys, right?
The color thing is really fascinating. Here is some of the research from my book “GUTSY: How Women Leaders Make Change”. In the 1800’s babies were all gender neutral, wearing white “dresses” in infancy. They made sense; easy for changing diapers and easy to bleach when they became spotted and dirty.
Then somewhere around the 1920’s Western parents began dressing their children in colors. Pink was associated with boys. You read that correctly, with boys. Here was the rationale; red is a bold color connected with bravery and danger. Pink was the watered down version for the “little men” not yet ready to take on the stronger hue of red.
And what about blue? Ah, this more subdued color was for the girls; cool and quiet it kept hearts beating calmly and not creating lots of tension. And, by the way, blue was associated with the Virgin Mary, a color of purity.
So, why the reversal? Things began to change after World War II. That’s when the colors flip-flopped. Marketing and magazines became the rage of the day and whatever those on Madison Avenue wanted became reality. So, it’s the “MAD MEN” who dictated the color code for little kids?
Not so fast! Here is some research from Newcastle University in Great Britain done in 2007. The skinny is that when different colors were flashed on computer screens bo0th men and women preferred blue in the basic set of colors.
When choosing from mixed colors men preferred color blends; women moved away from blue towards the red end of the spectrum, where shades of pink and lilac were found. So, maybe the folks in advertising and marketing were picking up on some basic aspects of gender preference.
Recently researchers at Princeton University studied a phase of childhood development in little girls they have named the “PFD Phase”. This stands for the Pink Frilly Dress Phase! Girls become gender aware around the age of two and pink is the color of choice.
Does it come from something internal, cultural assignments, advertising? What do you think? You can get more of this amazing information at our GUTSY WOMEN WEEKEND in August. It is a time for women leaders to meet together and go deep into the subtle aspects of what we need to know about ourselves to be the best leaders in today’s world where we are needed more than ever before.