The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

Barbie world, or a symbol of freedom: why women were forced to love pink

'27.05.2021'

A source: Lenta.ru report

Seeing the same thing in two different colors - pink and blue - we instantly understand: the first for the girl, the second for the boy. It is believed that from birth, depending on the gender, people are attracted to objects of a specific shade, and dressing children in the colors of the “opposite sex” in Western society is still considered ridiculous. But this was far from always. Lenta.ru report figured out why once the girls were supposed to wear blue clothes, the boys — pink, and remembered who and how had imposed stereotypes on the contrary to the world.

Photo: Shutterstock

Blue for girls

The division into "male" and "female" colors occurred relatively recently - only in the middle of the last century. Until that time, no one attached much importance to the shades of children's clothing. Infants, both boys and girls, were often dressed up in white cotton dresses, since they could be easily bleached during washing.

Blue and pink had no gender and were considered more like the colors of youth and freshness. The first, for example, generally had a religious meaning: in sculpture, painting and on icons, the Virgin Mary was depicted in blue clothes, which symbolized purity and purity. For this reason, girls' clothes were mostly blue. For boys, respectively, they chose pink - as a more neutral version of red, meaning masculinity and strength.

In 1927, the American magazine Time published a chart of colors that are most suitable for children of different genders, according to the leading US retail chains. For example, Boston's Filene's, New York's Best & Co, Cleveland's Halle's and Chicago's Marshall Field all recommended pink for sons and blue for daughters.

This is a trick, of course, invented by marketers. Parents who have children of both sexes had to buy new, “matching” color sets of clothes, accessories and toys for each child. After all, now “in self-respecting families” brothers cannot wear their sisters' old clothes and vice versa.

On the subject: 'Girl takes away beauty': how pregnant women in the USSR determined the sex of an unborn child

And what about us

It is noteworthy that in the USSR and Russia, far from Western trends, gender colors were distributed exactly the opposite. Here, according to tradition, after discharge from the hospital, the boys 'blankets were tied with a blue ribbon, and the girls' blankets with a pink one. Historians suggest that the origins of this order originated in the era of tsarist Russia.

The fact is that until 1917 the daughters of noble families were awarded the Order of St. Catherine at baptism, and the sons - the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called. The first was decorated with a red ribbon, the second - blue, and since these colors seemed too bright and rude for babies, over time they were replaced with more delicate counterparts.

Long before that, in the 60s of the XIX century, the marine style of clothing was gaining popularity in Russia. This fashion probably came from England. Then King Albert and Princess Victoria dressed their children in sailor suits as a sign of the country's strong connection with the fleet. Thus, the boys' costume assumed a striped top and trousers (dress for younger people), designed in calm blue shades. The pink color, which was considered "boyish" in America and Europe, was not even thought of.

Color of freedom

After the Second World War, modern perception of gender colors came in the West. However, the exact date and reasons for these changes are still not fully defined. In the second half of the 1940s, clothing manufacturers suddenly announced: boys like blue more, girls like pink, and began to produce collections in these colors.

In 1947, the French fashion house Dior created a fundamentally new (especially after the impersonal, shapeless wartime suits) female new look style. The clothes invented by Christian Dior focused on all the virtues of the female figure, emphasized the thin waist and fragile shoulders. Such outfits became the complete antipode to the then-usual kind of a toiler who worked hard in the factory while her husband was fighting at the front. Although society condemned the designer for such insolence, his collections have found fans all over the world.

Here, the marketing departments of children's clothing firms were again savvy. They proposed a new trick: now the silhouettes of children's clothing were exactly the same as the adult cut. Girls began to dress up in delicate, feminine, fitted dresses. The boys were supposed to dress like their fathers - in wide trousers and shirts. As a result, the sisters and brothers again needed a separate wardrobe, and retailer sales jumped.

In the early 1950s, another innovation appeared in fashion magazines: the pink color was suddenly recognized as a symbol of freedom. The girls were asked to wear pink and red clothes to mark the end of the war. Tired of the dirty gray "soldier" costumes, they eagerly picked up the trend.

In a barbie world

One of the trendsetters for pink can be called Mamie Eisenhower, wife of 34th U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. On the day of his inauguration in 1953, she appeared before the public in a magnificent pink dress, which made a splash among Americans. After that, Mamie came out more than once in dresses of this particular color, and throughout the country women swept pink things from the shelves not only for themselves, but also for their daughters.

A few years later, a doll was invented for them, which later became the best-selling doll in the world. Barbie is a real sensation in the world of toys for girls, as well as a role model for their mothers - she lived, of course, in a pink house, used pink furniture, drove a pink car and adored everything pink.

Around the same time, the musical Funny Face was released, the heroine of which (editor of a fashion magazine) devotes a whole ode to the color pink. In it, she calls it the color of modern women and once again proposes to erase the events of the war years from the memory, contrasting pink to the gloomy military colors.

But finally, the position of the "female" color pink consolidated in the early 1960s. In the minds of Americans, all pink-covered newsstands in kiosks were women’s, all pink goods in stores were for women, and any advertisements that were dominated by pink tones were aimed at women. Advertisers used the trend with might and main: on the pages of any magazine one could certainly see an illustration where, like Barbie, a girl in a pink dress with pink lips and manicure stands against the background of a pink car or holds a pink telephone receiver in her hand.

No longer the weaker sex

Soon, however, the "pink boom" ceased. In the 1970s, during the “second wave” of feminism, women completely abandoned sugary pink things, fitted dresses and heels. Having achieved full equality and the elimination of any form of discrimination (the corresponding convention was established by the UN in 1979), they increasingly began to wear men's pants, shorts and business suits. The once beloved pink color was left to very young girls and a Barbie doll.

Over time, the love for the pink color either faded away, then flared up with renewed vigor, and women either refused to recognize themselves as the weaker sex, or, on the contrary, deliberately emphasized their femininity. Although many fashion brands that specialize in products for women are again resorting to pink for advertising purposes (Victoria's Secret even has a whole line called Pink), in today's stereotyped society pink is considered the color of blondes, naivety, and often even completely frivolity.

Today, color biases remain so strong that a rather grown-up two-year-old, who looks like a boy in all appearances, but dressed in a pink jumpsuit, will be perceived exclusively as a girl.

On the subject: On female beauty, war paint and the conquest of the world: a masculine look

Pink gene

To what age people begin to associate their gender with pink or blue, a lot of research has been devoted. Many of them prove that children, regardless of gender, prefer blue to all other colors, and hardly confirm the presence of an innate tendency to pink in girls. Another experiment, published in the British scientific journal British Journal of Developmental Psychology, nevertheless revealed not only a trend in the color preferences of the two sexes, but also the exact age of their formation.

The study involved children aged seven months to five years. Each child was offered eight pairs of objects of different colors in turn, while each pair always had one pink object. As a result, it turned out that by the age of two, girls preferred pink objects much more often than boys, and by two and a half - almost always pink was chosen from two objects. The boys, in turn, carefully avoided him. And the older the boy - the less pink things appeared in his collection.

There is another hypothesis about the formation of a tendency to "male" and "female" colors. Scientists suggest that such preferences are rooted in antiquity, when men were engaged in hunting and women were gathering. Then the blue sky was a signal of favorable conditions for hunting, and the red color and its shades told women about the ripeness of the berries. One way or another, even if color preferences are inherent in us genetically, companies have long learned to fight nature and manage them for profit.

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