Design Uncategorized

Pink versus Light Blue: A Modern History

All about the colour pink and light blue

When did pink started to be seen has a feminine colour versus blue, preferably light blue in contrast. In modern times, pink is often used as a colour to advertise towards girls. If it’s bubble gum pink, flesh-coloured pink or pink ooze, context of use matters. Same thing can be said about sky blue, navy blue or cornflower blue, context matters. So, when did this happen.

History of use

Before people thought about using these two colours for gender differentiation, these colours had different meanings in art and society. Red is a vivid colour that is associated with passion, war, blood and sex. It’s a colour has a personality that radiates strength. Pink is the lighter version of red that men attached themselves to connect themselves with visible strength. Blue has been seen as a royal and holy colour for the rich and higher classes to use. When they used light blue to paint children, it was a colour to emphasis being delicate and soft. Darker and more vivid colours were reserved for adults because of the strength and visual emotion those colours create. This was a theme that was continued into the ages when the use of light colours were reserved for children.

In advertising, around the French Revolution the use of light blues and other bright colours were used for feminine products like make up and combs when dark earthen colours were used for masculine products. The two colours has a personality of their own with the vividness, saturation and brightness. Light blue was seen to be adverted for girl products more because light blue was seen as a soft delicate colour comparatively to the colour pink.

Pink was also a colour that was seen as a rustic colour too. The “outdoorsy” tone was only seen in the wild associated with things like farming, wartime and alchemy. It was a colour connected to nature like hunter green, sand and sepia tones. In many ways, pink was seen as an outdoorsman colour.

When did the views of blue and pink happen.

There were multiple times when the views of pink and blue were seen as colours associated with specified genders. This can be thanked to the First Lady Mamie Eisenhower at the 1950s at Dwight Eisenhower inauguration. She wore this large pink bell dress with a lot of rhinestones. The pink in question is called Mamie pink.

EDD7D2_MamiePink
The HEX code of Mamie Pink is #EDD7D2

She thought that the pink not only brought out her eyes but was very ladylike. Modern views of gender roles were changing and Mamie Eisenhower was like the spokeswoman of femininity at the time. Advertisers, housewives, merchandiser, haberdashers and countless others in the 1950s started this modern “rebellion” of what pink was, a grimy outdoor colour into a fashion colour fit for a First Lady.

IMG_MamieEisenhower
First Lady Mamie Eisenhower at the 1953 Inauguration in her gown.

This colour pink was one of the colours part of the 1950’s American Dream ideals in merchandising and marketing. The American Dream is the idea that all people can have happiness and success in life if they worked hard enough. This means the concentration of the family dynamic, the rise of housewives and the beginning of marketing to teenagers. After the wartime efforts were over at that time, a lot of Americans wanted to go back to social norms before the war happened. This colour connects the ideals of the American Dream and what Mamie Eisenhower were dainty femininity.

This was when pink started to be known as the feminine colour that it is today. It was used on anywhere seen has feminine. This was especially true in North American culture and for young girls, young adults and elderly women. From the 1950’s to modern times, pink is now seen as the dainty soft colour like how light blue was seen throughout the ages.

Pink hues and blue hues are used to categorize girl products and boy products for consumers. Most retailers have two separate aisles for the two genders separating products that are geared towards that audience. Colour coding is used to divide products for merchandising and advertising to help appeal, market and sell consumer products easier. In many respects, light blue is still used for both genders just mostly seen for young boys because it helps identify choices of merchandise to see what is geared to them. Males still have yellow-tones, greens, other blues, grey-tone but also violet-purple. For advertising, light colours are still used in children’s toys and games just the social connection of all colours are okay for changed.

The future of pink and light blue.

Social expectations of these colours will change over time. The expectations to live up to gender roles will always be apart of society regardless of colour association. Our social connection of pink has changed in modern times but other changes in society could change it into something else.

Resources: 
The History Of Pink For Girls, Blue For Boys – Jezebel

When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? – Smithsonian
Pink vs ‘Light Blue’ Gender Myth – BBC
How did pink become a girly color? – Vox

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