Question: When did boys start wearing blue?
Answer: Check out the picture on the left. Now, what does this little girl have to do with the question I posed? Well, the long-haired child with her white skirt spread smoothly over her lap, hands clasping a hat trimmed with marabou feathers and wearing patent leather party shoes isn’t a girl. As a matter of fact, it is a picture of our 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in 1884 at the age of 2 1/2.
We may find the look unsettling today, but social conventions of that era dictated that boys wore dresses until the age of 6 or 7, which was the time of their first haircut. Franklin’s outfit in this photo was considered gender-neutral at the time.
So how did we end up with two “teams”—boys in blue and girls in pink?
For centuries, children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6 as a practical matter since white cotton can be bleached clean. Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers. The use of pink as distinctive of girls can be dated back at least to 1868, in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, where a female twin is distinguished by a pink ribbon and a male twin by a blue one, referred to as “French fashion,” suggesting it wasn’t the rule over here.
But in 1918, a U.S. trade publication stated that it is a generally accepted rule that pink is for boys, and blue for girls, since pink (related to red) is a more decided and stronger color suitable for boys, while blue is more delicate, dainty and pretty. In 1927, Time magazine printed a chart showing sex-appropriate colors according to leading U.S. stores, where parents were to dress boys in pink.
Today’s color dictate wasn’t established until the 1940s. After World War II, the tide shifted permanently in favor of blue as a boy’s color. In 1948, royal-watchers reported Princess Elizabeth was obviously expecting a boy, since a temporary nursery set up in Buckingham Palace was gaily trimmed with blue satin bows. By 1959, the infantwear buyer for one department store was telling the Times, “A mother will allow her girl to wear blue, but daddy will never permit his son to wear pink.”
So the baby boomers were raised in gender-specific clothing. Enter the women’s liberation movement, where more unisex baby clothes came into style in the late ’60s and ’70s. Yet pink and blue came back in the mid-’80s, with the development of prenatal testing. Once parents could find out whether they were having a boy or a girl, they could outfit their nursery in the “appropriate” color. Manufacturers pushed the fad too after realizing affluent parents would buy a whole new set of baby products once they found out Junior was expecting a little sister and mom could go out and buy pink onesies with “Princess” emblazoned on the butt.
The color pink has been appropriated by the gay community. A Dutch newsgroup about homosexuality is called nl.roze (roze being the Dutch word for pink), while in Britain, Pink News is a leading gay newspaper and online news service. There is a magazine called Pink for the LGBT community which has different editions for various metropolitan areas. In France, Pink TV is an LGBT cable channel. In business, the pink pound or pink dollar refers to the spending power of the LGBT community. Advertising agencies sometimes call the gay market the pink economy.
So now as you gaze at the pink and blue Gay Socialites logo, think about the significance of these colors the next time you buy a gift for a friend’s baby shower. And possibly purchase the blue bib with the truck for little Isabella, but maybe reconsider the pink one with the fluffy bunny for young Jacob. Daddy (or one of his daddies) may not approve.
Source Article from http://gaysocialites.com/2012/06/20/things-that-make-you-go-hmmm-when-did-boys-start-wearing-blue/
Things that make you go hmmm… When did boys start wearing blue?
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