Another thought on pink and blue.
The truth is that until the 1950s, when marketing to children took off and teenagers arrived on the cultural scene, it was more common that pink was the colour for boys and blue for girls – the opposite of today.
The advice to mothers in one Sunday newspaper in 1914 (March 29th, Sunday Sentinel, USA) was “if you like the color note on the little one’s garments, use pink for the boy and blue forthe girl, if you are a follower of convention.” The Ladies Home Journal, at the end of the Great War (June 1918), advised mothers that “there has been a great diversity of opinion on the subject, but the generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. The reason is that pink being a more decided and stronger color is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”
Isabelle Pitt (of the Development Trusts Association) who put me on to this, suggests that pink was watered down from fierce, and military, red – while blue was associated with the Virgin Mary.
Research with over 3,000 children that I published recently, together with Professor Agnes Nairn, in the book ‘Consumer Kids’ tracks the gender stereotypes the children face and the rising trend of the sexualisation of girls that goes with it. Some of our most revealing work in that was looking in depth at Barbie, Action Man, David Beckham and Victoria Beckham.
The commercial world that children experience is as if the women’s movement had never existed.