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Why Pink is for Girls and Blue is for Boys

By Patti Wood, body language expert

My friend’s little daughter loves to wear pink. On a typical day Madison wears a pink shirt, a pink skirt, her favorite pink and purple heart socks, and finally her pink tennis shoes. The kid loves pink. Have you ever wondered why little girls love pink? Why not blue or green? This gender color preference starts so very young. Do kids have a choice? At the hospital, they wrap baby boys in blue blankets and baby girls in pink blankets. 

 When I was a kid we played a board game called “LIFE”. Each player got a car to drive around the board and when you “had kids” you got little blue people to put in your car to represent a boy and little pink people to represent a girl, and thus we were set for LIFE.

One of the Trivia questions I love to give my audiences is, “What is the origin of the colors pink and blue to identify different genders?” Most trivia sites will tell you that in ancient Rome parents feared that evil spirits might steal the souls of babies while they slept. Since they believed that the color blue protected someone against soul theft and they valued boys, parents swaddled boy babies in blue cloth at night. They hoped the blue color cloth would keep evil spirits at bay. Baby girls did not get swaddle insurance. That was discrimination.  Ancient Romans did not value female children.  Moreover, they didn’t think that the evil spirits would value them either.  As a result, they didn’t fear the spirits would come after their baby girls and did not use the blue cloth protection plan.

Pink did not become known as the “de rigueur” color for girls until the 1900’s.  Victorian children, curious about where babies came from, asked their parents and they are said to have replied that babies came from cabbage patches. (All this time I thought the stork brought them.)  The children guessed that boys came from blue cabbages but wondered what color cabbages girls came from “Pink” was the parents answer.  Thus, “Pink is for girls” was added to the cultural lexicon.

One of my favorite websites is Science Daily. I was checking the site recently and found new research that shows men actually prefer the color blue and women prefer the redder shade of blue that is pink or lavender. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070820120720.htm.

Researchers have not studied babies’ color preferences so they are not sure about whether nature or nurture has a hand in color preference but theorize that women’s pink preference is nature’s way of helping women chose ripe red fruit and men’s preference for blue comes from their need to determine good weather or a good water source. 

The next time you see a baby in pink or blue garb you will be able to say, “ I know why pink is for girls and blue is for boys.

Patti Wood, body language expert, all rights reserved.