“Pink is for girls”
If I had a penny for every time I heard this, I would have been a millionaire by now. The entire spectrum of the color pink has been deemed unfit for the masculine and the feminine identity is largely associated with the shade. We have never really looked at the history of the pink color, or stopped and questioned why is the pink color for girls. It was not long ago that I attended a seminar on Gender Sensitization and was face to face with a post-event discussion on what defines masculine and what feminine. To this, one said how he would never wear pink for the color being too feminine.
This brought me to the question “who decided on the feminine connotation of pink?” The question drove me to pen down the blog on the history of the pink color. Today, when I talk about the history of this color, we will look at some of the key milestones that shaped the narrative of ‘pink’.
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1. Early days
In 18th-century Europe pink color was a symbol of social status. The shade is used to portray youth and romance. In 1757, French porcelain manufacturer Sèrves created a shade solely for Madame de Pompadour as the shade enthralled her. The history of the pink color shows us that for centuries the color has been associated with masculinity, with boys dressed in pink and girls in blue. Literature shows us that the military mostly preferred red and pink till the world war brought a transition.
2. World war and the history of the pink color
By the end of the 19th century, the pink color has made its way to popular wardrobes. French designer Paul Poiret showed the pink way to women by presenting his powder pink dresses. During World War II, brands used color in their advertisements to direct women to quit their jobs and focus on household chores as the men were fighting overseas.
3. Transition period
Pink started becoming a feminine shade in the 1940s and the final transition happened in the 1950s. When US first lady Mamie Eisenhower wore a pink gown on her inaugural day, it soon became a favorite for the ladies.
4. Pink in pop-culture
The shade was popularised in 1953 when Marilyn Monroe wore a shocking pink silk gown in Gentleman Prefer Blondes. The history of the pink color was further solidified in 1957 when Audrey Hepburn exclaimed “If she’s gotta think, think pink!” In the movie Funny Face. Such began the shade’s trickle-down journey to the masses.
Though the history of the pink color has shown its transition from masculine to feminine the shade still has strong feminine connotations associated with its appeal. From it being a girly color to people teasing someone for wearing pink, the shade still has a long way to go. However, we can never deny the strong aesthetic that shade brings. And as it has always symbolized strength, one can’t go wrong donning the color.
Picture courtesy- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Read more about the history of the shade here- The Problem with Pink