I have been looking at baby birth announcements and baby shower invitations see the tradition of pink for girls and blue for boys is still quite popular. Of course, you can still get both in more neutral colors like yellow and green, but pink and blue seem to rule the majority or available designs. Which left me to wonder, how did this designation originate?
It is widely reported that pink for girls and blue for boys has not always been the case. In fact, quite the opposite was used prior to World War II. Back then, pink, a derivative of the strong color red, was associated with boys as early as 1918.
“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.” [Ladies Home Journal, June, 1918]
Christian belief also held that girls were more associated with blue as that was the color worn by the Virgin Mary.
The color reversal began in Europe in the 1930’s and traveled to the US where World War II contributed to the reversal in thinking. Military uniforms were primarily blue so blue became more associated with males. At the same time, German’s used a system of symbols and colors to code those in their concentration camps. The yellow Star of David is best known but pink triangles were also used to identify men with more feminine traits. Also in the 1940’s, a “Think pink” marketing slogan widely encouraged women to embrace their femininity, with helpful pointers on how to become the perfect housewife.
So, for your new baby’s birth announcements or baby shower invitations, use pink or blue or pick a gender neutral color in between. After all, in this day and age you probably know the gender before the baby is even born, but that would be a subject for a future blog.