Peer Review Vomit Draft

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Mary Wendt

Peer Review Vomit Draft


Pink vs. Blue

The room illuminated the wishes and desires that every child could possibly imagine. A closet overflowing with dress up outfits, almost every color on the spectrum was represented, from faint lavender and pink boots sprawled on the closet floor to a bedazzled magenta hat that hung on the hook inside. The strawberry painted walls were covered with an endless amount of portraits, drawings, and paintings, all hastily taped up as if time was running out and more masterpieces had to be made. Beneath the window that illuminated the room and brought the colors to life lay a small doll tucked in, eyes closed, and peacefully napping in its nook. “Daniel your dinner is getting cold, hurry!” A voice bellowed through the halls of the house until it reached the room occupied by a young child. “O-kaay I’m coming,” he responded and took a quick glance around the room to make sure every toy was safe until his return and quietly tip-toed out to ensure the doll wouldn’t awaken.

An idea implemented in society over 50 years ago shaped the idea that colors represent genders and certain colors fall strictly under the boy or girl category. Take the simple 4 letters, that when combined spell either the color blue or pink. These words originated in the desire that they would describe a color that is seen in everyday life, but over the course of time came the idea that a gender would have an associated colors. With many words used throughout the English language, the meanings change over time, many containing multiple uses from common definition, to slang or youth terms, and then proper definitions. But the connotation that pink has is more than a color, but more of a statement of the person wearing it. When you peek through the glass window that allows you to see the room dedicated to newborns, all swaddled and adjusting to the new environment that they were delivered into merely hours ago, there’s an identifying trademark protecting their precious heads- a blue or pink knit cap. Society took two simple words that originated to represent color and imprinted a false notion that they also define gender and masculinity.

Pink was a color that was known to describe a common garden plant of various colors in the late 1500’s (cite etymology). After this “the flower meaning led to a figurative use for ‘the flower’ or finest example of anything” (Cite etymology). This was the first recorded version of the word pink used to represent something other than color itself. Fast forward to the early 1900’s and gender identification by color starting becoming apparent. Though it wasn’t as popular as today’s color identifications are, it was when the trend of associating the two become noticeable. One of the earliest references to the color scheme came from a publication of Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department which stated, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. 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” (cite today I found out). Nine years after this publication Time magazine included a chart showing gender-appropriate colors for boys and girls and advised that boys wear pink and girls wear blue.

Though it could be a hypothesis that the basis for these gender colors was because girls preferred one color while boys preferred another- that hypothesis is wrong. The vast majority of people vote pink as their least favorite color (cite). So why go to such great lengths to create these social norms? It seems that there is no logical backing to this. NPR’s “Girls are taught… CITE THIS” it discusses that pink becoming a girlish color was the result of a post- World War II phenomenon when he men returned home from war and “Rosie the Riveter traded in her factory blues for June Cleaver’s pink apron.” Coinciding with this event is when clothing manufacturers began deciding to switch the colors and labeling pink for girls and blue for boys. The dramatic shift of colors became extremely possible and had popular followers such as Disney which began showcasing princesses in pink fashions.

As the popularity rose and everything manufactured for children were primarily consisting of these two colors, so did the backlash and the desire to go back to the time of the unisex clothing. Before the pink vs blue war was a time of practicality and functionality. Babies and toddlers were all dressed in white gowns as they were easily bleachable in the event of staining, access to changing diapers was easier in gowns, and the need for updating a closet every few months was deemed foolish and illogical. This was partly the idea behind the women’s liberation movement that began in the mid- 1960s that was a time dedicated to anti-feminine, anti-fashion message, and the look of unisex fashion. The styles, devoid of gender hints, became the rage and even had catalogs like Sears that didn’t photograph a toddler in pink clothing for over two years (cite Smithsonian mag).

Many believed the phase would end and children could go back and wear whatever colors their imagination favors that day. Unfortunately, this belief was wrong. As sonograms began identifying the gender very early in the pregnancy, the desire to know the sex of the child skyrocketed. Once parents were aware of the gender, they were more likely to become fixated and turn everything, from nursery to clothes, into a pink or blue themed.

CNN did a program highlighting how students even got bullied for the color of their clothing. They showcased a boy in middle school. Ryan Marotta, the decided to wear pink sneakers to school one day in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month as his mom is a breast cancer survivor. Ryan’s good intentions and caring heart were met with bullying at school for his choice of wearing a ‘girly color’ to school (CITE CNN). This isn’t an isolated instance either, another story that made news was the one of a ninth grade boy that decided to wear a pink polo shirt on his first day of school and got harassed by bullies that called him homosexual and threatened to beat him up (CITE CBC). Children get ridiculed and tormented while trying to get an education over something as insignificant as the color of clothing they decided to wear that day.

The color pink continued to gain different uses in our language, to even some more vulgar ones. Urban dictionary gave the word pink the definition of “slang reference to the vagina” (CITE urban dictionary) once again taking the color and connecting it back to females but also in a derogatory reference.

Next update: modern day definitions and gender identifications of the colors

Final page and conclusion

Properly cited sources

Clearly labeled answers to questions (constraints, exigence, etc.)

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