Snail mail and the internets crossed recently when shortly after I posted the previous entry, an envelope arrived from my friend Brian in London. In it were clippings about the very same British study purporting to show—scientifically, mind you—that girls prefer pink and boys blue. (Do my friends know me or what?)
One of the news stories Brian sent contained an interesting detail. “The participants in the study were both Chinese and British. The Chinese students showed a marked preference for red. As red symbolises luck and happiness in China, this indicates that cultural norms are also involved.” (Mark Henderson, “At last, science discovers why blue is for boys but girls really do prefer pink,” The Times, Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 5.) So the researchers took into consideration that a cultural norm existed where the color red was concerned, but not pink and blue? Seems like sloppy research to me, but I’m sure there’s a study explaining why my pink-addled brain was not cut out for hard science or math.
Another item of pink-and-blue history comes from a reader. In French-speaking countries during the 19th and early 20th centuries, pink was for boys and blue was for girls—“the virgin's color, dontcha know,” says Luc. This tidbit sent me back to my copy of Little Women—just to make sure Louisa May Alcott did indeed associate “French fashion” with girly pink and boyish blue. She did. Which makes me wonder, based on this very limited information, if WASP-y Americans inverted the color scheme, the less to be associated with wicked papist idolatry?
Anyway, enough about pink and blue. Next post, something different.