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why do girls like pink? Ans - it's not because of blooming berries

(74 Posts)
ziptoes Sun 17-Jul-11 22:34:32

This is my first thread in feminism, and I'm not sure this is the right place for it, but I want to get something off my chest.

So we all groan when the old chestnut often gets trotted out that girls like pink "because women were traditionally the gatherers in hunter gatherer societies". (Just so you know, the stats behind the original assertion have been thoroughly trashed). But it annoys me that to counter the argument the answer often is well, that's not true because the victorians thought pink was a boys colour.

BUT BUT BUT... the gatherers in hunter gatherer societies did not just gather bloody strawberries! Has no-one ever eaten blackberries, blueberries, or gooseberries? Did hunter gatherers only ever eat meat and berries? What about nuts, carrots, beetroot, potatoes etc.?

The whole pink = berries things is so stupid. Next time someone trots that one out, please start your retort with multicoloured food to point out the idiocy of the argument. Once you've demolished that, then you can bring up the victorians to emphasise that girly pink is purely cultural conditioning and marketing.

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 17-Jul-11 22:39:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Sun 17-Jul-11 23:53:10

I know, it's INSANE. Good point re: the various berries though grin

Also, can anyone actually think of any fucking baby-pink berries? Even the reddish ones are bloody red, so we'll have RED as the girl's colour by your insane guessing-about-cavemen logic thank you very much.

Himalaya Mon 18-Jul-11 00:30:09

Well they wouldn't have been eating potatoes in Pleistocene Africa that's for sure grin

I'm not sure it was so much the original stats that were trashed (small study, limited conclusions etc....) as much as the overblown and scientifically illiterate media reporting.

I agree Victorian fashion is not the most useful bit of evidence in thinking about evolution. I don't see any reason why the development of human colour vision and preferences shouldn't be studied from an evolutionary point of view.

duchesse Mon 18-Jul-11 00:34:24

Utterly cultural imo.

We went to Turkey with Ds (22mo) and DD1 (1mo) on holiday. Spent the entire fortnight explaining whether they were boys or girls even when we took DD out wearing some pink thing we'd inherited from someone or other.

DD3 rarely wears pink and is fairly often mistaken for a boy in the UK.

Now, whenever we're given a bag of passed on clothing, I remove all the pink stuff and pass it a charity shop instantly. I'd rather DD3 were mistaken for a boy her entire childhood than have her culturally conditioned to like pink.

duchesse Mon 18-Jul-11 00:36:18

btw- anyone who's lived near Sandhurst College will know that they all wear pink shirts on exeat weekends- most of them aren't women.

Nefret Mon 18-Jul-11 12:32:11

I lived in Turkey when my Dd was a baby and even when she was wearing a pink dress people would ask if she was a boyo or a girl. They definitely have no concept of pink for a girl over there.

Ormirian Mon 18-Jul-11 12:35:24

I have never heard that argument confused How odd.

Meat is pinkish too for that matter.... very very strange.

LRDTheFeministNutcase Mon 18-Jul-11 12:42:49

grin The thread title made me smile.

I think it shows how strong a vested interest some people have in making out that social conditioning is reflective of innate tendencies.

I was watching History Cold Case (I know, I know ...blush) and the woman who does forensic facial reconstruction said you cannot tell the difference between a male child's bones and a female child's bones until the age of 8 or so. So it is entirely to do with how we dress and treat children. My friend will not believe this and I had to backpedal furiously not to offend her as she thinks her daughter is 'clearly' feminine looking. hmm

Ormirian Mon 18-Jul-11 14:34:59

All my DC are 'feminine-looking' atm. DS1 is 14 and has quite soft features still and very soft golden hair.

SybilBeddows Mon 18-Jul-11 15:10:59

I had a really classic comment about my dc3 a few months ago from a lady in a shop, that even without the longish hair you would still know she was a girl because she is so pretty and has such lovely fine features.
She is, of course, a he.

Riveninside Mon 18-Jul-11 15:17:48

Dd likes pink and pruple despite being mostly blind. So she hasnt seen oics and tv to condition her. Hold a crayon 1 cm from her eyes and she will pick pink.
She is contrary

Riven - I don't think so (contrary I mean). DS always gravitates towards pink things in a shop. He has no concept of colours and what he should/shouldn't have (22 mo). He just likes the bright colour (and the fact whatever it is often comes with glittery accessories hmm). Pink is quite a warm colour maybe that has something to do with it?

FuzzpigFourFiveSix Mon 18-Jul-11 15:36:32

I had a personal shopper session recently (bridesmaid) - the assistant told me I looked best in berry colours. That didn't include pink though grin

I am generally quite a fan of evolutionary psychology (from the little I know of it anyway) but the pink berry thing just smacks of excuses. Especially given that pink was originally for baby boys.

I don't have a problem with pink though really, I wouldn't ban it, I just try to not buy into it too much and make sure my DCs have lots of variety.

Riveninside Mon 18-Jul-11 15:46:04

I do that. Dd is ginger and pink and pruple are not good colours for her grin
but they has so little chance to make choices i give in to the sparkly pink stuff.

TheCrackFox Mon 18-Jul-11 17:41:38

The whole argument is ridiculous when you consider that in Victorian times pink was for little boys. It is all cultural conditioning (and a bit bizarre but maybe I only think that because I have never liked the colour).

LeninGrad Mon 18-Jul-11 19:25:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

allegrageller Mon 18-Jul-11 19:29:27

agree Lenin. 2 distinct markets have been created for children's clothing. The same with the bizarre reshaping of girls clothes: mini-bootcut jeans, even school shirts with little 'feminine details'. Everything smothered in hearts, flowers and sickly slogans.

I also feel that something more sinister is going on at the level of cultural messaging. The more women have achieved in terms of gender parity, the more capitalism has attempted to resell them an ultra-femininity which takes different forms at different ages: from pretty pink princess to Jordan-a-like iin a seamless transition.

ziptoes Mon 18-Jul-11 20:45:13

DS is always being referred to a girl and DD a boy. He's blond and she's brunette and I have actually had someone say they thought DS was a girl because of his blonde hair! Barking.

duchesse I also charity shop pink, flowery, hearty stuff if it's ugly, but have kept some nice pink stuff for both. I have nothing against pink in particular, just the showers of princessy stuff.

allegrageller and lenin I agree about the two markets thing. But I'm not sure its sinister in the sense of a conspiracy, more sinister in the sense that most marketing is sinister. Marketing mostly tries to create a need that we didn't know we had. I recently read Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy and she pretty convincingly argues that the Jordan-a-like model of female is one which is guaranteed to spend a lot of money. I'm afraid I've rather let down the British economy by not doing anything to my hair, not wearing make-up and rarely buying new outfits.

LRD that's fascinating about the children's bones thing. A study came out in Nature a few years back (I'll look it out at work tomorrow and post a link) that showed that adults played differently with babies dressed in pink or blue regardless of the baby's actual gender. Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender has lots on this.

EllieG Mon 18-Jul-11 20:59:10

DD2 is 3 and already tells me firmly that boys can't wear dresses and don't like pink because pink is for girls. I blame nursery. I correct her but is a losing battle. Despite the conditioning though she is built like a tank and more tiger than princess, so I'm quite confident that her natural assertiveness ain't too squashed yet grin

minxofmancunia Mon 18-Jul-11 21:24:45

dd is obsessed with pink and dresses, totally influenced by nursery, she's nearly 5. I don't fight it too much, i've wasted too much cash on funky jeans and cool red/white blue/white stripy tops that she point blank refuses to wear. I just try to make sure it's not too "frilly" ie stripy pink simple cotton dresses etc.

ds is nearly 2 and massively influnced by his big sister, he loves pink including pink and traditional "girl" toys. yesterday they'd been playing and he emerged from her bedroom with a pink hairband on, lip gloss and a sparkly handbag grin. He's built like a little tank with red curly hair and huge blue eyes, I don't care personally what he chooses to play with he always looks gorgeous smile and it's funny when he does it in front of MiL and she tuts and says "that's a bit of a worry" wink

minxofmancunia Mon 18-Jul-11 21:26:58

what I can't stand is the bloody disney princess marketing machine, after swearing I'd have none of the bloody stuff in my house ever, dds dressing up box is full of the bloody stuff!! I hate it!

notquitenormal Mon 18-Jul-11 21:27:37

I think girls like pink because it is a bright, warm, sunny colour. And children like that sort of thing. Ditto sparkley shit. I expect that, in a judgement free environment, boys like pink and sparkles just as much.

It's DS's favourite colour...he's always been drawn to it. His favourite thing in the world is his pink helicopter. Though it'll probably change the day he starts school and he learns that pink is for girls.

suzikettles Mon 18-Jul-11 21:32:50

Children like pink. Especially bright pink. Especially if it's also sparkly. Especially if it's also synthetic tat ime.

But many small boys are told it's not for them from the earliest age while many girls are encouraged to like it.

I genuinely don't believe there's anything innate about liking the colour pink, however our society has very fixed ideas about what are the "right" colours for the genders to like.

suzikettles Mon 18-Jul-11 21:33:24

Yeah, wot notquitenormal said grin

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