Fun Fact: Pink For Girls And Blue For Boys Didn’t Emerge Until 1940s

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Franklin Roosevelt. 1884.

Ever wonder who exactly decided that girls should wear pink and boys should wear blue? It turns out baby boomers were the first to be raised with today’s color dictate determined by advertisers and retailers, of course. Their parents and grandparents were dressed according to an exact opposite norm: boys wore pink and girls wore blue.

Prior to the 19th century, gender neutral clothing was the status quo. Just like little two and half year old FDR up there, boys and girls under the age of six wore white frilly clothes for practicality. All white garments, no matter what a tot did to them, could be bleached.

The notion that children’s clothes could somehow shape their gender development did not come about until right before World War I. Pink was considered a stronger color than blue, and therefore more befitting for a boys. Girls wore blue because the color was deemed more dainty and feminine for its era.

Dr. Jo B. Paoletti, American Studies professor and author of Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America told the Smithsonian magazine:

“One thing I can say now is that I’m not real keen on the gender binary—the idea that you have very masculine and very feminine things. The loss of neutral clothing is something that people should think more about. And there is a growing demand for neutral clothing for babies and toddlers now, too…There is a whole community out there of parents and kids who are struggling with ‘My son really doesn’t want to wear boy clothes, prefers to wear girl clothes.’ ”