Unformatted text preview: er this way .
Easier, that is, unless y ou want to buy y our daughter something that isn’t pink. Girls’ obsession
with that color may seem like something they ’re born with, like the ability to breathe or talk on
the phone for hours on end. But according to Jo Paoletti, an associate professor of American
studies at the Univ ersity of Mary land, it ain’t so. When colors were first introduced to the
nursery in the early part of the 20th century , pink was considered the more masculine hue, a
pastel v ersion of red. Blue, with its intimations of the Virgin Mary , constancy and faithfulness,
was thought to be dainty . Why or when that switched is not clear, but as late as the 1 930s a
significant percentage of adults in one national surv ey held to that split. Perhaps that’s why so
many early Disney heroines — Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty , Wendy , Alice- in- Wonderland — are
swathed in v ary ing shades of azure. (Purple, incidentally , may be the nex t color to swap teams:
once the realm of kings and N.F.L. play ers, it is fast becoming the bolder girl’s v ersion of pink.)
I t wasn’t until the mid- 1 980s, when amplify ing age and sex differences became a key strategy
of children’s marketing (recall the emergence of “ ’tween”), that pink became seemingly innate
to girls, part of what defined them as female, at least for the first few y ears. T hat was also the
time that the first of the generation raised during the unisex phase of feminism — ah, hither
Marlo! — became parents. “T he kids who grew up in the 1 970s wanted sharp definitions for their own kids,” Paoletti told me. “I can understand that, because the unisex thing denied
ev ery thing — y ou couldn’t be this, y ou couldn’t be that, y ou had to be a neutral nothing.”
T he infatuation with the girlie girl certainly could, at least in part, be a reaction against the socalled second wav e of the women’s mov ement of the 1 960s and ’70s (the first wav e was the
fight for suffrage), which fought for reproductiv e rights and economic, social and legal equality .
I f nothing else, pink and Princess hav e resuscitated the...
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This document was uploaded on 02/17/2014 for the course ENG 101 at Roosevelt.
- Spring '12