Why are men so hesitant to wear pink? Every time I have worn a pink shirt, I have received nothing but compliments from the ladies. And the men have always said “It looks good on you but I don’t think I can wear that color, it is kinda girly.” Who decided this for us?
For ages now, we have associated the color pink with girls and blue with boys. All of this sets in at the time of the child’s birth and, in countries that allow gender determination pre-birth by ways of balloons or cup cakes used for the reveal.
The above comment was left on my YouTube Channel where a subscriber was worried about the hit of “red” on the Yeezy Boost 350 V2, appearing “pink” in broad daylight. You should excuse him for thinking the color pink is “gay” or “girly” as much as you should, his display image being Morgan Freeman. But his comment is what fuelled this post, which opens up a very interesting debate for us to take up.
The subject is interesting more so because, in the last 18-24 months everyone has been talking about gender norms and discrimination, calling for gender equality / recognition of the 3rd gender and all of that. It is surprising that nobody addresses this inherent problem. The problem, where we put this thought in infants and people around us, that a girl should love pink and a boy should love blue. We tell them from a very early age that discrimination is alright, although it might be as basic a thing as the color of toys and clothes. We buy baby girls barbie dolls and kitchen sets, whereas baby boys get hot wheel cars and guns.
My 6 year old niece visited me from Malaysia last month. I got her what any loving uncle would, a black G-Shock watch! Because, why not?! I don’t need to get a pink pencil box / stationery set just because society thinks that is apt for her age or gender!
These norms apparently have their origin post World War 2. Until then interestingly enough, the color association was reversed with pink for boys and blue for girls. Allegedly because pink being a stronger color was more suited for boys and blue being a dainty color worked well with girls. See the problem in that association as well?
Evidently humans like gender normalisation. Although that is changing slowly, a vast majority still follow the set precedents of society. And because humans crave gender normalisation, this only fed mass marketing activities. Brands were able to convince buyers, that genders associate with colors.
What better way to help mass production and sales looking at birth trends?!
Another school of thought blames the French (why does everyone do that?)! France set the world of fashion in motion as we know it today, and traditional French color associates Pink to Girls and Blue to boys. So they allegedly influenced the rest of the world to be biased towards the color palette.
I would personally be intrigued in learning if gender-color bias has any biological contributors? Do different genders react differently to the color spectrum? There is no concrete research in this area as of today. Unless I missed something, in which case please do let me know in the comments.
All of this aside, I wonder if historians in the future would look back at our generations, and laugh at the fact that we allowed something as basic as a color dictate if we could be considered feminine or masculine.
As for me, you should know by now I don’t really care. I just added 4 pink tees and a pink themed sneaker to my wardrobe. Because a real man / woman, does not let a color dictate their outfit choice!
What about you? Being a man, would you try on some pink now to assert your confidence and independent thinking? I know a lot of ladies who love powder blue, so will not ask them about it. Haha. And as for the third gender, more power to you!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Sneakers – AntiSocial Social Club X Vans X Dover Street Market Sk8 High
Pants – XBYO joggers from adidas Originals
Wallet – Comme De Garcon X Supreme
Watch – Omega Seamaster
Glares – Off White X Warby Parker
Socks – Stance
Tees – AntiSocial Social Club, Obey, Carhartt WIP
Unboxing Video of the AntiSocial Social Club X Vans X Dover Street Market sneaker.