The Manly History of the Color Pink

Believe it or not, baby boys used to wear pink, too
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2010 1:35 PM CST
Pink is used as a color to represent females, but it wasn't always that way.   (PRNewsFoto/Women On The Move)

(Newser) – If ever there was a color that stereotypically symbolized the feminine, it’s pink. But the history of the girly shade hasn’t always been so ladylike. Slate takes a look back:

  • Financial Times: Its salmon-pink pages have turned “salmon press” into British shorthand for any newspaper business section.
  • Boys' rowing: Teams at Eton and Westminster competed for the right to claim pink as their school color in the 19th century.
  • Nantucket Red: The shade, which looks a lot like pink, became popular for preppy men and women in 1945.

  • Macy's: Department stores started color-coding by gender in the late 1920s to discourage the use of hand-me-downs; Macy’s pushed pink as the boys’ color.
  • World War II: Japanese kamikaze planes featured cherry blossoms on their sides.
  • Cycling: The leader of Italy’s Giro d’Italia race wears a pink jersey.
  • Stocks: Pink-sheet stocks are thus named because their quotes were once printed on pink paper.
  • Feminists: Their 1970s backlash against pink actually cemented it as a “girl’s” color.

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