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
The Manly History of the Color Pink
Pink is used as a color to represent females, but it wasn't always that way.   (PRNewsFoto/Women On The Move)

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.
(Read more pink stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.