Have you ever wondered why do girls like pink? What makes most young girls love pink instead of naming other colours as their favourite?
As modern, enlightened parents, we try our best to break gender stereotypes that persist to this day: girls like pink, boys like blue, girls like dolls, boys like trucks, and so on.
But when it comes to gender-based colour preferences, it looks like there’s little we can do about it, according to science.
Girls Like Pink: It’s Encoded in Their Genes
According to a study published in Current Biology, women are biologically programmed to like the colour pink more than men, and the reason can be traced right back to prehistoric times!
Neuroscientists at Newcastle University, U.K., conducted a colour-selection experiment with 206 volunteers. Participants were shown a series of paired, coloured rectangles on a screen that were controlled for lightness, saturation and hue.
Then, they were asked to move a mouse cursor as fast as they could to the colour they liked the most.
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Each participant did three separate tests. They also participated in a retest after two weeks.
The results were quite interesting. In general, all people liked blue (which has been known for some time). But the women chose redder shades of blue (reddish-purple) while males preferred bluish-green.
In order to eliminate the cultural preference for colours in the results, researchers also included Chinese volunteers, and still found the same male-female preferences.
“This is the first study to pinpoint a robust sex difference in the red-green axis of human colour vision,” says Yazhu Ling, co-author of the study.
But what is perhaps most interesting is the evolutionary nature of these results, which goes back to our prehistoric ancestors.
Girls Love Pink Since Ancient Times
Scientists connected the historical reasons why girls seem to naturally like the colour pink. They traced the habit of making girls love pink started in ancient times.
Back then, people considered the main role of women (and girls) to revolve around food gathering. Meanwhile, they expect all men to hunt and provide.
Back in prehistoric times and even after that, berries and fruits were a staple food of many hunter-gatherer communities.
These fruits, when ripe, have pinkish/purplish undertones. At that time, scientists theorised that women developed better colour vision than men.
Connecting Girls Loving Pink to Gathering Fruits
They easily spotted these ripe fruits in thick forests or undercover. In other words, they became biologically hard-wired to spot pinks and reds.
There’s yet another theory, this time, related to emotions and motherhood. Between women and men, it’s accepted that the former more easily express their emotions than the latter.
When this happens, they flush or blush, and their skin turns pink. It’s the same with crying or sick babies who flush and turn pink or blush pink when crying or if they have a fever.
Scientists believe females emotionally tune themselves to the feelings and emotions of others. This linked them as natural nurturers throughout history.
Because of this, most women find themselves more sensitive to all shades of red, namely the colour pink. Interesting, right?
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Is It Possible to Break This Gendered Colour Code?
Now that we know why girls like pink, should we just go along with gendered colour preferences anyway? No, and here’s why.
Convincing girls to love pink all time the time can give way to more serious social issues around gender and gender discrimination. They also might end up developing misogynistic thoughts because of the way we classify and differentiate pink colour from other shades.
Statements like “I can’t wear PINK! I’m not a girl” or “Ewww, no blue! Blue is for boys” put these colours in a negative light. Your kids might even be thinking of the following things:
- Girls are weak because pink is too feminine.
- Boys are better at maths than girls. Sports, too.
- Girls should learn how to cook and clean, boys don’t need to.
- You probably didn’t get this job because you are a woman, and it’s a male-centric industry
- Stay at home and care for the kids, mummy – that’s your most important role now.
Break Gender Colour Stereotypes With These Easy Steps
So, mothers and fathers, we need to start teaching our sons and daughters about the value of equality. Begin by creating a healthy relationship with different colours, not just pink or blue.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Pink and blue are simply colours, and that’s it. Teach your kids this. Boys can also wear pink and purple and girls can wear blue and black, too. It’s perfectly okay.
- Go gender-neutral with colours (e.g. in the kids’ bedroom) and toys whenever possible.
- Avoid saying things like, “You can’t play soccer, it’s only for boys”, or “Dolls are for girls, let’s get you this monster truck instead.”
- Divide household chores equally among your sons and daughters. Boys and girls both will benefit from learning how to cook, wash and fold clothes and keep a clean house.
- Don’t excuse behaviour or use language that promotes gender stereotypes. For example, “boys will be boys”.
Creating a Healthy Relationship With the Colour Pink
Even if you’re raising a son and a daughter, we encourage you to create a healthy relationship with the colour pink. Allow your children to naturally love the colour by buying different-coloured items.
If you notice your boys or girls love pink, we suggest you expose them to other colours that complement their favourites. Start this by learning what colours go with pink clothes and avoid buying all-pink attire.
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Determining What Colours Go With Pink Clothes
Once you determine why your boys or girls love pink, we urge you to style their clothes in different shades of pink. Don’t limit their clothing to certain pink tones like pastel or hot pink.
Instead, find what colours go with pink clothes that you already bought for your kids. As an alternative, you can buy or pair pink clothing with the colours we mention below:
Aside from associating the pink colour with girls and the blue colour with boys, the two shades naturally go well together. Despite being deemed as opposites, pink and blue go well together in almost all styles of clothing.
Match them by choosing one lighter and one darker shade of each. Below are some suggestions:
- Navy Blue and Fuchsia
- Aqua Blue and Lush Pink
- Dark Blue and Baby Pink
Neutrals (Black, Beige)
You can never go wrong with pairing pink clothes with neutral like black and beige. These tones highlight whatever type of pink clothing you’re wearing.
Additionally, they also go well with other colours in your closet. Here are some pairing suggestions:
- Old Rose and Black
- Dusty Pink and Black
- Coral Pink and Beige
- Cherry Blossom Pink and Beige
When it comes to finding what colours go with pink clothes, purple is usually one of the most known suggestions. We also often associate this colour with royalty or elegance.
Because of this. pairing both shades in clothes emits both femininity and confidence. Below are some great colour combinations of the two shades:
- Hot Pink and Lavender
- Rose Pink and Dark Purple
- Pastel Pink and Periwinkle Purple
This article was updated by Kaira De la Rosa.