Sunday, May 31, 2009


When did pink become a feminine color? I recently read a book set in the Georgian period, back during the time of powdered wigs, lavishly embroidered clothing in rich purples and reds, and high heeled shoes decorated with jewels. And that was the men's clothing. They carried beautifully painted fans, engraved and jeweled snuff boxes, had lace ruffled cuffs and carried beribboned canes. Oh, yes. They fought duels with real swords, rode horses, and er, gambled.

While I'm not advocating their lifestyle, I do find it curious that real men are only now daring to wear pastel colored shirts with their suits and it's still not acceptable for a boy to play with any thing that could remotely be called a doll. Why?

How can masculinity be determined by the color of clothing or a toy? My children grew up playing with dolls, trucks, Lincoln logs, and all sorts of sports equipment. They rode bikes, played baseball, went swimming, and climbed trees. Two boys. Two girls. Toys were share and share alike.

When we stop determining masculinity by clothing colors and toy types, then perhaps we'll have boys who grow up to be nurturing fathers and real men.



  1. My son grew up sharing toys with his sisters. He had his trucks, cars and video games too. He even wears pink dress shirts occasionally, which his gf buys for him. I think he's turned into a fine young man and will make a great father some day!

  2. Pink actually used to be a boy's color, because it's a shade of red--a man's color (blood, and all that)--and blue was a girl's color. The two were reversed relatively recently.

    So when you read about boys and men in pink in "olden times," they are not breaking any barriers or being less constrained by gender norms. It was as masculine then as blue or black is today. But dress a baby boy in pale blue, and people would have looked at them funny.

  3. GI Joe. My son had GI Joe action figures. Transformers. Go Bots. He-Man action figures. As my son says, these are considered "Action Figures." Boys don't want to dress them, they want to equip them with accessories and armaments. Dolls with a difference.

  4. At my house, Barbies dated GI Joes...