Pink is a colour that is typically associated with femininity and girlhood. From baby clothes to princess costumes, pink has become a ubiquitous colour in products marketed towards girls. But how did pink become “a girly colour” in the first place?

The history of pink is a fascinating one. The colour pink, as we know it today, did not exist until the 18th century. Prior to that, there was no specific term for the colour. Instead, the colour we now know as pink was simply a lighter shade of red.

In the 18th century, a new pigment called “rose madder” was discovered. This pigment was made from the roots of the madder plant and produced a vibrant pink colour. Rose madder quickly became popular among artists and designers, and pink began to emerge as a distinct colour.

However, at this time, pink was not associated with femininity or girlhood. In fact, pink was often considered a masculine colour. This is because it was a lighter shade of red, which was seen as a powerful and bold colour.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century that pink began to be associated with girls. One theory is that this association began with a marketing campaign by clothing manufacturers. In the early 1900s, it became popular to dress young boys and girls alike in white dresses. However, white dresses were difficult to keep clean, and so manufacturers began to produce dresses in other colours.

Pink was one of the colours that became popular for girls’ dresses. In 1918, an article in Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department claimed that pink was “a more decided and stronger colour” and therefore more appropriate for boys, while blue, which was “more delicate and dainty,” was better suited for girls. However, this association did not become firmly established until later in the 20th century.

The association of pink with femininity and girlhood was further reinforced in the post-World War II era, when baby boomers began to have children of their own. Baby clothes and toys became increasingly gendered, with pink becoming a dominant colour for girls’ products.

Today, pink is still widely associated with femininity and girlhood. However, this association is not universal. In some cultures, pink is not seen as a gendered colour at all, and is instead associated with luck or prosperity.

In conclusion, the history of pink and its association with femininity and girlhood is a complex one. While it may have started as a marketing ploy, it has become deeply ingrained in our culture. However, it’s important to remember that colours do not have inherent gendered meanings – they are assigned meaning by our society and culture.