It is possible that nobody actually noticed, but I have been on a blogging hiatus again. If anyone is curious what I have been up to … let’s just say I took a very looooooooooooooooong nap. As is often the case when one does a Rip Van Winkle, one tends to miss the details of life passing by, so there are few amusing anecdotes to share (unless you consider a multiple week nap an amusing anecdote). But in one of the few minutes I actually maintained consciousness and even left my cave, I witnessed a conversation between some friends that kind of stuck with me, percolating around in my napping mind and finally bubbling to the surface a few days back when I decided it was time to wake up and do some creating again.
We live in a world that tries to categorize everything and everyone. We seem to think that if we label things appropriately they will conform to our idea of how things should behave. And being the sheep that most of us are, these labels seem to mysteriously work. Some of the categories can actually be useful, while others are just a way to control something. For instance the illusion that gender is defined by certain roles is downright silly in the modern word (even if it made a certain biological sense when our ancestors decided to drop down from the trees).
So why do we insist on color coding our kids?
The conversation that put this question in my head was a rather “old-fashioned” “young” republican type saying that if he had a son who actually liked the color pink he would lay down the law and say “No, it’s blue for you boy!” Who actually decided that pink means girls and blue means boys? And that if you are a boy who likes pink you will probably “choose” to be homosexual (don’t get me started on that!)? Is this definition a cultural thing or what? I do remember when I was in China and I wore a pink T-shirt I happened to randomly pack, I was suddenly very popular among certain Chinese men, so it is not just a Western thing.
Fortunately, there is this cool thing called Google.
So I asked the god Google why pink for girls and blue for boys, and found out that Google was just as curious as I am. There is some evidence that there is a biological basis. Some studies show that women seem to prefer reds, and men seem to prefer blues and greens. But the actual color coding thing is a modern creation. Until the early 1900’s, infants mostly were put in white. Color coding started early last century. But the real irony is that at first many went with pink for boys and blue for girls. The current “rules” didn’t start until the end of WWII.
Basically the answer I am taking away from praying to Google is that no one really knows for sure why pink=girls and blue=boys, and the culturally “defined” status quo is really a load of hogwash (Ooooh. Another post? Why is hogwash hogwash anyway?)
This should certainly make life easier for color blind people!