Pink was not always the color for girls, Blue was not always the color for boys

pink bathoom vintage kohlerReal men DO have pink bathrooms. You see, a university professor, Jo Paoletti of the University of Maryland, actually has done extensive academic research studying how it is that the color pink today has come to be associated with girls and the color blue, with boys. Seems like the shift did not begin until the beginning of the 20th century and even then, it took until after World War II for this yet-another gender distinction to become entrenched. Before that, parents used a variety of colors for their children’s clothing and rooms. So, in the 1930s, when pink bathrooms started to appear, I am surmising that pink did NOT mean girlie or effeminate — it just meant “lovely.” The University of Utah Press will publish Jo Paoletti’s monograph, Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America, in 2010. Ad: Kohler, 1954.


  1. By elizabeth gibbons on

    Pink for girls and blue for boys was a fad in France. They got over it in a couple of years but in the US we kept it.
    My grandmother had a completely pink single wide trailor in the early 60s. She was a widow and it was her favorite color. Everything in that house–counters, floor, carpet, bath fixtures, chenille bedspread, curtains, walls, etc. were either a light birchwood or pink. She had pink depression glass dishes and pink lace doilies and pink towels and pink lighting fixtures…

    I like your site but I was around in the 60s, growing up in 2 1960s ranch homes, and most houses were not much like what was in magazines and sales brochures. There was a lot of early american and other not-so-modern furniture. But there was pink, there was formica, there was the brick look linoleum and built in ovens and all that. The first couple seasons of Mad Men I loved looking at the drinking glasses and the toys –stuff from my childhood.
    I just bought a 1965 ranch that was partially updated in the early 90s. The baths are mostly original but yellow and tan tile.The kitchen French Provincial kitchen cabinets were replaced with oak and remounted in the garage. It is not a time capsule but a lot of the details are charming.
    The one I almost bought had the original knotty pine cabinets and black wrought iron look hardware and the original exhaust fan. That really took me back.

  2. By Allie on

    Did you know that pink was originally associated with boys because it’s closer to red, which is considered a more masculine color? And that blue was originally associated with girls because it evokes the Virgin Mary? Just an interesting fact that I thought pertained to your post!

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