“It’s only been within the last 50 years or so that it’s really come down hard on ‘Pink is for girls,” (author Lynn) Peril says.
“Even in the late ’50s, pink was a fashion color that was for men or for women. So you had Elvis wearing awesome pink shirts and pink suits
and driving a pink Cadillac, because pink is the ‘it’ color of 1955.
It’s probably not until after that people started getting into the idea
that pink is ‘for girls only.’ And now that’s the only thing that it
Peril says this particular version of “femininity” was borne out of the end of World War II.
“After the war, you had this huge rush of consumerism, and the economy
was just humming along,” she says. “But returning vets needed jobs. So
middle-class women—who had worked in factories during the war—were being
not-so-gently prodded to focus on their roles as homemakers and wives.
And manufacturers were willing to give them all kinds of new products to
make them happy in the home, whether it was washers and dryers or
beautiful pink Princess phones.”
Pink Think seems to have re-emerged in the new millennium with the
popularity of the Disney Princess line for little girls and even
“pinkified” products for adults like tool kits and ballpoint pens.
Feminist writer Lynn Peril, the author of Pink Think: Becoming a Woman in Many Uneasy Lessons,
explains that mid-century manufacturers realized that if you take an
ordinary object, turn it pink and put the word “Lady” in front of the
name, then you’ve created a product “for women” that can be sold for
more money. Peril coined the term “Pink Think” to describe this
particular phenomenon, which she defines as “a group-think about what
constitutes ‘proper’ female behavior.”
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