color war

Pink Was Formerly a Bro Shade

Photo: okeyphotos/Getty Images

There’s a shocking and shattering exposé at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, revealing truths difficult to accept. Pink — the color for girlish tendencies, the formally anointed shade for girl things — was actually once a color for men. Believe it, if you dare. If you even can.

Pink as a color for girls is “a post–World War II phenomenon” says curator and truth-speaker Michelle Finamore. NPR, brave and commendable pigment-news outlet, writes:

Before Gatsby, a 1918 trade catalog for children’s clothing recommended blue for girls. The reasoning at the time was that it’s a “much more delicate and dainty tone,” Finamore says. Pink was recommended for boys “because it’s a stronger and more passionate color, and because it’s actually derived from red.”

Are you at the edge of your seat? Are you wondering what happened next? Well, the reporting gets a little fuzzy (conspiracy?). Basically: Swish, swish, pink full-skirted Dior gown, pink-clad Disney princesses, and all of a sudden red-plus-white became a girlish juggernaut hue that everyone was rude about. This fact has remained the truth since always, and yet also remained a source of continual, mind-blowing astonishment. Okay, everyone return to forgetting this now!

Pink Was Formerly a Bro Shade