Pink is a girl color

Our boy may be the only one in the group, but having 8 sisters has certainly cemented certain concepts in his little noggin.  Mainly concepts relating to color.

This morning, I was looking for a cup to give him some cocoa.  His blue cup with the cars on it was dirty, so I reached for a tumbler and tried the lid for compatability.  It took some work, but it fit!  As I looked up in triumph, I caught him watching in consternation.  I looked down.  The cup in my hand was pink.

“Mom, that’s a girl cup.”

I nodded guiltily and found a blue one.

OK, maybe the nod  wasn’t a guilty one, but the story certainly sounds better that way, right? I was reminded of what one of hubby’s coworkers told me last week:

The boy went to work with his dad recently (a rare and exciting event!) and he was watching one of the guys cut down empty boxes with a faded red pocketknife.  Faded red looks a lot like pink, I guess.  As their eyes met, our boy voiced his opinion:

“Mr. Horn, you have a girl knife!”

Actually, it sounded more like, “Mistew Hone, you have a ghoul knife,” but Mr. Hone knew exactly what he meant.

He now knows several colors, with very little coaching on our part: Red, because he wears it a lot.  White, and I don’t know why.  Pink, because it’s a girl color.  We’ll be working on subtilty and tact someday, but for now I’m pleased that – unlike much of modern American society – he recognizes a clear difference between the genders.


  1. Brooke says:

    Perhaps girls don’t whine when given a blue cup because they aren’t teased as much as boys about the colors that they choose to like. It seems that our society isn’t as tough on girls if they choose a “boy” color. However, if a boy chooses a “girl” color or plays with a “girl” toy it isn’t as easily accepted. It is a shame that chilren feel the pressure of society at such a young age. Who says that pink is a girl color anyway?

  2. That is so cute!! Nothing like living with a bunch of women to train a boy to never use- or touch- anything pink (or purple according to my son) – why is it that the girls don’t whine when given a blue bowl or cup??!!

  3. Kids are actually very good at knowing that boys and girls are different. You should see the hallabaloo when there is more than one “mummy” or “daddy” in the homecorner at work (I’m a kinder teacher). One of my co-workers once suggested that one of the boys could be a mummy. The kids looked at her like she was mental.

    I suggested that they have two dads, one of whom is visiting for dinner. The kids looked at me like I was a genius.

  4. Meredith,
    We used to do that a lot too, until we had so many children it became hard to find things in enough colors.
    The girls used to learn the colors by the names of their sisters rather than the name of the color: “That’s Lydia’s color!”

  5. Meredith_in_Aus says:

    Too cute!

    We colour-code around here. It has really helped with learning colours – especially now we have (as of Friday 12/12) SEVEN different colours. Around 2, each of the children has begun associating sibling colours with the colour names. Eg. That towel is Lincoln’s colour; Lincoln’s colour is called “green.”

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Coghlan family.

    In Him


  6. I love it! Stephen who is the 7th child, and 4th boy feels the same way. This pink/purple thing started when he was 2 and still carries on today at 6! Like your BOY, it started with cups, not wanting to drink from his older sisters pink OR purple cup…to funny! Really I think they are very bright boys!

  7. That may be so. In the past and even now in many cultures it is the men who carried purses and wore skirts.
    That doesn’t make it a masculine choice here and now, in the modern USA, where they are recognized as feminine traits and practices.
    Don’t misunderstand me: I know masculine men who wear pink (and use pink knives).
    I’m simply happy that my boy recognizes that there are 2 distinct genders and is beginning, in his 2-year-old way, to sort through the differences.

  8. Did you know that once pink was a “boy color”?
    at least… that’s what I read


    a long time ago

    Wait. Let me look it up.
    Wikipedia says this (
    “In Western culture, the practice of assigning pink to an individual gender began in the 1920s.[4] From then until the 1940s, pink was considered appropriate for boys because it was the more masculine and decided color while blue was considered appropriate for girls because it was the more delicate and dainty color.[5][6] Since the 1940s, the societal norm apparently inverted so that pink became appropriate for girls and blue appropriate for boys, a practice that has continued into the 21st century.[7]”

Don't just think it: say it!

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