Thursday, 20 September 2012

Colours for boys and girls

A long time ago, I blogged about boy food and girl food. I discovered last week that there are other seemingly gender neutral things around us that actually lean heavily towards being either male or female. Who would have thought?

Recently, I became involved in a conversation between a man and a woman trying to order a diary.
She: What type do you want?
He: I don't know. One about this big, I guess. [Gesturing.]
She: Is that A4 or A5? Which is bigger?
(Turns out he wants A5.)
She: OK, now, what colour do you want?
He: I don't know. What colours are there?
She: Have a look at the catalogue.
He: [Browsing catalogue and mumbling.] Chocolate? Why don't they just say 'brown'? I bet this is to get women buying brown diaries.
Me: Mmm, chocolate ...
He: How about this – WTF colour is fooksia?
Me: Huh? How do you spell it?
He: F-U-C-H-S-I-A.
Me: Oh, fuchsia! That's bright pink.
He: Well, why don't they just say 'pink' instead of *expletive deleted* fooksia, or whatever it is? Men would get that and stay away, but women want fancy names for things so they label 'green' as 'lawn' and 'dark blue' as 'midnight'. Ridiculous!

It was at this stage that someone else mentioned that only a woman can classify and progressively order 50 shades of white and cream. (Don’t mention grey.)

He has a point, though. Thankfully, the days of blue for boys and pink for girls are (largely) long gone, but at what point did pink become fooksia? When did red become 'flame' and blue 'sky', 'powder' or 'periwinkle'? Perhaps these shades were there all along and we have just become better at noticing them? Or is it clever marketing?

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