“Nowadays people just have to know the sex of a baby or young child at first glance.” The author of the article on Smithsonian.com means, of course, that boys wear blue, while girls wear pink. But it wasn’t always that way. Jo. B. Paoletti, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland and author of Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America, to be published later this year, says:
“For centuries children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6. What was once a matter of practicality … became a matter of ‘Oh my God, if I dress my baby in the wrong thing, they’ll grow up perverted”.
As a matter of fact, “pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I”. The present-day color associations also weren’t accepted immediately. For instance, in 1927 Time magazine informed its readers that leading U.S. stores in Boston, New York City, Cleveland and Chicago “told parents to dress boys in pink”.
“Today’s color dictate wasn’t established until the 1940s, as a result of Americans’ preferences as interpreted by manufacturers and retailers.”
Source: When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? By Jeanne Maglaty
In great-grandma’s time, little kids went around un-gendered