LGBTQ* Quick Queer History
Color Me Gender
Can You Name The Famous Child of American History Above?
Above sits Franklin D. Roosevelt. Yes, as in the 32nd President of United States of America. This picture of Roosevelt was snapped in 1884 when FDR was 2 ½ years old. During this time in American culture it was a common practice for young boys to wear dresses until they were 6 or 7 years old.
Yes. Dresses were considered gender neutral clothing and colors were not directed towards males or females. Pastel colors started to be marketed more heavily for children in the mid-19th century without distinction towards any particular gender. It wasn’t until after World War I that businesses started marketing colors towards specific assigned genders.
During the turn of the 20th century, around the late 1910s, some companies started to market specific colors. At this time, blue was marketed to young girls and red to young boys. Historically, blue is attributed more often to women, such as in representations of the goddess or the Virgin Mary and pink was often attributed to men as a color of power and war.
With a pinch of irony, the raging Flapper movement introduced mainstream consumers to gender assigned clothing. By 1927, blue was being marketed to young boys and pink to young girls.
The practice is less than 90 years old. So next time your grandparents or parent comment on how you are dressed or the color scheme of your closet, you can simply reply that you are living like your grandparents/great-grandparents did when they were children – without boundries.
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