Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America

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Indiana University Press, Feb 6, 2012 - Social Science - 183 pages
“An insightful analysis of the origins, transformations and consequences of gender distinctions in children’s dress over the last 125 years.” —Daniel Thomas Cook, author of The Commodification of Childhood
Jo B. Paoletti’s journey through the history of children’s clothing began when she posed the question, “When did we start dressing girls in pink and boys in blue?” To uncover the answer, she looks at advertising, catalogs, dolls, baby books, mommy blogs and discussion forums, and other popular media to examine the surprising shifts in attitudes toward color as a mark of gender in American children’s clothing. She chronicles the decline of the white dress for both boys and girls, the introduction of rompers in the early 20th Century, the gendering of pink and blue, the resurgence of unisex fashions, and the origins of today’s highly gender-specific baby and toddler clothing.
“A fascinating piece of American social history.” —Library Journal
“An engrossing cultural history of parenthood, as well as childhood.” —Worn Through

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About the author (2012)

Jo B. Paoletti is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland.

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