Pink and Blue

Pink and Blue

Telling the Boys from the Girls in America
Jo B. Paoletti
Distribution: World
Publication date: 03/25/2013
Format: Paperback 18 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-00985-2
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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.

Author Bio

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


“Pink and Blue challenges the cultural panic over how children’s clothing affects gender and sexual identity. Paoletti shatters myths about what girls and boys 'naturally' like, and does so with details that will fascinate both the casual and professional reader. ”
 — Peggy Orenstein, Author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter

“Pink and Blue is an interdisciplinary tour de force. Readers will never again take gendered children’s fashion for granted. ”
 — Susan B. Kaiser, Author of The Social Psychology of Children

“Paoletti delivers an insightful analysis of the origins, transformations and consequences of gender distinctions in children’s dress over the last 125 years. . . . A must-read.”
 — Daniel Thomas Cook, Author of The Commodification of Childhood

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