Got a women’s fashion catalog in the mail today that features a ‘boyfriend couture’ section. This is clothing modeled after men’s wear, stuff like: boyfriend jeans, boyfriend sweaters, and a whole bunch of boyfriend T shirts.
I guess it all springs from the tendency chicks have of wearing their mate’s clothing. You know, like that scene in so many rom coms, when the girl walks in the room wearing her boyfriend’s shirt – and little else. (Here’s a cute one of Audrey Hepburn, for instance.)
Isn’t it funny how females in our culture can cross-dress and no one bats an eye? Take these boy shorts, for example. Personally, I think boy shorts are cute. I even own a pair or two. That said, can you imagine how freaked out people would be if – over in the men’s section – there were ‘girl panties’ for sale?
It’s perfectly acceptable to be a tomboy and dress kinda masculine, but how many tomgirls do you know? (Aside from Eddie Izzard, which is where I first heard the term.) No one’s gonna question my sexuality based on how I dress – but they might question my taste.
Elizabeth McLung, who tends the blog called Screw Bronze, posted a wonderful essay about the history of “pink for girls and blue for boys” in our culture in an article entitled, Pink is for boys: Girls as pirates, boys in pink and princess dresses. Here are a couple teaser quotes
from her article:
Sunday Sentinel in 1914 told American mothers: “If you like the colour note on the little one’s garments, use pink for the boy and blue for the girl, if you are a follower of convention.”
‘Follower of convention,’? Times have changed, haven’t they? Also from Elizabeth’s article:
From the Guardian, in 1918 the Ladies’ Home Journal wrote: “There has been a great diversity of opinion on the subject, but the generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. The reason is that pink being a more decided and stronger colour is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”
‘Pink for the boy and blue for the girl,’ eh? Tell that to today’s playground bullies. Of course, over in Italy, I saw plenty of men wearing pink shirts and even pink pants, and I gotta say – it looked great. (Italians love to dress up, which makes people-watching quite entertaining on the boot.)
Elizabeth offers the following explanation as to why the original tradition existed:
But traditionally, pink is for boys, and blue for girls, as it still is in Belgium. One likely explanation I have found is that pink is a more juvenile version of RED, the manly color of MARS, and WAR – while light blue, feminine and tasteful is associated with the Virgin Mary (traditionally shown wearing pale blue and the embodiment of feminine attributes).
It’s still not clear to me when our culture switched the pink and blue around, however. Do any of you know?