color gender identity & the toothbrush mix-up

Recently, Chase and I opened a new two-pack of toothbrushes, one blue and one purple. It was a day before we realized that wed both assumed ours was the purple one. Logically (if you can apply logic to this situation) youd think I would choose the blue, and Chase, the purple, those being our respective favorite colors. Well, Chases favorite color is actually grey, but I dont think they make grey toothbrushes. Anyway. Why, in this situation, did I so readily conclude that the blue one belonged to Chase? Because, to me, the blue one looked like the Boy Toothbrush. Isnt that stupid?! 

Jake and His Blue Things 2006
When I was pregnant, I was adamantly opposed to the whole business of blue for boys and pink for girls, because I think thats silly and anyone should be able to wear whatever color they want, and Ive had no trouble acquiring all sorts of different colored clothing for Felix (thank you, american apparel baby). But no matter how I try to approach the situation from an objective and gender-neutral standpoint, I cant help but think that that purple toothbrush looks like a girl, and the blue one looks like her toothbrush boyfriend. 

Dayeun and Her Pink Things 2007
Its made me think back to The Pink & Blue Project (the source of these images), an ongoing photographic study in color gender identity begun by photographer JeongMee Yoon in 2005.  Here I learned that in fact, pink used to be a boy color, and blue a girl color and that, ironically, switching their associations was originally a 20th century attempt at promoting gender equality. Clearly, that didnt work out too well; instead, the girl-pink/boy-blue association is much stronger now than the dichotomy it replaced. 

Seyoon and His Blue Things 2007
I dont know how purple got caught up in the mix, and its not always strictly a girl color, its true. But when you pair it with blue, as in the case of the toothbrush mix up, it automatically looks feminine to me. And also, I dont know why I should see my toothbrush as a mini inanimate version of myself, but apparently, I do. Strange. Foolish!

Noelle and Her Pink & Purple Things 2006

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