Talk of Nazi Germany is probably the last thing anyone expected to see in a piece on gender-specific colors, but there's a certain rumor floating around on the internet that suggests pink became associated with ideas of femininity when the Nazis assigned gay prisoners incarcerated in concentration camps a pink triangle to identify them. The prisoners were called "die Rosa-Winkel", and countless of such prisoners died during World War II. Rudolf Brazda, the last known Pink Triangle survivor (pictured here), died in France on August 3, 2011.
In her book, Paoletti doesn't even address the idea that this has something to do with the development of the association between pink and femininity. She does write on the topic, though, debunking it as a complete myth for a few reasons. Pink had already been associated with girls in a shift that started throughout the 1930s. In the years during and after the war, it was still taboo to be gay and that made it something that marketing and advertising departments were unlikely to seize upon as a promotional campaign. The symbolism of the pink triangle was brushed under the carpet of history for a long time, too, and it wasn't until around 25 years after the end of the war that the story went mainstream with the 1979 play Bent, starring Ian McKellan. The general public wasn't even aware of the idea, and in spite of the fact that the story circulates now, she says it's most definitely not true.