Today, we're still in the midst of a society that firmly seems to believe that blue is for boys and pink is for girls. Just check out any retail store's infant and toddler section, or the toy aisle. Even things like toothpaste are manufactured in handy, color-coded packages so parents can tell whether it's suitable for a boy or a girl… and when you look at it that way, it's a little ridiculous. Recent gender studies are trying to get to the bottom of just why this is still a thing, but it's something of a chicken-or-the-egg scenario. Do we assign genders these colors because that's what they like, or do they gravitate toward these colors because that's what they're dressed in, and that's what they see their peers doing?
One study, done in 2011, offered babies the choice between two nearly identical objects. One was pink, the other wasn't. When they were a year old, there was no difference in the number that would choose pink or the other color. By the time they were 2 years old, many more girls were choosing pink. By 4, the gender divide was evident on both sides, with most boys now refusing the pink item. Another study did the same thing, by separating a group of 3- to 5-year-olds into two different shirt colors. Each was told that their shirt color was best, and three weeks later there was a clear divide there, too. Kids that wore blue shirts picked blue items, and kids that wore red shirts gravitated toward red.
Recent studies have also found that associating pink with a strict femininity might be in the process of backfiring. The Erasmus University Rotterdam found that when breast cancer awareness charities solicited for donations with all-pink flyers and advertisements, they were less likely to get donations. They posited that women resented the implication that pink was "their" color, and that made them refuse the cause. That's one theory, and it makes a bit more sense than another that tried to make sense of why women tended to prefer red more than men. That particular theory said that women were hard-wired to favor red, dating back to our hunter-gatherer days. Berries are red, and the more women were drawn to the color, the easier it was to find the berries. That might seem like a bit of a stretch, but that's science for you!