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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 153 > Tickled pink

Tickled pink

Martha Roberts, creator of The Colour File, investigates how colour makes us think, act and feel. Let’s indulge our love of pink – which has fewer feminine connotations than you may realise

living colour


The story goes that, not so long ago, pink was for boys and blue was for girls. A 1918 trade publication confirmed this was the ‘generally accepted rule’ because pink was ‘stronger’ and blue more ‘delicate and dainty’(think the Virgin Mary). However, factors such as the popularity of blue sailors’ suits for boys and the mass availability of fabric dye put an end to all children wearing only white, and meant that, by the 1950s, the colour-gender divide was established, says Kassia St Clair in her book, The Secret Lives Of Colour (John Murray, £20). Whatever the situation, pink is seen as powerful: recent research found that items such as pink pens and razors marketed at women are almost 40 per cent more expensive – the so-called ‘pink premium’ or ‘pastel tax’ – than those marketed at men. But how does the colour pink make us feel?

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About Psychologies

We encourage you to fall in love with life, to get out of your head and into nature. Spring is officially here and we’re encouraging you to try a ‘micro-adventure’ –  a 24-hour foray outside into the fresh air whether it’s walking in the hills, or sleeping under the stars. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and fed up of slaving to support a lifestyle that doesn’t make you happy, then read how decluttering and minimalism can help you start creating a life based on values, not things in our  dossier. Join our month-long Psychologies Decluttering Challenge with expert Cait Flanders, author of The Year Of Less, who will coach us on how to simplify our lives.