PDA

View Full Version : Stigma of men wearing pink in 1920's America?



Ed Panther
02-22-2012, 12:37 AM
What would the reaction be in the 1920's to a teenager/man wearing pink? Did it ever happen? Were they ridiculed or considered more feminine? Or was it just like any other color? Was there any sense of "real men wear pink"?

Also, would guys when talking to each other refer to each other as "Man"? Like, "Man, you are overreacting a little."?

I seem to remember dialogue in The Sun Also Rises (1926) using "man" in such a way, but I'm not completely sure. If not, what are terms of endearment they would use instead?

Thank you.

crunchyblanket
02-22-2012, 12:43 AM
I seem to remember reading that up until the 1940's, pink was considered a better colour for boys. Wiki backs me up on this:

An article in the trade publication Earnshaw's Infants' Department in June 1918 said: "The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl."[18] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink#cite_note-17) From then until the 1940s, pink was considered appropriate for boys because being related to red it was the more masculine and decided color, while blue was considered appropriate for girls because it was the more delicate and dainty color, or related to the Virgin Mary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Mary).[19] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink#cite_note-18)[20] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink#cite_note-19)[21] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink#cite_note-20) Since the 1940s, the societal norm was inverted; pink became considered appropriate for girls and blue (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_blue) appropriate for boys, a practice that has continued into the 21st century

IceCreamEmpress
02-22-2012, 12:53 AM
People saying "Man, what are you saying?" or whatever in The Sun Also Rises are the people whose dialogue is theoretically in Spanish. "Hombre, no me diga" was idiomatic Spanish in the early 20th century, whereas "Man, what are you saying?" was not idiomatic English in the early 20th century.

And pink was not considered a "girl's color" until the 1930s or so. The color that was associated with gay or effeminate men in the US in the 1920s was lavender.

Richard White
02-22-2012, 12:55 AM
It's not pink, damnit! It's salmon. *grin*

IceCreamEmpress
02-22-2012, 12:58 AM
Pink was considered a "baby" color, though, as was "baby blue". On the other hand, Gatsby's shirts in The Great Gatsby include "coral" and "apple green"...

Ed Panther
02-22-2012, 12:58 AM
People saying "Man, what are you saying?" or whatever in The Sun Also Rises are the people whose dialogue is theoretically in Spanish. "Hombre, no me diga" was idiomatic Spanish in the early 20th century, whereas "Man, what are you saying?" was not idiomatic English in the early 20th century.

And pink was not considered a "girl's color" until the 1930s or so. The color that was associated with gay or effeminate men in the US in the 1920s was lavender.

Do you know what words would be used for similar purposes as man? Maybe "buddy" or something like that?

Drachen Jager
02-22-2012, 01:34 AM
Buddy is a fairly new term in that context.

Murdoch Mysteries would be a good show for you to watch. Takes place around the same era.

'Man' was used in that sort of context, but not quite in the way you're using it, it should come at the end of the sentence. "What are you saying man?" It reads the same as current use, but it would be emphasized differently.

It also depends partly on where the speaker is from, and what his social background is. Language was not as homogeneous back then across social classes as it is now.

sk3erkrou
02-22-2012, 03:59 PM
Actually, pink was the color for baby boys and blue for baby girls up until WWII. This is when Hitler made the homosexual population wear pink triangles, and people started to associate the color with femininity, so there would be no more stigma to a man wearing pink in the 20's than there is for a man wearing blue now.

ArtsyAmy
02-24-2012, 06:51 PM
Actually, pink was the color for baby boys and blue for baby girls up until WWII. This is when Hitler made the homosexual population wear pink triangles, and people started to associate the color with femininity, so there would be no more stigma to a man wearing pink in the 20's than there is for a man wearing blue now.

I'd been told by my grandmother (who was born in the late 1890's) that when she was young, the baby boys wore pink, and baby girls wore blue. I've wondered about why that changed--had no idea the reason was related to Hitler.

As for a term for "man," I wonder if "mister" would have been used.

jaksen
02-24-2012, 07:11 PM
I've read that the color red was considered a more manly color, with its association with warriors, soldiers, blood, etc.

However in a time of unstable dyes, the color red would eventually fade out to a dark pink then a pink, upon repeating washings. You couldn't throw out your red shirt or cloak just because it had faded a little - and it was a sort of pink. So red, pink and all the hues related were considered 'masculine' colors.

The fact that pink became a more feminine color - I do not know why that happened and I am suspicious of the Hitler connection. (Not about the pink triangles, but about the color association changing because of it.)

And as for what men would use in replace of 'dude' or 'man,' why not try reading some books written in the 1920's, especially those which are conversation-rich. I know my grandfather often said, 'hey, fellow,' which sounded like "hey, feller,' and he was a young man in the 1920's. As he got older, it became 'young feller' or 'old feller' depending on to whom he was referring.

Alessandra Kelley
02-24-2012, 08:43 PM
Do you know what words would be used for similar purposes as man? Maybe "buddy" or something like that?

I've seen "say, fellah" as a sort of equivalent of the emphatic "man." But it's not used exactly the same way.

There's also "buddy" and "pal."

Polenth
02-24-2012, 10:59 PM
Given that pink was a baby boy colour, it'd seem an odd choice for teen boys/men. It's true that red fades, but that still has a different look to something purposefully dyed baby pink.

I could foresee a fair bit of teasing for being babyish.

horrorshowjack
02-25-2012, 02:27 AM
At least one WWII USAAF uniform had a pink shirt (http://www.alliedflightgear.com/USAAF%20uniforms.html). Drab, slightly greenish in some examples, but still "pinks and greens." Mickey Spillane remembered it fondly in interviews, and mentioned it was one of two biggest influences on his taste in clothing.

Bright colors were common in the later 20s. I think the responses he got would depend on his age, location and what class of people he associated with, rather than universal condemnation.

You probably have to hit the library on this one. Fashions changed rapidly that decade, and there's a lot involved in the question.

Captcha
02-25-2012, 02:54 AM
Tom Buchanan refuses to accept that Gatsby went to Oxford because Gatsby wears a pink suit. It wasn't considered feminine, according to my reading, but just garish and uncouth.

ETA: And, REALLY! A pink suit?!? I'm kind of with Buchanan on this one.

jaksen
02-25-2012, 07:04 PM
Given that pink was a baby boy colour, it'd seem an odd choice for teen boys/men. It's true that red fades, but that still has a different look to something purposefully dyed baby pink.

I could foresee a fair bit of teasing for being babyish.

I have a grown son. He has to wear onesies. (I will not go into detail why.)

Okay, they come in white. Just white. So I decided to die some, blue, gray, beige and red. Why red? I dunno, so he could wear a t-shirt with his shorts in summer and it wouldn't always be white.

The red faded quite quickly, after washing, to a dark pink, salmon pink and then a light pink. And I threw the shirts out.

That has nothing to do with how pink changed from a masculine hue to a feminine. Just that I've seen firsthand how red can fade.

I used a cheap organic dye because I thought it was 'safer' for his skin and because I am sort of cheap, too.

Alessandra Kelley
02-25-2012, 07:23 PM
Do you know what words would be used for similar purposes as man? Maybe "buddy" or something like that?

If you're just looking for an emphatic at the beginning of a sentence, there's "say," "boy," "gosh," "gee," "holy cow," and "see here."