Feminist gaming blog with a heaping dash of science and politics

Pink and Blue – a quick blog on Evo-Psyc Bull Crap

According to the Daily Mail (these guys again?), ‘females are drawn to pink and men to blues and greens’ and they have science (Science!) to back it up. Bloody effin’ hell, there is so much wrong with everything about this whole damn article. But first, I have a quibble about that sentence (which is a quote from the lede) females and men are not equivalent and should not be used as analogous words in a sentence. It’s bad grammar and hugely dehumanizing to women. If you’re going to be science-y use female and male consistently throughout the whole article. If not, then you use men and women. Not men and girls, not men and females, but men and women. We’re all human here, so lets leave the dehumanizing and debasing language at the door.

So, now that the failtastic grammar-sexism is out of the way, lets look at the failtastic science-sexism! I’m going to break this down, quick and dirty, because otherwise I’d just end up rambling about how mush of Evo-Psyc is utter bull crap, which should totally be saved for it’s own post.


A) Pink and blue as the end-all-be-all color coordination for girls and boys is a very, very recent social phenomena. Back in the olden days people didn’t much care about gendering little babies and every child was swathed in white or grey clothes until they reached adolescence. Mostly because dyes were expensive and you wouldn’t waste good, expensive clothes on kids who are just going to get ’em ruined. It wasn’t until the 1900’s that pastel colors began to make an appearance on baby and children’s clothing, and even then they couldn’t make up their mind about what color should be for what gender. Some thought pink, being a shade of red, should be for boys because of red’s war-like and courageous connotations. It wasn’t till the 1940’s that people finally settled on and standardized pink is for girls and blue is for boys. That’s right, the 1940’s, this basic human evolutionary truth is only 70 years old. My grandmother was born not knowing that she was evolutionarily designed to like pinks and purples, and my grandfather didn’t know his pre-destined affinity for blues. ‘Course now it’s gotten to the point that infants are swimming in seas of pink or blue and if they’re not, it’s the end of the world, cause no one, not even them, will know what gender they are!

I'm one unhappy baby! Evolution says I need to be in pink! Or, wait... is it blue? It's so confusing!

B) So, women like pinks and reds because they did the berry gathering and men like blues and greens because they did the hunting. How does hunting = blue you ask? Good question, apparently is because hunting was best done under a clear blue sky so that’s why they like blue (but blue skies totally never meant good berry gathering, so no chance that would have the same evolutionary impact on women). Also, wouldn’t red = blood = dead wildebeest = a good hunt make more ‘evolutionary’ sense than red berries = ripe vegetation back when we were eating tubers, leaves, and fruits that weren’t just red berries? These justifications for the preferred colors require some serious mental contortions just to arrive at men like blue because they are manly hunters and women like pink because they are such peachy-keen gatherers. I mean, seriously, how much of our non-meat-stuffs do we eat that ripens to red? Take a look around next time you’re in the fruits and veggies section of your local grocer…

Yup, it's totally all reds and pinks. No wonder us berry-gathering women love the color so much!

C) Now C here is a big point, probably the biggest, not that the logic-fail and obvious socialization-roots of this aren’t huge, but this is pretty big: Evolution does not work this way! Evolution does not give us a set of colors printed in the back of our minds that are labeled good or bad, and it certainly does not give a different set of labels to men and women. Even in the animal kingdom, with all its warning colors and ‘stay the heck away from me or die’ signs, animals are not born knowing that the bright red and yellow frog over there is bad juju to mess with. They learn this when their buddy runs over and licks it and promptly dies and they teach it to their young. Same goes for finding out that specific red (or yellow, or green, or purple, or black, or blue, etc) berries/foliage is good to eat or that going out hunting on clear, sunny days is far more productive then going out hunting when the sky is green and ice is falling out of the sky.

Truly, this Evo-Psyc bullshit is just that, bovine manure that’s been allowed to masquerade as science. They found some difference between men and women, came up with some half-assed story about why we must have evolved to be this way, and then design tests to prove themselves right. That’s not how you do science, but that is how you push an agenda. It’s no small coincidence that most evolutionary psychologist use their ‘findings’ to peddle anti-feminist theories and lend their support to keeping the patriarchy/kyriacrchy alive and kicking. They love to insist that men and women are vastly different from one another, even down to our color preferences, and that all of this is hard coded into our DNA. The not so subtle message that comes with these assertions is that if these differences are ‘natural’ then so is the subordination of women.


5 responses to “Pink and Blue – a quick blog on Evo-Psyc Bull Crap

  1. Ladebug April 27, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Great article Z. Just goes to show you the kinds of things people waste their time on trying to do a quanative study on. I just hope the US Gov’t didn’t provide the grant funds for this study.

  2. Ladebug April 27, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Hey found my original postig – moved the mouse and it disappreared. But now it’s back. whoo hooo..

    Interesting point of view. I do agree wih you Z that neither men nor women in general are drawn to a particular color. I suppose that folks who live in the Arctic Circle would be drawn to white simply because they are exposed to the color white most of the year – hunt white polar bears, I could go on but the point is – their claim appears to be bogus.

    If women were only drawn to the color pink, then why is it that each year some fashion designer comes up with the new “in” color – an everything is that color and shade or hue. Very rarely has the “in” color been pink or some variety of pink. Heck, there have been times that it was indeed blue. oh my – how would the folkds from that scientific research write that off.

    The fact remains that color is something very personal – sometimes seasonal – and most of the time has to do with ones mood. And this applies to both men, women and children alike.

    Thank for the good laugh. I just hope the US gov’t didn’t give them a grant to study this!!

  3. Joseph Nevard May 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Funny to see that this story has come back. It popped up a couple of years ago and I’ve used it as an example of stupid evolutionary psychology ever since. On a technical note they don’t seem to have much idea how the selection pressure would work to cause these preferences. For people who have ‘evolutionary’ in their job title they seem to have a pretty poor grasp of basic Darwinism.

    • Zaewen May 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      Yea, this story crops up every couple of years, and it never seems to get even the basics of the scientific method right, let alone evolutionary theory in all its complexity.

  4. Nina March 29, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I have heard about all this! Pink was originally thought of as a male color because it’s watered down blood and blue was thought to be feminine but not sure why.. I remember something else about how the nazis wanted to use pink to mark homosexuals because blue was too closely affiliated with the Virgin Mary and then after that it just got switched around because men didn’t want to be anywhere near a ‘gay’ color. I can’t remember exactly how that went but it was interesting nonetheless!

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