The start of every new year brings a plethora of articles about every subject under the sun, telling us how the year ahead will unfold. Such crystal ball gazing was probably not a great idea at the start of 2020, but it doesn’t seem to put off the prophets and seers in every field.
Fashion is a classic case in point, with lots of opinions flying around about what will be new, what will be making a comeback, and what will be consigned to the dark recesses of the wardrobe until it ends up going to a charity shop the next time you move house. Needless to say, various sages will all predict different things to each other.
However, one thing that we can be sure won’t be predicted is an end to the dominance of pink in the affections of young ladies. Pink dresses for little girls are in fashion, always have been in fashion, and always will be.
This is not for the want of trying by some. Upset by what they saw as gender stereotyping by the fashion and toy industries in making so many items for girls in pink, twin sisters Emma and Abi Moore founded PinkStinks in 2008, a campaign claiming such a colour theme was harmful.
They promoted products that were non-gender specific and were, above all, not pink, while opposing images based on media portrayals of “stick-thin models, footballers’ wives, and overtly sexualised pop stars” as role models.
All this was based on the idea that the attraction of pink is a matter of social conditioning, rather than a natural thing. Thus everything goes back to the age-old nature v nurture debate.
It is true that pink was once seen as more of a manly colour. In Victorian and Edwardian times, it was not uncommon for football clubs to wear pink shirts, with teams like Everton, Grimsby town and even Italian giants Juventus using this shade.
Times changed, of course, with Juventus, a club whose name means youth but whose nickname, by contrast, is The Old Lady, switching to black and white stripes after obtaining those shirts from English club Notts County. Nowadays, fellow Italian side Palermo and French outfit Evian Thonon are among the few teams around looking pretty in pink.
At the same time, however, anthropologists believe there is something hard-wired about pink in the female psyche. Research by Newcastle University in 2007 found that when a cohort of men and cohort of women were shown a series of shapes and asked to choose the colours they liked, women were more likely to go for the pink and red end of the spectrum and men the blue end.
Exactly why this might be is a matter of speculation, with the favoured theory being that way back in time females had the job of gathering red berries while the men did the more physically challenging work of hunting (obviously this doesn’t really work with blueberries).
Not everyone will agree with this theory, not least as speculating about how our ancestors lived in prehistory is always going to fall short of clear proof. Nonetheless, whether it is cultural, natural, or a bit of both, it seems the one safe prediction for 2022 is that pink is here to stay.