There’s a pervading theory in marketing that all women love the color pink. While some women and certainly many younger girls do seem to like the color pink, I’ve found many women and girls don’t like the color pink.
What’s really going on here? I believe the color pink evokes some very strong associations; some positive, some negative, depending on your viewpoint. Many advertisers or product developers get lazy and think “We need to appeal to women, so let’s just take our existing product and make it pink.” But what women really want are products developed to meet their specific needs.
A recent report came out on a study by Dr. Anya C. Hurlbert, a professor of visual neuroscience at Newcastle University in England, which concludes that women really do prefer pink. I wanted to delve into the specifics to see if this was really the case but (thank goodness) Chris at Mixing Memory did the hard work for me.
Chris had this to say about the data:
Suffice it to say that this result doesn’t tell us anything about why girls like pink. In fact, since, at least in western culture, the traditional gender-color associations are blue for boys and pink for girls, the fact that the western (British) girls prefer blue more than the western boys (and, in fact, show a stronger preference for blue over yellow than red over green) in the Hulbert and Ling study implies that, biologically, either blue should be for girls, or there should be no gender-based association with blue. Furthermore, the British women don’t show any preference on the red-green dimension! You’d think, if they had an evolved preference for pinkish colors, they’d actually show such a preference, but they don’t. Then there’s the cross-cultural differences for men. It’s as though the British men are saying, “Ewww, reddish colors are for giiiiiiirls,” and picking the greens, while the Chinese men just don’t care on that dimension, because they don’t associate red with girlishness. In other words, it’s almost as though there were cultural factors at play!
Before you go running off like Chicken Little, proclaiming “Girls really do prefer pink!” read the full post, “Do Women Have an Evolved Preference for Pink?“ at Mixing Memory.