God help us all. There’s days when Franklin Graham, the spiteful 63 year-old spawn of beloved evangelist Dr. Billy Graham, really begs for round-the-clock supervision. It’s remarkable, and sad, to see a family go from “Billy” to “bully” in one generation.
Today Boy Graham is upset that Target is abandoning the patronizing marketing notion that it, and not parents, now what toys and clothing are best for small children. He has some serious gender-anxiety issues. In previous posts, he has admitted Caitlyn Jenner gives him the fan-tods.
On Facebook today, he peeved:
On Facebook today, he peeved:
The Washington Post reports that Target will stop using gender specific signage in their stores. In order to be gender-neutral, they won't be separating things like toys and bedding into boys' and girls' sections. Oh really? And they won’t be using pink and blue colors to identify sexes. I think Target may be forgetting who has made their stores strong. It’s not gender-neutral people out there—it’s working American families, fathers and mothers with boys and girls they love. What’s next? Are they going to try to make people believe that pink or blue baby showers are politically incorrect? I have news for them and for everyone else—God created two different genders. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female (Matthew 19:4). You can’t get any clearer than that. If you agree, share in the comments below—and let Target know what you think. Let them know that you are perfectly willing to shop where the genders God created are appreciated. (1-800-440-0680) Target is way off-target on this one!
We already know Graham is not much of one for doing his homework. After a noisy, self-promoting stunt to take the millions he bilks from the credulous-who believe the son is cut from the same cloth as his dad, and support the family brand- from Wells Fargo Bank (“way too gay”), he sloshed the swag over to BB&T, which sponsors gay events in its regional banking area.
So it’s not surprising that Boy Graham doesn’t know that the notion of boys in blue, girls in pink wasn’t in use at all before the 19th century, and flipped genders several times in the 20th century. In 2014 the blog Hold It Now reported, “Pink and blue were worn by both genders for centuries. For the longest time blue was actually more thought of with girls due to its association with The Virgin Mary.”
After about 500 A.D., according to Fr Johann Roten SM, director of the Marian Library-International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton, ‘Mary’s dark blue mantle, from about 500 AD is of Byzantine origin and is the color of an empress. Blue has been a color associated with royalty, peace, and nature (sea and sky). So it made sense that artistic renditions of Mary portray the Queen of Heaven and Earth in blue.
The website Hopes and Fears continues:
In the 12th century, blue was an extremely expensive pigment to use in paintings, coming second only to gold. For this reason - and its evocative mournful symbolism - the Virgin Mary almost always wore blue colour in medieval European religious painting.
"Blue was an expensive pigment, obtainable only from crushed lapis lazuli imported from Afghanistan, and after gold, thus became the medieval painter’s most fitting tribute to the Queen of Heaven.” Marina Warner, Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary.
"For Mary, blue is purely duplicitous: it is the sadness of mourning, tinged with the joyful hope of heaven” - Carol Mavor, Blue Mythologies: Reflection on a Colour
By the Elizabethan era blue was a servant's color, produced from the woad plant and non-colorfast. Sumptuary laws of the time restricted the more vivid indigo blue, from the Indian plant, to the ranks of the wealthy.
An April 2011 article by Jeanne Maglary- in Smithsonian- “When did girls start wearing pink?”, picks up the story in 19th century America:
Little Franklin Delano Roosevelt sits primly on a stool, his white skirt spread smoothly over his lap, his hands clasping a hat trimmed with a marabou feather. Shoulder-length hair and patent leather party shoes complete the ensemble.
We find the look unsettling today, yet social convention of 1884, when FDR was photographed at age 2 1/2, dictated that boys wore dresses until age 6 or 7, also the time of their first haircut. Franklin’s outfit was considered gender-neutral.
But nowadays people just have to know the sex of a baby or young child at first glance, says Jo B. Paoletti, a historian at the University of Maryland and author of Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America, to be published later this year. Thus we see, for example, a pink headband encircling the bald head of an infant girl.Why have young children’s clothing styles changed so dramatically? How did we end up with two “teams”—boys in blue and girls in pink?“It’s really a story of what happened to neutral clothing,” says Paoletti, who has explored the meaning of children’s clothing for 30 years. For centuries, she says, children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6. “What was once a matter of practicality—you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached—became a matter of ‘Oh my God, if I dress my baby in the wrong thing, they’ll grow up perverted,’ ” Paoletti says.
The march toward gender-specific clothes was neither linear nor rapid. Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I—and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out.
For example, a June 1918 article from the trade publication Earnshaw's Infants' Department 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.” Other sources said blue was flattering for blonds, pink for brunettes; or blue was for blue-eyed babies, pink for brown-eyed babies, according to Paoletti.
Franklin Graham’s father, Billy, was born in November, 1918. So there’s a good chance Daddy was clothed in pink- the masculine color of the day.
In 1927, Time magazine printed a chart showing sex-appropriate colors for girls and boys according to leading U.S. stores. In Boston, Filene’s told parents to dress boys in pink. So did Best & Co. in New York City, Halle’s in Cleveland and Marshall Field in Chicago.
In fact, blue- as a stable, mass-producable color, did not become available in the United States until after World War I. At the same time stores promoted it for boys, Hold It Now says, a museum curator was setting the opposite in stone for generations to come:
It’s the classic boy meets girl story. Married by a curator/collector in 1927 resulting in a relationship cemented by sentimentalism; Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy 1770 and Sir Thomas Lawrence’s Pinkie 1794 have been eternally entwined in the collective consciousness of the wigs and keys crowd since the early twentieth century. They are the subjects of endless reproductions, porcelain figurines, commemorative plates and all manner of kitsch. Two youths betrothed to one another by the place they shared on a museum wall. The girl in pink and the boy in blue; how perfect is that?
Gainsborough even painted a Pink Boy in 1782. (Both the Pink Boy and the Blue Boy are wearing costumes modeled after the clothing that could be typically found in the portraits of Anthony Van Dyck from the 1630’s and 40’s.) The Blue Boy was actually green when it came into the possession of H.E.H Huntington in 1921. The painting had discoloured under coats of a golden varnish over the decades since it had been painted. The layers were lovingly removed, revealing the brilliant blues we are familiar with today.
Anna Broadway, in a 2013 Atlantic article, “Pink Wasn’t Always Girly,” digs up an overlooked literary moment of the time to underscore the point:
Toward the end of the 1925 novel The Great Gatsby, Jay shows up to lunch with his mistress and her husband in a pink suit. For modern readers, it's tempting to take his color selection as a sign of dandyism. Why would a man choose to wear the color of Mary Kay, breast-cancer research tie-ins and kitchen gadgets galore? When cuckolded husband Tom Buchanan criticizes Gatsby for wearing pink, he seemingly echoes the present-day assumption that pink is a feminine color.
But that would be imposing today's view of pink on the past. Buchanan uses the suit's hue not to discredit Gatsby's masculinity or virility, but his intellectual bona fides. He mentions it only when Gatsby's described as an Oxford man: "[Buchanan] was incredulous. 'Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit.'"
Buchanan's comments make it clear that men in pink meant something different in the 1920s than today. According to an interview with the costume designer for Baz Luhrmann's recent film, the color had working-class connotations. Only in the relatively recent past did pink acquire its feminine connotations.
In Smithsonian, Maglary continues:
Today’s color dictate wasn’t established until the 1940s, as a result of Americans’ preferences as interpreted by manufacturers and retailers. “It could have gone the other way,” Paoletti says.
So the baby boomers were raised in gender-specific clothing. Boys dressed like their fathers, girls like their mothers. Girls had to wear dresses to school, though unadorned styles and tomboy play clothes were acceptable.
Franklin Graham was born in a different era, when it came to clothing for kids. Broadway writes:
For several decades, however, pink defied consensus. Based on a review of museum collections and other sources, Paoletti found pink baby gifts and even the occasional garment for boys or "baby brother paper dolls" into the 1960s, though "[t]hese examples are all clearly out of the mainstream. By the 1950s, pink was strongly associated with femininity."
Steele told me this view of pink was mainly "for young girls. ... It seems to be a kind of early gender coding that worked especially on young girls." As she wrote in her 1985 book Fashion and Eroticism, "The decade of the Fifties was characterized by an ideological emphasis on conformity, and by fashion images that were sharply age- and gender-specific."
When the women’s liberation movement arrived in the mid-1960s, with its anti-feminine, anti-fashion message, the unisex look became the rage—but completely reversed from the time of young Franklin Roosevelt. Now young girls were dressing in masculine—or at least unfeminine—styles, devoid of gender hints. Paoletti found that in the 1970s, the Sears, Roebuck catalog pictured no pink toddler clothing for two years.
“One of the ways [feminists] thought that girls were kind of lured into subservient roles as women is through clothing,” says Paoletti. “ ‘If we dress our girls more like boys and less like frilly little girls . . . they are going to have more options and feel freer to be active.’ ”John Money, a sexual identity researcher at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, argued that gender was primarily learned through social and environmental cues. “This was one of the drivers back in the ’70s of the argument that it’s ‘nurture not nature,’ ” Paoletti says.Gender-neutral clothing remained popular until about 1985. Paoletti remembers that year distinctly because it was between the births of her children, a girl in ’82 and a boy in ’86. “All of a sudden it wasn’t just a blue overall; it was a blue overall with a teddy bear holding a football,” she says. Disposable diapers were manufactured in pink and blue.
Prenatal testing was a big reason for the change. Expectant parents learned the sex of their unborn baby and then went shopping for “girl” or “boy” merchandise. (“The more you individualize clothing, the more you can sell,” Paoletti says.) The pink fad spread from sleepers and crib sheets to big-ticket items such as strollers, car seats and riding toys. Affluent parents could conceivably decorate for baby No. 1, a girl, and start all over when the next child was a boy.
Some young mothers who grew up in the 1980s deprived of pinks, lace, long hair and Barbies, Paoletti suggests, rejected the unisex look for their own daughters. “Even if they are still feminists, they are perceiving those things in a different light than the baby boomer feminists did,” she says. “They think even if they want their girl to be a surgeon, there’s nothing wrong if she is a very feminine surgeon.”Another important factor has been the rise of consumerism among children in recent decades. According to child development experts, children are just becoming conscious of their gender between ages 3 and 4, and they do not realize it’s permanent until age 6 or 7. At the same time, however, they are the subjects of sophisticated and pervasive advertising that tends to reinforce social conventions. “So they think, for example, that what makes someone female is having long hair and a dress,’’ says Paoletti. “They are so interested—and they are so adamant in their likes and dislikes.”
In researching and writing her book, Paoletti says, she kept thinking about the parents of children who don’t conform to gender roles: Should they dress their children to conform, or allow them to express themselves in their dress? “One thing I can say now is that I’m not real keen on the gender binary—the idea that you have very masculine and very feminine things. The loss of neutral clothing is something that people should think more about. And there is a growing demand for neutral clothing for babies and toddlers now, too.”
“There is a whole community out there of parents and kids who are struggling with ‘My son really doesn’t want to wear boy clothes, prefers to wear girl clothes.’ ” She hopes one audience for her book will be people who study gender clinically. The fashion world may have divided children into pink and blue, but in the world of real individuals, not all is black and white.
In more recent times, Broadway reports, pink has been reinforced as a feminine color, but in new contexts:
In 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation gave pink ribbons to runners in its New York survivor race. The following year, the pink ribbon became the official--and now ubiquitous--symbol of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Outside the breast cancer campaign, Steele said the 1990s and 2000s brought a new appropriation of pink as "fierce" and powerful. (As an example, she cited a black biker jacket with pink accents designed by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons.) With the activist group CodePink's use of the color, pink has come full circle, recasting war and protest as feminine.
And, of course, in this, the Century of the Disney Princesses, we have just about been pinked to death.
You’d think Boy Graham would be thrilled at de-gendering small children’s clothing: it makes them harder for sex perverts to ID. He worries about that, too.