In the west, pink is the color for the female gender.
Pink is the color most often associated with charm, politeness, sensitivity, tenderness, sweetness, childhood, femininity and romance.
The color pink is named after the flowers, pinks, flowering plants in the genus Dianthus, and derives from the frilled edge of the flowers.
The verb “to pink” dates from the 14th century and means “to decorate with a perforated or punched pattern” (possibly from German picken, “to peck”).
Pink was first used as a color name in the late 17th century.
In the high Renaissance painting the Madonna of the Pinks by Raphael, the Christ child is presenting a pink flower to the Virgin Mary. The pink was a symbol of marriage, showing a spiritual marriage between the mother and child.
During the Renaissance, pink was mainly used for the flesh color of faces and hands. The pigment commonly used for this was called light cinabrese – it was a mixture of the red earth pigment called sinopia, or Venetian red, and a white pigment called Bianco San Genovese, or lime white.
In the West, pink first became fashionable in the mid 18th century, when European aristocrats – both men and women – wore faint, powdery variants as a symbol of luxury and class.
In 19th century England, pink ribbons or decorations were often worn by young boys – boys were simply considered small men, and while men in England wore red uniforms, boys wore pink. In fact the clothing for children in the 19th century was almost always white, since, before the invention of chemical dyes, clothing of any color would quickly fade when washed in boiling water.
Queen Victoria was painted in 1850 with her seventh child and third son, Prince Arthur, who wore white and pink.
In late 19th-century France, Impressionist painters working in a pastel color palette sometimes depicted women wearing the color pink, such as Edgar Degas’ image of ballet dancers or Mary Cassatt’s images of women and children.
Since 1893 the London Financial Times newspaper has used a distinctive salmon pink color for its newsprint, originally because pink dyed paper was less expensive than bleached white paper. Today the color is used to distinguish the newspaper from competitors on a press kiosk or news stand.
In the first two decades of the 20th century, French couturier Paul Poiret created dresses in pale and pastel pinks, as well as bolder cherry, coral and fuchsia, propelling the shade back into the realm of high fashion.
Post-World War I, pink slipped off the radar, hardly appearing in the male-dominated worlds of Surrealism, Dada, and Abstract Expressionism.
In a 1927 issue, Time Magazine printed a survey of several US stores on gender-appropriate colors. The results were nearly split, with 60% ascribing pink to boys.
However by the 1950s, pink had become more gender-coded than ever, thanks to branding and marketing in postwar America that used it as a symbol of femininity, cementing a pervasive “pink for girls, blue for
Pink continues to be received in wildly different ways around the world.
In Japan, it serves as wistful symbol of the slain samurai – in Korea, it’s interpreted as a sign of trustworthiness.
In Catholicism, pink (called rose by the Catholic Church) symbolizes joy and happiness. It is used for the Third Sunday of Advent and the Fourth Sunday of Lent (see Laetare Sunday) to mark the halfway point in these seasons of penance. For this reason, one of the candles in an Advent wreath may be pink, rather than purple.
Pink gemstones are believed to bring about serenity, relaxation, acceptance, and contentment, as well to neutralize disorder or soften frustration.
The shells and flesh of crustaceans such as crabs, lobsters and shrimp contain a pink carotenoid pigment called astaxanthin. Their shells, naturally blue-green, turn pink or red when cooked. The flesh of the salmon also contains astaxanthins, which makes it pink. Farm-bred salmon are sometimes fed these pigments to improve their pinkness, and it is sometimes also used to enhance the color of egg yolks.
The bright pink color of flamingos comes from beta carotene which is found in high numbers within the algae, larvae, and brine shrimp that flamingos eat in their wetland environment.
As a ray of white sunlight travels through the atmosphere, some of the colors are scattered out of the beam by air molecules and airborne particles. This is called Rayleigh scattering. Colors with a shorter wavelength, such as blue and green, scatter more strongly, and are removed from the light that finally reaches the eye. At sunrise and sunset, when the path of the sunlight through the atmosphere to the eye is longest, the blue and green components are removed almost completely, leaving the longer wavelength orange, red and pink light. The remaining pinkish sunlight can also be scattered by cloud droplets and other relatively large particles, which give the sky above the horizon a pink glow.