On pink, blue, and science sets

Color is a powerful primer for humans. Red sparks people’s appetites, making it an ideal logo color choice for everyone from McDonald’s to Safeway. Blue does the opposite – precisely because there are few naturally-occurring blue foods in nature, our body doesn’t develop the same physiological and psychological reactions to it.

But our relationship with color transcends our stomachs. It provides valuable clues on gender – particularly for bodies that aren’t distinctly gendered already, like infants. We see a newborn wrapped in a pink blanket and assume that that newborn is a girl – and react to her accordingly. We see a blue blanket and are primed for a score of other behaviors that we believe are in line with how we should treat baby boys. All this, from a blanket or bib.

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