Somewhere along the way it was decided that certain colours had a gender. We see it all the time and while there’s been a shift we see it in the bicycle industry too. You’ll generally see girl’s bikes in pink, purple and light shades.. For the boys? Red, blue, bells and horns, go faster stripes and flames. Times are changing, we’re constantly evolving, questioning and transforming but there are still elements of gendered colour even today.
A quick search
A quick Google search of the simple term ‘girls bike’ reveals that while the shift is happening, the colour and accessories are still very much gender specific. The shopping tab shows us things like ‘cosmic princess bike’, and ‘little Duchess bike’, while Google images shows a lot of pink, light blues, purple and plenty of handlebar tassels and baskets with flowers. On the other hand when searching for ‘boys bike’ we see white, blacks, dark blues and words like ‘atom,’ ‘energy,’ and ‘outrage’.’There are no baskets in sight, but there does seem to be a crossover of blues, albeit it that boy’s bikes are a lot darker. Interestingly, when searching ‘unisex kids’ bike’, we see a lot of green, orange and white bikes. While this is hardly scientific, it is interesting and quite telling.
A brief history of colour
Historically, pink for girls and blue for boys has been precedent since around the 1820s, but there was a brief period of time in which blue was seen as more feminine whilst pink was a less masculine version of red for boys. As is often seen in our society, it’s the power of advertising that causes a shift, and while there is a lot of history on the origins of default colours for each sex, it wasn’t until advertising campaigns, manufacturers and popular culture started pushing the narrative of pink being feminine and blue being masculine that most saw it as the standard.
A shift with the times
Today while the issue of gendered colours is still present, it’s something that not of all of us pay too much attention to. It’s also something that people are starting to question and push away from. There’s less prejudice around colour being for a certain sex today and the idea of gender has been heavily debated and begun to change throughout the years. It isn’t until around the age four that children begin to become aware of their gender and with certain biases present from an early age they too would see certain things such as colour as the norm for themselves as a boy or a girl.
Live your own colour
While there are some benefits to having gendered bikes, colour is a very personal choice. Here at Black Mountain we’ve chosen to have unisex bikes in unisex colours. Our bikes come in orange, purple, blue and green. While we could argue that the blue and purple are more feminine our sales haven’t reflected this, in fact, as many boys as girls have chosen purple. Orange and purple are our best sellers with lots of people being drawn to those two colours. Whilst at shows and during showrooms visits people have commented on how nice the green looks. It’s also great to see the kids’ being able to choose which colour they like best, but we still do get the odd parent asking if we do them in pink!
So what do you think, which colour is your favourite? Do you think having specific colours for gender is a good or bad thing? We’d love to hear your thoughts.