Oh bother: Do girls like pink because of their berry-gathering female ancestors?

This article from The Week, which summarizes the findings of some researchers in China, was emailed to me by room34. Here’s an excerpt:

Maybe little girls’ preference for pink goes beyond Disney princesses and Barbie. Researchers says they have scientific proof that women are instinctually drawn to pinks and purples because their female ancestors were berry gatherers. Here, a brief guide:

What is the deal with this study?
Researchers at China’s Zhejiang University asked 350 subjects to rank 11 colors in order of preference. They found that the women were drawn to pink, purple and white, and men to blue and green.

What does that have to do with berry gathering?
The scientists say the color findings support their “hunter-gatherer theory on sex difference.” They believe that a woman’s brain is more suited to “gathering-related tasks,” like identifying fruits and edible red leaves hidden in green foliage. Women’s preference for reds and pinks might also be related to finding a suitable mate, one with healthy pink cheeks, they say.

Why would men like blue and green then?
For their manly ancestors, that would mean good weather for hunting.

Really? Is this worth bothering with? Does anyone actually take such a study seriously? Well…I’m not sure, but the search for scientific evidence to prove the biological “naturalness” of certain sexed and gendered behaviors is still in full effect. In terms of this study, I wonder, why is it important to know why girls (supposedly) like pink?

Links to check out:

  • For more on this, see Bitchmedia and their discussion of ¬†how science is (mis)used in popular media outlets: Mad Science
  • For more on the social construction of girls liking pink, see Pink Think
  • For more on sex/gender differences and the science’s “sex industry,” see my class notes

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