Pink boys: colouring gender, gendering affect

Around 5-10 years ago parents began to use the term ‘pink boy’ for children assigned male at birth, who in one way or another are linked to the colour pink and the stigma of gender nonconformity. Since then pink boys have become the objects and subjects of a new discourse that grapples with cultural, medical and psychological concepts of feminine boyhood and the more recent phenomenon of the transgender child. I am interested in the ways in which pink has come to be visually, symbolically and affectively connected to seemingly fixed markers of gender nonconformity in children assigned male at birth. I will historically situate the recent formation of the pink boy by delving into the cultural and medical history of feminine boyhood. Reading the pink boy discourse as part of a longer history of feminine boyhood in America will give me an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which colour both reaffirms and upsets the binary of masculine contained emotions and feminine excessive emotionality which has marginalized, indeed pathologized, femininity in boys and men. © 2017, © 2017 The Nordic Association for Research on Men and Masculinities.

Around 5-10 years ago parents began to use the term ‘pink boy’ for children assigned male at birth, who in one way or another are linked to the colour pink and the stigma of gender nonconformity. Since then pink boys have become the objects and subjects of a new discourse that grapples with cultural, medical and psychological concepts of feminine boyhood and the more recent phenomenon of the transgender child. I am interested in the ways in which pink has come to be visually, symbolically and affectively connected to seemingly fixed markers of gender nonconformity in children assigned male at birth. I will historically situate the recent formation of the pink boy by delving into the cultural and medical history of feminine boyhood. Reading the pink boy discourse as part of a longer history of feminine boyhood in America will give me an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which colour both reaffirms and upsets the binary of masculine contained emotions and feminine excessive emotionality which has marginalized, indeed pathologized, femininity in boys and men. © 2017, © 2017 The Nordic Association for Research on Men and Masculinities.

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