Flipping the script

The redundancy of gender traditions

Story by Aislyn Echols, Opinion Editor

From higher education to high heels, there is a question of where commonly placed gender norms in our society came from. What some people don’t realize is that a lot of these gender norms were actually meant for the opposite gender.

Pink vs. blue

One of the most identifiable gender differentiators is that blue is for boys and pink is for girls, but this actually didn’t come about until after World War II. 

Back in the day, warm colors like pink and red were seen as manly colors. Blue was considered dainty and delicate — more suitable for girls. It wasn’t until Hitler made the identifying mark for gay men a pink triangle that people switched the gender association for the colors. 


Jewelry has been seen as a key aspect of women’s fashion for many years, but looking back at jewelry throughout history, it was seen as one thing regardless of gender: a sign of wealth.

Kings in history are seen dawning rings, necklaces and earrings to flaunt their wealth. Though, as the fashion industry started giving certain styles gender associations, jewelry became meant for women. Even after the fashion industry “gave” jewelry to women, men today have been seen with necklaces, earrings and rings once again, some to flaunt their wealth, but others for the simple enjoyment of the fashion, wearing them like the kings they are.


A torture device meant to give the illusion of extra height, heels recently are aimed at more feminine buyers. Adjourned with bright colors and enough sparkles to blind an alien spacecraft, heels aren’t normally targeting a masculine personality.

Heels are seen throughout history being worn by many men, though it’s a far stretch from what is being made today. Simpler styles and fewer flourishes are seen on the feet of kings and other male royalty in Renaissance paintings throughout Europe. As time went on, more wealthy women began wearing heels than men and more and more furnishings were added through the years.


From nurses to teachers to football players, the job field was extremely gender-specific. Once women were released from the prison of their home and allowed to get jobs, the options were very limited. 

In recent years, though, the job market has been opened wide, from the average nine to five jobs to more abstract careers like sports league players. Now some jobs are still facing heavy gatekeeping against women, but it won’t be long before women come to shatter that glass ceiling.

From the color to clothes to jobs, gender associations have done a 180-degree turn from what they were originally intended. This change in gender norms challenges the very basis of toxic masculinity and femininity that tends to plague our society. 

If what is considered normal for each gender to do changes so much with time, why are things like men wearing pink or women playing football such controversies? Let it go. Live life as you wish, free of what is right and what is wrong for your gender.