The Pink and Blue Project by Jeongmee Yoon

How the color identities ‘pink for girls and blue for boys’ ever really got started; who knows, or, who really cares, but the fact is, these assignments do exist, and they are based solely on gender, making it nearly impossible for me to wear anything warmer than scarlet without affecting my internalized ‘blue’ masculinity and being called ‘Strawberry Shortcake.’

While this question has been taken up by COLOURlovers before; and this person said this, and that person said that. It seems though, that these gender identity colors appeared after WWII, which also happens to coincide with the United States’ greatest consumer expansion and the development of marketing, advertising and public relations, not that I’m inferring a correlation, but Barbie should be held accountable for at least some of it.

Jeongmee Yoon’s ‘The Pink and Blue Project’ was inspired by this very observation of gender and color, and offers a visualization of this divided world of pink and blue.

About the Project

“The Pink and Blue Project” was at first motivated by my daughter. At five years old, she loves pink so much that she wants to wear only pink clothes and use only pink toys or objects.

I found that she is not unusual and most other little girls in the U.S. and South Korea love pink clothing, accessories and toys. This phenomenon seems widespread among various ethnic groups regardless of their cultural background. It could be the result of an influence of customs or the power of pervasive commercial advertisements for merchandise such as Barbie and Hello Kitty.

While producing the “pink” images, I also became aware that many boys have a lot of blue possessions and started photographing them as well. Through advertising, consumers are directed to buy blue items, symbolizing strength and masculinity, for boys; and pink items, symbolizing sweetness and femininity, for girls.

To make “The Pink and Blue Project” images, I visit the child’s room, where I display and rearrange his/her colored accessories. I ask my models to pose for me with their pink or blue objects, in an effort to show the viewer the extent to which children and their parents, knowingly or unknowingly, are influenced by advertising and popular culture. I first lay out the larger items, blankets or coats, and then spread smaller articles on top of the clothes. This method references objects that are displayed in a museum collection. In some pictures, the children even look like dolls.

I use a 6×6 format Hasselblad camera because the square format enhances the effect of the many crowded objects on display. My photographs are taken with the smallest aperture, f-22, to get a hyper-realistic depiction of each object and person.

About the Artist

Jeongmee Yoon was born in Seoul, South Korea and moved to New York in 2004. She received her BFA in Painting from Seoul National University, South Korea and her MFA in Photo Design from the Hongik University, South Korea. She recently graduated from the School of Visual Arts with an MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media. She is currently participating in the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York and is preparing for her solo exhibition in May 2007 of The Pink and Blue Project in Seoul, Korea, which is supported by the Geonhi Arts Foundation.
– From Artinfo

All photos from the artist.

Author: evad
David Sommers has been loving color as COLOURlovers' Blog Editor-in-Chief for the past two years. When he's not neck deep in a rainbow he's loving other things with The Post Family (, a Chicago-based art blog, artist collective & gallery.