Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Color Coding


Yesterday, Angel put up an interesting post that discussed the signals (perhaps unwitting, perhaps not) a woman sends when she wears red or pink clothing. The idea is that she may be advertising her sexual availability or her period of prime fertility by her choice of clothing color, in much the same way that some female animals change the color of their external genitalia to signal that they are in their fertile period ("in heat," as the common expression goes). I'm thinking that Chris deBurgh may have had a hot date in mind when he sang this song ...



The whole subject of color is interesting, and has applicability far beyond the examples Angel provided in her post. As I noted in the comment I left, red is often considered a "power color" (as in a man's wear of a red tie with a gray suit) that supposedly establishes dominance - possibly hinting at a willingness to spill blood*. Red also is the traditional color of warning and danger. It may have been no accident that the heroine of "Gone with the Wind" was named Scarlet.

Other colors send signals as well: for example, black often symbolizes mystery, death, or mourning in western cultures. White sends that message in China, while in western cultures white denotes purity or chastity. Consider this song by Uriah Heep ...



We use the symbology of color in every aspect of our lives. Boys tend to be associated with blue; girls with pink. Cowards are yellow. People are green with envy. When we are depressed, we're blue ...



... but when we're angry, we see red. When we're healthy, we're in the pink.

In religion, green is the color associated with Islam.

In politics, we've divided ourselves into red and blue factions

In my own case, being color-blind (actually, color-deficient) makes life interesting. I can usually tell colors apart with no trouble if they're different enough ... my problem is with distinguishing dark colors or pastels from each other. Dark Blue, dark brown, and black look pretty much the same to me, as do all pastel shades. I've told you before about how I always try to have Agnes check over my clothes each evening so I won't look too garish at work the next day. Unfortunately, she isn't always there to save me from myself.

A while back, we needed new protective covers for our iPads, and she sent me to the store to buy them. She wanted a red one, which I found successfully, but the bright yellow one I thought that I'd bought for myself turned out to be green, or so I'm told. It still looks pretty yellow to me.

Oh, well ... how about we wrap up this discussion of colors with a little something from Petula Clark?



Have a good day. Don't be blue. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

* There's an old joke about two generals surveying the field before a major battle. The first general turns to his orderly and says, "Bring me my red shirt!" The other general asks him why he wants to wear a red shirt, and the first man explains that a red shirt will help hide the blood if he gets wounded, so that his men won't lose heart. The second general thinks about this, then turns to his orderly and says, "Bring me my brown pants!"

6 comments:

eViL pOp TaRt said...

A great essay on the symbolism of color, Bilbo. The inclusion of the color-related songs made excellent illustrations.

Why are bridesmaids' dresses often so bizarrely-colored? Any why is the little black dress considered the epitome of young elegance? Did that have to do with Audrey Hepburn?

Thanks for linking my blog!

Linda Kay Christensen said...

Angel has a good question about the bridesmaid's dresses, and usually these can never be worn again after the wedding! Love the step back in music, and some great thoughts on colors! Thanks...

Bilbo said...

Angel and Linda - I suspect that bridesmaids' dresses are often purposely bizarre in order to avoid diverting attention from the bride. As for the "little black dress," I'm not sure why it's considered "the epitome of young elegance," but I can tell you that I think almost nothing is as attractive as a LBD on a woman who knows how and when to wear it.

Anemone said...

I thought that the "red state, blue state" convention originated with television reporting of election results.

Mike said...

I've always thought the red state blue state colors were ass backwards.

Grand Crapaud said...

Great songs, especially the Petula Clark one.