The Male-Female Color Divide

I have had so many conversations with men that have gotten down right confusing. Typically, we’re both trying to describe the same item, or they’ve walked in on a discussion with my girlfriends about clothing/fashion/shoes. The trouble is crossing the male/female color barrier, and people, this diagram makes it a lot more easy to understand why. The conversation usually goes something like this:

  • Guy: Are you talking about that orange shirt that guy is wearing?
  • Me: Yea, we’re talking about how coral is so in right now, but can’t decide if he’s pulling it off or not.
  • Guy: Coral? Like the seashell? People are wearing that now?
  • Me: Coral….the color…..
  • Guy: You mean orange? We’re talking about that guy right…his shirt is orange.
  • Me: No, it’s coral.

After this back and forth, usually the guy ends up claiming color blindness, which until seeing this picture made me feel a little bad for the poor soul that can’t see thee whole rainbow of colors in the world. Now, I understand that they may be capable of perceiving the visual difference in hues, but simply don’t grasp the need to give a different name to it. Coral is orange. Magenta and Fuschia, well, they’re both just pink.

I’ve noticed the same thing goes for shoes. Wedges, stilettos, platforms: those are all heels. As for the rest, if you can put it on your foot and walk around it in, it’s a shoe. I think it all stems from the limiting fashion choices for men. Shortsleeves or long (think about it- have you ever seen cap sleeves or ¾ length tops for men??), buttons or no buttons (no frills, peplums, or attached belts to worry about here), dress pants or jeans. There are even more clothing items to choose from for women, dresses, skirts, slips, undergarments, while men are mostly confined to jacket, top and bottom.

Their sizes are even easier to understand, only reflecting their straight measurements rather than some arbitrary number from 0-14. As women, we have developed a complex vocabulary to understand the vast array of fashion choices presented to us.  Our ability to understand the nuances of colors is only one example of a world of small distinctions we make in day to day life. And guys? They just don’t get it.

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