Pink and Blue: The Gendering of Pediatric Growth Charts

Date/Time
Thursday
8 Oct 2020
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Event Type
Colloquium

Aimee Medeiros
Associate Professor and Director of the History of Health Sciences Program at UC San Francisco

Zoom Meeting ID: 91258483954

Since the beginning of the 20th century, a cornerstone of the American well-child pediatric care visit has been the assessment of height and weight measurements. Starting at birth, a young person’s data are tracked and compared to synthetic averages serving as healthy norms by use of a sex-specific growth chart, one for girls and one for boys. This talk examines the history of the sex specificity of these charts as well as their gendering; a practice which officially began in 2000 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention color-coded its newest version of the charts pink and blue.  I look at growth surveys, pediatric textbooks, science and medical journals, and artifacts from the hyper-gendered children’s consumer culture of the late 1990s to reveal the confluence of influences which contributed to the gendering of these charts while considering their cultural compatibility and medical utility in an increasingly gender-fluid society.

This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  CSTMS