xkcd's revealing color survey

At the blog for the insanely popular webcomic xkcd, Randall Munroe directly confronts issues of gender, fashion, and whether a color can be construed as “dusty”

Here are the color names most disproportionately popular among women:

1. Dusty Teal
2. Blush Pink
3. Dusty Lavender
4. Butter Yellow
5. Dusky Rose

Okay, pretty flowery, certainly. Kind of an incense-bomb-set-off-in-a-Bed-Bath-&-Beyond vibe. Well, let’s take a look at the other list.

Here are the color names most disproportionately popular among men:

1. Penis
2. Gay
3. WTF
4. Dunno
5. Baige

Via Douglas Wolk


  1. says

    Obviously why I’m gay here! Siding with the girls on this one! I mean, if you can’t tell that’s HOT pink, and not just pink, well sir, you have no right to even do this here color survey!

    Now please excuse me as I head into my Martha Stewart dusty miller blue colored kitchen. Good day! :)

  2. Ian says

    How do you live through the 90s and not know what hot pink is? When I was 10 I had a half-black half-hot pink ninja turtles bathing suit, and it was awesome.

  3. AO says

    Magenta, Salmon and Teal? Really? It seems that I’m even less color “aware” then average.

  4. mark coale says

    men only know about teal because a number of sports teams now use the color (San Jose probably being the most notable, since Charlotte moved to NOLA).

    I’d say guys know a lot of wacky colors now because of sports teams. Your jersey can’t be green. It has to be “midnight green” or “hunter green.” or “pewter” instead of gray.

  5. Caged Wisdom says

    Mark – actually, I’d wager most guys would just label those specific shades as “Jets Green” or “Chiefs Red,” etc.

  6. says

    It isn’t so much that straight guys know “salmon” as they’d rather think of a food than identify something as “pink”. If they could come up with *any* term other than “pink” for those other hues, they would use that instead.

  7. David Riches says

    When you see a commercial where a Grizzly Bear thrashes a Salmon out of a stream you remember the colour of Salmon.
    BTW “Baige” should be spelled Beige.

  8. henry says

    David, apparently “Baige” was the fifth most disproportionately high answer from males; Russell Monroe mentions how it’s not his typo in his blog post.

  9. says

    I read so many goddamn comic books growing up that I can now only discern 56 colors. And I don’t know the names for most of them. That’s why I do my comics in grey-tones now.

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