Why is red considered a feminine color


The color red

Red appears close, tangible and material in contrast to blue, which appears distant, immaterial and transparent. Red is the color of strength, activity and aggressiveness. Blue, on the other hand, appears gentle, passive and calm. Red is associated with fire and masculinity, while blue is associated with water and femininity. However, there is also a feminine red. It is the dark red. Natural religions associate red with a gender-related symbolism of blood. The light red symbolizes the masculine, the passion, while the dark red symbolizes the feminine, the fertility. In desert countries, red is equated with scorching heat and has an unpleasant, negative aspect. In cold northern countries, where one longs for warmth, red has a pleasant, positive meaning. In Russian usage, red is synonymous with valuable and beautiful. In some languages ​​red is equated with colored: for example in Spanish where red means "colorado". In the world languages, red is the oldest and most original color designation. Red is commonly associated with blood and fire. In the Hebrew language, blood and red have the same origin. Among the Eskimos, red literally means "like blood".

Symbolism, cult and history

The symbolism of red develops from the affective effect of this color. Red becomes red in every culture with fateful processes in life, such as B. Birth, wounding, war related. Blood and fire are symbolically deeply anchored in the subconscious in all cultures. Blood sacrifices were common in all previous religions. Not only animals were sacrificed to please the gods: the innocent blood of children and virgins was considered particularly worthy of sacrifice. Blood or red, meant power and energy. In earlier times, for example, newborns were bathed in the blood of strong animals; it was believed to transfer the power of the animal to man. Red is seen as the color of blood in connection with sacrificial acts, e.g. the slaughter of animals. In earlier hunter cultures, the animals that were hunted for life support were also sacrificed to the gods. The act of sacrifice symbolizes the renewal of the life that has been killed and at the same time the aim is to make amends for the iniquity of nature. In matriarchal cultures, the red symbol was mainly used for the female goddesses of fertility. The red earth color, also known as ox blood, was often used to paint places of sacrifice such as caves or underground temples, which inevitably remind us of a mother's womb. We know myths about the mystery of the life-renewing sacrificial death. B. from the Cretan Demeter myth. Persephone performs the holy wedding with the king in the ripe fields (red symbolism of maturity); in autumn she kills him, laments him and goes to look for him in the underworld. The god Dionysus, who is associated with wine and blood, is identified, torn to pieces and killed after his mystical marriage with the sacrificial animal associated with him, the billy goat. These blood sacrifices served to strengthen the red goddess of love and were also a glorification of the king. The blood was considered by many ancient peoples to be the seat of the soul. With the rituals and sacrifices one wanted to participate in the divine. Out of reverence for the divine of the soul, blood was taboo and sacralized. Blood or red was also interpreted as a life-renewing and cleansing power. So also in the New Testament "the shed blood of Christ" as well as "cleansed by Christ's blood" is seen as redemption, renewal, and purification. We recognize backgrounds that come from earlier old notions of sacrifice. The liturgical color of the Catholic Church as a reminder of that shed blood of Christ is red. During the Passion time, red vestments, altar ceilings and pulpit decorations remind us of the suffering and the shed blood of Christ. Red was feared in Christian culture because it expresses the destructive, the aggressive, the passionate and the vicious. In the ecclesiastical Inquisition, firepower, the red, was seen as the purification and destruction of the wicked and immoral. This legitimized the burning of witches and heretics. The demonizing effect of red in Catholicism was the erotic-sexual, indecent and satanic aspect of it. Hence is it is not self-evident that the burdened Ro t was included as the symbolic color of Christianity. Through the shed blood of Christ on the cross, for the redemption of mankind, as well as through the blood of countless martyrs, red was tabooed or canonized. The experience of red is understood in Christian symbolism with Christ and his death as the fulfillment and termination of all blood sacrifices. Red is the Christian and symbolic color for devotion and love for sacrifice. Religious people in the Middle Ages saw red as a reference to Christian love, passion and martyrdom. Mary Magdalene appears in medieval pictures as lovers under the cross, often dressed in red. So did the favorite disciple John the Baptist. In Christianity, the red rose refers to the shed blood of Christ, the wounds and the symbolism of rebirth. In Christian painting, the rose was an attribute with which Mary and saints were depicted as a symbol of participation in the suffering of Christ. The dark noble purple, the purple cloak is used in the pictures for God the Father the King of Kings. The psychic experience with red and blood is rooted in the primal experience of humanity. The experience is associated with the emanation of life, sacrifice, struggle and death, but also with fertility, renewal of life, birth, purification, purification and in a certain sense with immortality.

The powerful property of the red color and its association with blood and wounds made it the color of war. The red color is consecrated to the god of war Mars, symbolizing bravery in battle. In Ireland the ancient warriors were called Ruadh, the Reds. In ancient Rome, the emperors and warring generals wore red. The emperor of Byzantium was currently wrapped in a purple robe. Until the late 19th century, red was a popular color for soldiers' uniforms. The red skirts of an army demonstrated power and strength. In modern warfare, which no longer involves fighting man to man, but shooting from ambush, the red color is no longer relevant; you need inconspicuous camouflage colors today. Red is the color of justice: blood is atoned for with blood, according to earlier jurisprudence. Red pennants were hoisted in medieval towns to mark Judgment Day. Death sentences were signed in red, the executioner wore red. To this day, judges wear red gowns. The symbolism of red color and blood was carried over to medical treatment methods in earlier times. In the medicine of earlier times the same was treated with the same. The formula of this analogy-spell was as follows: red diseases (inflammation, rashes) were treated with a red color, if not with blood. The funds were z. B. red rose petals, red cloth, red ointments and plasters, all of these were used to treat wounds. In folk tradition, tied red threads were said to have magical powers. Even if magical thinking is waning today, blood is still regarded as the essence of life force. Red symbolizes the animal, green is associated with plant life. Feelings that get the blood pumping, such as: B. Love, hate, exuberance, passion, anger and anger are associated with the color red. The blood rises to your head when you are angry, the color of your face changes to red, as well as when you are embarrassed, in love or ashamed. When there is outbursts of anger and anger, one only sees red, as it is popularly known.

Parallel to the symbolism of red as a symbol of blood, there is a symbolism of red as a symbol of fire. Just as primary as the belief in the power of blood is the worship of fire as divine power. The movement of the flame from earth to heaven is valued as a transcendental alignment to the divine. The counter-movement of lightning, which runs from heaven to earth, is interpreted as a god's spark. Gods appear as fire or in clouds of fire. Zeus sends fiery lightning bolts from heaven, God the Father appears to Moses as a burning bush and the Holy Spirit is often depicted in the form of a flame. Fire, it was believed, came to earth through the gods. The Prometheus myth speaks of the robbery of fire; Prometheus steals the fire for mankind and makes himself unpopular in the world of the gods. For mankind, fire marked the first step into civilization. It is the path from wild animal-like people to cultured, thinking people. Man has a house and a hearth fire. The raw food is transformed into cooked food. This change process of transformation through fire, heating, burning and warming, we meet again later in alchemy and in modern chemistry. The processual symbolism of change is described to us in some myths. The myth of the phoenix bird is known, which burns, rises from the ashes, changes to new life and is stronger than before through this transformation. The red of the flames has purified and changed and renewed him. Mercurius, full of inner glow, also causes a remelting and transformation process through its appearance. In its red appearance it symbolizes the transformation to love and passion but also to anger and hate. Mercurius is also green in appearance; then he is the green one, who animates everything and circles as the sap of life in the trees and plants. The fire symbolism at Pentecost is completely different. Here the Holy Spirit comes in the form of flames on the heads of the disciples and kindles the spirits of the disciples. There is a transformation going on in a spiritual sense. It is an enlightenment and a spiritual burning through the Holy Spirit. Burning, igniting, cheering are expressions that come from the fire symbolism and are transferred to the emotional and the sensual in people. The word "heat" comes from burning and refers to the sex drive. Burning out in love and passion describes an emotional movement that comes from our soul.

The symbolic content of a color in modern times is expressed in politics for national identification, or as belonging to a party and in business life to the "Cooperate Identity". Red is conspicuously signaled and attracts attention. Since very few dyes were lightfast in earlier times, apart from kermes and madder red, it is not surprising that red was the most widely used color on flags. Red was the Jacobin freedom flag in 1792. Red is the color of various labor movements. In the Russian Revolution, the red flag of the labor movement became the flag of socialism and communism. "The Reds" in Russian also means the good guys, "Red Square" in Moscow is also the beautiful square, "The Red Army" is the splendid army. For us, red has a derogatory meaning in the political sense. One speaks of the "red danger" and means China. "The Reds" are the Social Democrats, Communists and radical leftists. Hitler chose red as the basic color of the swastika banner, as the reference color for the labor movement. To establish a mass party he needed the sympathy of the workers. Companies such as Mc - Donalds, Coca Cola, Malboro and so on use their very specific red as recognition in their advertising. In road traffic, red is used worldwide as a signal and prohibition color. Anyone who disregards red is liable to prosecution. Red signals danger, indicates alarm buttons, fire extinguishers and emergency brakes. With red you reduce prices, you go in the red, in other words you make losses. Corrections are made with red. One speaks of a common thread that runs through a speech or story.

In the historical tradition of the Middle Ages, red was considered the most expensive and noble color. The manufacture and procurement were complex. The value of the color was enhanced by its magic. The belief that red clothes confer strength and power was consciously used by the nobility. Red was only allowed to be worn by aristocrats and subjects were forbidden. The death penalty was even imposed for improperly wearing red. However, when the nobility lost their economic power, they lost the privilege of wearing a red cloak: scholars, patricians and traders began to wear red cloaks from the 15th century. In the Peasants' War in 1524/25, when people began to revolt against the nobility, the peasants demanded the right to wear a red scarf (coat) as a visible sign of social appreciation. Dress codes existed in Europe until the French Revolution. There were clothing, fabrics and hierarchies of colors that were appropriate to one's rank. Pure bright colors were the colors of the rich, dull impure colors were those of the poor; that was the law of medieval color. In the fashion of our century, pure colors have almost completely disappeared. A bright red nowadays looks more vulgar than class-conscious. Today you can hardly imagine men's clothing in a bright red. A bright red is conceivable in women's fashion, but this is seen more as extravagant and not as classy.

The synthetic production of red has simplified earlier, very complex dyeing processes and thus the appreciation of red has decreased. The earlier production of crimson was made from dried female scale insects. These scale insects had attached themselves to the leaves of the Kermes oak and looked like berries due to their immobility. 140,000 lice were needed to produce one kilo of this dye, and they were scraped off the leaves with a wooden spatula. When dried, the lice were ground to a powder in a further process. The yield of one kilo of lice dye was just enough for dyeing 10 kilos of wool. The work process was laborious and expensive. Kermes red is extremely lightfast in contrast to other red, natural dyes, which fade after a short time. Garments dyed with Kermes were colourfast for generations. A dye known since ancient times was madder. This dye is obtained from the roots of the madder plant. The skin of the root is peeled off and left to dry, turning it bright red. After drying, the roots are ground into red powder. Madder red was processed into textile and paints. Madder red still exists as an artist's color. The best madder came from Asia Minor. In the 16th century the Dutch succeeded in growing madder of the highest quality. From then on, red clothing was also affordable for the middle class. With the discovery of America, a new, better red came from Mexico: the red of the Cochenillelaus, which replaced the Kermes. The dye obtained from cochineal lice was carmine red, that from pomegranate scarlet. Alum imported from Egypt and Turkey was needed for red dyeing. The fabrics were pretreated with alum stain so that the dyes bonded to the fabric and became lightfast. Up until the 17th and 18th centuries, seventeen work steps were still required to color a beautiful red. In the 19th century the arts of the dyer became superfluous due to the synthetic production of the colors and their simplified dyeing processes. In 1871, artificial madder red was produced in Germany. That was a competition for the French madder farmers, who at that time supplied all of Europe. In order to save the French natural paint from the artificial paint coming from Germany, the French army introduced new uniforms. All soldiers now wore madder-colored trousers, which earned them the nickname "red trousers". However, government support was in vain. The artificial madder became cheaper and cheaper, so that the French madder farmers had to capitulate. In Spain there are still plantations with cacti for the conchenilla lice to obtain the organic dye. This is still used today as food coloring and in the cosmetic industry for the production of lipsticks.

Associations with red

The most common spontaneous associations with red are fire, blood, embers, and heat. The spectrum of red tones starts from vermilion a light warm red, to a strong carmine red and darkens into a purple red. The most common associations with vermilion are embers, fire, eros, danger, and signal. Emotionally, vermilion stands for fiery, burning desire, as well as passion, eroticism and sexuality. A striking red, like vermilion, warns us in traffic. Markings, boundaries, alarm buttons and switches are often kept in bright red. Carmine is mostly associated with blood, strength, power, love and the heart.Due to its deep red radiation, carmine red has a strong energetic effect on us and we associate this color with warmth, pulsating activity, energy and restlessness. A strong red is intrusive and comes towards us visually. Purple tending towards blue creates a sense of distance, grandeur, and awe. There is something noble and powerful about purple. It is therefore logical that the color should be worn by royalty, clergy, judges and dignitaries. We can consider the associations of red with blood and fire to be archaic and universal. More everyday associations with red that are associated with body awareness are e.g. red hair, red lips, blushing, heat, warmth, lust, wound, pain, childbirth and menstruation. Fight, war, danger, slaughter, blood sacrifice are associations with social aspects. In our imagination and often in dreams we associate red with a rose. In ancient times the rose was consecrated to Aphrodite or Venus, the goddess of love. Another myth says that the red rose arose from the blood of Adonis; hence the name Adonis-Röslein. In Rome the rose was used to crown and glorify the god Dyonysus. Today, as in ancient times, we associate the rose with fertility, passion, love and loyalty. We associate associations of red tones in nature with sunrise or sunset, flowers and fruits. The ripening process of fruits in an apple, a strawberry, a cherry, a tomato goes from green as immature to red as perfect ripeness. When it comes to gemstones, we associate ruby ​​red and the red of carnelian. The red color serves as a symbol of the warning. We have red traffic lights, traffic signs that indicate dangers, barriers, markings, etc. Red is associated with the fire brigade, the Red Cross, the Social Democrats, the Communists, the Red Brigade, the Red Army. Red stands for expressive values ​​such as freshness, vitality, strength, power, rebellion, war, struggle, danger. In terms of body awareness, we associate red with enhancement of life, closeness, sensuality, sexuality, passion, passion, excitement. Red is also the color of vice, hell and satan.

Associations: blood red, fire red, glowing red, rose, heat, melting pot, flame, south, flag red, flag red, traffic light red, wine red, cardinal red, ruby ​​red, fuchsia red, strawberry red, tomato red, cherry red, paprika red, brick red, rust red, lipstick red, cockscomb red, pigments: Cadmium red, carmine red, vermillon red, sienna red, signal red, scarlet red, ruby ​​red, bordeaux red, permanent red, lacquer red, magenta red, purple red.

The psychoenergetic effects of red

The range of red tones from a warm, fiery to a cold, distant red has very different emotional and energetic effects on our body, soul and spirit. The range of expression differs whether it is a light pink, a delicate purple, an earthy dark red or a crimson red. With a light red, a purple or a pink, psychoenergetically tender feelings and loveliness are expressed. Eros, passion and drive burn in vermilion. The conspicuousness of the color arouses aggression and rebellion. The carmine red is in the middle of the red scale. It is a symbol of fullness, maturity, vitality and strength. A ruby ​​red is a symbol of splendor and festivity. Radiation, purity and a tinge to blue make ruby ​​red a symbol of the merging of earthly red with spiritual red. The purple with a clear tendency towards blue gives the color dignity, detachment and spirituality. A red of devotion and love is different from a red of aggression and violence. We cannot imagine a delicate shade of pink for courage, energy and determination. We choose a strong, full scarlet red for this. However, the red component of a combative red with that of a passionate red can have an equivalent red scale. In terms of energy, red has two different fields of activity depending on the brightness. The light red is attributed to mental and physical inflammation and is seen as masculine, while the dark red is associated with femininity, fertility, menstruation, blood and the earthly. While the bright, fiery, glowing red has a stimulating, dynamic and joyful effect on us, a dark deep red has a passive, earthy, powerful effect on us. Red is extroverted outwards and is preferred by open and communicative people, in contrast to blue, which stands for the introvert, the silence, the depth as well as for the self-limited. In the old doctrine of temperaments, one speaks of a sanguine "warm-blooded character". This name comes from the Latin "sanguss" blood. Less emotional, taciturn and distant people, on the other hand, are referred to as "cold-blooded" and associated with the blue color. Red is clearly energetically active and is counted among the warm colors, while blue is counted among the passive, cold colors. The body reacts to the red radiation with an increased pulse rate, blood pressure and an increased breathing rate. In the emotional realm, red is the fire, the eruption, the eruption of the volcano. The bright red has an extroverted outward effect, is active, masculine and centrifugal. The dark red has an inward, introverted effect, is dormant, feminine and centripetal. In a figurative sense, it is the color of the bodily, the earthly and the maternal. Anyone who has red as their favorite color and wears it as clothing is certainly related to the earthly, physical and maternal. Children often spontaneously choose red as their favorite color. Communicative, motorically very active and extroverted people prefer red because of its activating effect. Red is an expression of vital force, desire, desire, sexual instinct and potency. Red is the central fire, the drive, the emotional and the warmth in humans, similar to the glowing red in the earth's interior. However, red also has another side. Due to its expansive effect, the color is preferred by power-hungry, aggressive people. Red makes us irritable to a greater extent. The irritation discharge caused by red can express itself through aggressive behavior. Red is the color for revolutionary redesign, the urge to conquer, expansion and the expression of autonomy. Red is an impulse for physical activity, enterprise and willpower. The differentiated sensations are made up of personal, symbolic and cultural contents.

Psychoenergetic properties of red:

+ impulsive, active, passionate, loving, enthusiastic, fiery, optimistic, exciting, erotic, sexual, energetic, powerful, dynamic, joyful, bright, happy, extroverted, warm, intimate, down-to-earth, combative, powerful, courageous, spirited, extensive , expansive, stimulating.

- angry, angry, nervous, restless, hectic, hateful, excessive, aggressive, quarrelsome, destructive, violent, threatening, intrusive, vulgar,

Red is assigned to the lowest chakra and embodies the awareness of conservation of species, sexuality and libido.




© Franz Immoos, Amsterdam 2009

The colors:











Color plate I

Color table II

Color plate III

Color plate IV