Monday, November 10, 2008

Women, fandom, and consumerism

The title makes it seem like I am going to say something truly profound about these issues. But not really. 'Cause I've said a lot of it before. But it's Monday; I just got back from Denver, and I'm feeling blog-lazy. So I'll just repeat my basic rant that is always engendered by articles such as this one that report--always with a hint of surprise--that female fans of men's professional sports comprise a pretty significant portion of the consumer base for apparel and other fan gear/accessories.
Yes, sales of women's NFL jerseys are up and appear to be equal to those of men's and youth.
I get the different fit for women--though I'm not so sure some men wouldn't benefit from different fits either. Women are not the only ones with prominent breasts these days. Ideally I would like, at the very least, a gender-neutral sizing system. Why I am a men's small but a women's large kind of confounds me. Anyway, cut is one thing--color is another:
Also helping the sales of NFL sports apparel are the pink NFL jerseys that are also a relatively new phenomenon. Women who acknowledge their feminine side while watching the NFL's brutes knock each other around on Sundays are also buying the pink jerseys of their favorite NFL stars in part to show support for the fight against breast cancer. Many NFL teams tie in awareness events with pink NFL apparel including the most popular jerseys of players like Tony Romo and Brett Favre.
I do this great sound effect that is a cross between an extended sigh and grrrr...that comes from the back of my throat. That's what I am doing right now. Seriously, I am so over this pink crap. I think that manufacturers realized that the pink for women thing might not last and so became attached to breast cancer causes. But if all these teams and apparel companies really supported breast cancer awareness/research/etc. they would 1) probably not have enough social conscience not to have their products produced in sweat shops, 2) would not tie their donation amounts to sales of jerseys and 3) would market to men, too. All these male athletes and execs are allegedly concerned with breast cancer, yet none of them are sporting pink jerseys. Hmmm....

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Middlesex County Cricket Club, one of London's two 'Major League' teams played in and won the Twenty20 Cup playing in pink this past season, and as far as I know replica shirts are on sale to male fans.

Anonymous said...

Anoynomous is Katharine Sinderson

ken said...

Thanks, Katharine. That's interesting. Don't think that would go over well in the US. And I imagine most US fans of men's professional sports here would, upon hearing such a story, make disparaging comments on British men's masculinity.
Still good to see other countries don't have such an issue.

Diane said...

For me, the worst part is that I have always enjoyed wearing pink, and now pink has so much attached to it--breast cancer "awareness," ultra-fake femininity--Oh, well...

Anonymous said...

I agree with Diane. I remember when pink baseball caps came out and I wanted one (and got one as a gift) simply because I really liked the color. Only later did I realize how over-interpreted pink was/is. It's just a color to me. I still wear it. I don't care.

Rebecca said...

Whereas I just hate team gear that's not in team colors. Yankee caps in every color of the rainbow piss me off almost as much as pink gear does. Real fans wear their colors and do it with pride. Pink just adds another element of "oh, well, you're not a real fan, you're a girly fan, so have some girly colors to go with your girly fandom". If I see a girl in a pink Shockey jersey (to pick an example I have seen in New York), I don't assume she's actually a fan of the Giants (or now the Saints), or that she appreciates Shockey's blocking or catches for big gains: I assume she likes him because she thinks he's cute.

I'm just waiting for the day that this all comes full circle and the WNBA starts selling pink jerseys. The cognitive dissonance of a pastel pink Janel McCarville jersey would probably break people's brains like eggs.

ken said...

McCarville might not to be too pleased either!
Thanks for weighing in, Rebecca.

Anonymous said...

Just to point out, the second anonymous isn't me. I would write 'colour'! Having checked out the Middlesex CCC site I noticed that they sell the pink replica shirts in Adult sizes and Women's sizes! Apparently the latter don't belong in the former category. I guess for every plus there is a minus. Katharine Sinderson

Anonymous said...

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