When I sat down to write about the very important controversy surrounding Pink and/or Sparkly Jerseys and their place in women’s team apparel, it turned out to be harder than I expected.
I waffled between something that sounded like a women’s studies thesis and a vaguely bitchy rant full of unfounded judgements, which I suppose is a pretty good cross section of my mind, but also doesn’t seem particularly fair.
So, like any good “reporter,” I hopped on Twitter and asked my lady tweeps to lay it on me: “Do you wear/own pink and/or sparkly team apparel?” The responses, which I’ll get into later, varied from predictable to eye-opening.
But I didn’t need to ask my tweeps to know that the Pink Jersey (or really any fan gear that screams, “Hey look! I’m a GIRL!”) falls right behind the Puck Bunny on the short list of things that polarizes female hockey fans.
It seems the Pink Jersey is, for many, a litmus test. Nobody says it, but the implication is that you can’t be a serious fan and be wearing pink team gear. Because if you’re serious about your team, you wear your team’s colors.
There are two aspects to the Pink Jersey issue: There’s the fact that it’s sold at all, and there’s the fact that people buy it. I’ve heard from merchandising folks that they sell what they sell because it sells! So, for me, the argument against selling it pretty much ends there. Capitalism, holla!
As long as there’s a selection of team-colored, women’s cut stuff for the pink-haters, then sell however much pink stuff you want.
But moving on to the fact that people buy it, here’s the scenario I assumed was how most of the pink apparel got sold:
Hockey-addicted boyfriends and husbands tired of being hen-pecked for wanting to watch hockey instead of “The Bachelor” think that if she learns to love the game and wants to watch WITH him, then he can watch more hockey. Boom!
It’s the equivalent of inviting your neighbor to your raucous house party so they won’t complain about the noise.
So, just to make sure they like it, they buy them the girliest looking team gear they can find to give as a gift, nay, bribe for their lady. “Look honey! You can like hockey, too! This sparkly shirt practically insists on it!”
And while that may be how it happens in some cases, Twitter found me one fan who bought her OWN pink jersey. Jackpot!
Amy, a Wild fan, said she already had the white and red Wild jerseys (which she wears more often than the pink, BTW), so she bought the pink one.
So, I think to myself, she must just really like pink then. Do you tend to wear a lot of pink in your regular wardrobe, Amy?
“Heck no! I am SOOO not a girly girl.”
Yet you bought a pink hockey jersey?! Mind. Blown.
“I figured the hockey part evened out the girly part.”
So, I found a female fan who is die-hard enough to want a version of every Wild jersey available, doesn’t even wear pink normally, but bought and occasionally wears a pink jersey. That’s actually kinda bad ass.
I know it’s anecdotal, as Amy was the only one in probably 20 responses who copped to having bought pink team gear for herself. But at least for me, the assumptions I tend to make when I see a girl in pink team gear are a little less rigid, which is a good thing. Hater gonna hate slightly less now.
Of course the skewing factor in this very scientific survey is that you’re probably not following me on Twitter unless you’re pretty damn serious about hockey, so I wasn’t going to get any, “My boyfriend bought it for me to have something to wear to games with him.”
Still the majority of responses ranged from, “OH HELL NO!” to “Pink is okay, but sparkly can bite me” to “Sparkly is okay, but pink can bite me.” On the whole, the consensus was “anti-pink, anti-sparkle, wear your team’s colors, and don’t dress like a slut.”
But for those who enjoy pink gear, a quick survey of the NHL Shop indicates their heyday may be over. All the bellyaching from pink-haters seems to have gotten through to the league’s merchandise group and there are only 6 items of women’s clothing that are pink. Not even per team. I mean AT ALL.
Most stuff is, in fact, team colors and for the most part, completely lacking in sparkle. The critical failures I noticed were the Alyssa Milano items and the frumpy Reebok Fair Isle jerseys.
The new trend, now that we’ve whipped retailers into shape about pink and, at least somewhat, about sparkles, seems to be plunging neck lines: cleavage, cleavage, cleavage!
And truth be told, boobs are awesome, so I’m 100% okay with this trend. But I live in a place that’s hot 80% of the year, so less clothing in strategic places is fairly practical.
Still, I have a feeling guys will be WAY more supportive of it than the ladies.
So, what say you, gals: Is putting your rack on display, along with your team pride, appealing to you?
Is it just another attempt by The Man to objectify us? Or are you okay with flaunting whatcha got down at the good ol’ hockey game?
Will you northern gals all catch your deaths of cold? Want NHL Shop to knit you a nice pink scarf for you? *ducks & runs*
(Big thanks to the everyone who responded to my call for input, especially to @FantamAmy, @stacy_814, @Esbee92, and @1st_round_pick.)