Thursday, August 23, 2007

Angry Feminist Rant


First off, the Ottawa Senators unveiled their new jerseys yesterday and full pictures of the new threads can be found on Scarlett Ice.

I'm really torn on this one. I don't love it and I don't hate it. I'm glad they kept it simple but the lack of anything else on the body of the jersey gives it a practice jersey feel to it and I don't quite understand the need for the under-arm art. However, I am glad they kept it clean and avoided pointless piping and random colour blocking.

My real gripe however, is seeing this lovely t-shirt that was also on sale at Sensations as part of the new Senators merchandise available. It was taken by my friend Lydia who attended the jersey unveiling event:



Christy from Behind the Jersey also uncovered a similarly themed t-shirt available for the Red Wings fans.

Look, I know a lot of women like pink. I, myself have always disliked the colour but I'm not about to judge and ostracize you if you have a preference to wear it. The thing is, you can't pigeon-hole the female fanbase and say you're catering to their needs when all you offer them in their sizes and cuts are jerseys that completely eliminate the point of offering team merchandise in the first place. What's the point of shelling out for a team's jersey when they're all the same colour?

The whole pink jersey debate aside, I fail to see the logic in placing swirly, sparkly hearts on a t-shirt and think women will be rushing to buy it. Maybe this is an inappropriate generalization, but if you're a female hockey fan you're probably not the type who enjoys wearing pink hearts on a regular basis. If you do, you probably don't like it associated with your favourite hockey team.

Really, I know I shouldn't be surprised since you don't have to take cultural studies courses to realize that most of the media and culture is controlled by middle-aged corporate executives who try to tell you what you should or shouldn't like just so they can fatten their wallet. I'm sure there is a market for these things of men who purchase these shirts for their girlfriends who don't particularly care for hockey themselves but will wear it to make their boyfriends happy when they're being dragged to hockey games.

I don't mean any offense in my ranting. I'm sure there are a lot of passionate and serious female hockey fans who see no problems in this kind of merchandise. However, this type of design hardly screams 'take me seriously'. If you think about it, it shows that the marketing department in fact doesn't take their female fan base seriously because there's a problem when people think that women will only want to buy merchandise that's stereotypically "cutesy" and "girly". It's not the presence of pink hearts and butterflies that attracted us to hockey in the first place, so why would we need to see it on the clothing to get us to buy it?

23 comments:

Tracy said...

Haha. I would actually wear that... IF the colors were something like my TEAM colors or like black and white. I don't mind the big heart, it's not something I would normally wear but it doesn't make me want to kill people. I won't however wear it because I know a lot of floozies will wear it and I refuse to be the same. Does that make me sound stuck up?

Shmee said...

That was really well put Sherry.

You hit it on the mark when you say that this pigeon holes females fans. It also demeans us. How can you be take seriously as a hockey fan when you are wearing that t-shirt? The shirt also strongly implies "Puck Bunny"

Britannia said...

I even sent an email to merchandise@nhl.com objecting the pinkitude.

SURPRISE! It was a form reply.

We need to band together and start making BIG BIG stink wherever we can. I wonder if we could change things?

Perhaps register "stopthepink.hlog.com" and start cataloging all these things there?

DCSportsChick said...

It's extremely insulting for the marketing dept. to assume that all women want cutesy pink shirts instead of some actual team gear. This is what I've been railing about for the past year, and it still makes me angry, every time. WHY CAN'T I GET A FEMALE-SIZED JERSEY IN MY TEAM'S COLORS?!?

(That shirt was ugly not only for its color, but also the design on the front. If we have to be demeaned with pink gear, at least give us cool-looking stuff.)

Sherry said...

Tracy - I don't object to the heart so much it's what the heart represents [or, I'm just talking crazy psychobabble]. It's not as bad as the Red Wings one Christy posted on her blog, and really it's a pretty cute design but the point is it has nothing to do with hockey or the team at all.

And no, it doesn't make you stuck up at all. It's sort of sad if you think about the fact that you can't wear certain things or you'll be thought of as a puckbunny and not taken seriously but that's just the reality of how some people are.

Shmee - Thanks! I've actually a couple more points I thought of while on the bus haha because seriously it just makes me mad. Sometimes it's already hard enough having guys treat you seriously as a hockey fan, but this certainly doesn't help the cause.

Britannia - That doesn't surprise me at all and I think the biggest way to stop it is to get people to stop buying it. Back in the day CCM used to make womens cut jerseys in the regular team colours but they allegedly stop producing it because of lack of sales, so it's entirely possible to stop it.

DCSC - It's true. While I don't have a problem with pink clothing, they could at least make it less vomit-inducing. It's extremely frustrating to know that THAT is what the marketing department thinks of their female fans.

aquietgirl said...

There's a total lack of wearable fan merchandise for women, I totally agree. Everything I have either comes down to my knees. I don't want stuff with hearts -- I just want stuff fitted to women's bodies.

There must be a market for those shirts, though -- surely it sells, if they keep producing it. Who's buying them?!

flyer.femme said...

Ladies, I've just discovered your blog. Thank you for creating this space! I'm absorbing all that you share and laughing a lot.

I have to echo every point made in the orginal post and the comments.

Beyond the fact that it's too puck bunny, too girly, and will cause us to not be taken seriously, those middle-age execs want to see us wear it and not for confused ideas of what female fans like.

(Go ahead, put your minds in the gutter because that is part of the thinking behind it. Trust me, I work in communications and marketing.)

I share dcsportschick's lament on jerseys for women. I could shop in the little boys section, but I want to ensure the kiddies can buy their own. Likewise, I could buy out of the men's area, but unless that jersey comes with a new cute, tall boyfriend...forget it.

Does anyone know if any of the NHL teams has a women's division in their fan relations offices? And if so, do they have any women working in it? Just wondering. Maybe that's a way to "hack" into the system.

HG said...

How old do they think their female fans are? 5? I'm a little cheesed right now. I might be back later with a more eloquent response or maybe not. Maybe I'll just kick the NHL Marketing Dept. in the shins and run away like the little girl I am.

Sherry said...

AQG - Glad to hear from you again! you've certainly been living up to your name :P

I totally agree, I'm perplexed as who they think the market is. I suppose it's those men I mentioned who buy it thinking their girlfriends will like it or perhaps the ever popular puckbunnies who enjoy these t-shirts.

flyer.femme - Welcome to this space and glad you've found us!

I always posited the theory that since the pink jerseys from afar look the same, the only way you can tell who your allegiances are with is if people make a point to stare at your chest, so you might have a point there!

I highly doubt the marketing department has a women's division and if they do, its probably run by middle-aged men :P

HG - Despite theories and us joking that we turn into 5-year-olds when we get into hockey games on, this is hardly what we had in mind, is it? They do indeed deserve a good shin-kicking but I suppose we should be grateful the league hasn't hired Alyssa whatsherface to design our merch like MLB has.

Patty (in Dallas) said...

Man, the pink clothes irk me. The heart is not my favorite, but I don't object to it as much as the color. My 13-year-old niece would love the heart, but even she would want the team colors for her little girly shirt. The pink thing isn't just hockey, though. In the sporting-goods stores around here, all the college logos come in a pink version. I wouldn't be caught dead wearing a Longhorns hat in pink! That's crazy!

aquietgirl said...

I went to the mall today and they didn't have a single item of wearable Sens merchandise but they did have pink Sens pajamas. True story.

k.le said...

admittedly, it's hard to judge from the picture, but the shirts look quite...large.
is this an optical illusion? or have they severely overestimated the size of the average female?

KMS2 said...

I immediately went to the shop.nhl.com site to see if the Kings had anything equally as ugly and thankfully, no, they do not. However, there is a blue 'baseball' cap with a Kings logo on it, which I actually like, but Blue? I'm sorry, I thought the Kings were purple and the merchandise is black.

Anyway, that Red Wings shirt is HIDEOUS!

I kept looking at the Sens shirt waiting for a Betty Boop (or is it Bop?) to appear with her blowing kisses and little hearts gradually getting bigger till one becomes the size of the one that's shown on the shirt. Now that would have been awesome, right??

I'm really tempted to write a letter to the Kings organization about the need for good quality women's clothing that will express our love for the game, not our love for being a girl. If I can express my feelings as well as Sherry did then maybe I'll send it.

Shan said...

While I think it's completely unacceptable and idiotic, I have more tolerance for the stupid pink teenager stuff on a t-shirt than on the actual jerseys. Looks like most of the new jerseys are going to suck though, like this one, which makes them look like sad college football quarterbacks. It's a travesty, but what's worrisome is that this isn't one egregious offence of stereotyping, it's part of a grand plan that the NHL has in its marketing.

Jordi said...

Aww kids lighten up, they suck ass but hey, it's Sens themed.

*ahem*

Anyway I wouldn't be pissed if I were a mother shopping for a daughter - and I'd assume that's who they're honing in on. Either way, the pink jerseys are great in the fact that one day I will get "Leafs suck" on the back of one of them.

But I guess I'm not enraged, not yet, because I'm lucky that it'll be a sad day if that's all that's left to show my appreciation for my team.

The Acid Queen said...

I think I am going to be ill. The Hurricanes have not one but TWO shirts like that.

Britannia said...

Also, what the hell's the difference between men and women's hats?
Don't we all have heads?

Meg said...

The Sabres seem to offer nearly everything in both pink and team colors...the exceptions being their women's hats (my assumption is that women's hats are a bit smaller britannia)and this lovely piece of apparel.

Bad enough, all the pink clothing...does it really have to be such an unappealing shade of pink?

bruinmccon said...

when i was in college, my mom used to be so pissed that the only t-shirts I could get her that said "[my college] mom" had flowers on it, as if all moms of kids at the school were into gardening. this is just more of the same, it bugs me like it bugs me to see any woman who knows anything about baseball wearing those light pink red sox hats and tees. offensive.

KMS2 said...

the only t-shirts I could get her that said "[my college] mom" had flowers on it

Haha, that is so true!

It would be one thing if these "Hearts" shirts were only available in the youth section so it looked like the NHL was only marketing these shirts to little girls, but they're in the Womens section!! Ahhhh, so ridiculous!!

KMS2 said...

Now this shirt is "girly" but I think it's a reasonable amount of girliness that actually makes the shirt kind of cute. I would wear it....if it was available in the Kings section.

Elly said...

I am literally days behind on this one (go school!), but I wanted to say something on the point Tracy brought up. I hate the fact that this pink/girly craze makes it so that any woman who goes to a sporting event in anything less than full face paint and an autographed jersey is labeled as something other than a true sports fan. Oh, and don't forget that she's got to have her boyfriend/fiance/husband there as well in order to get some sort of nod from the male fans. I almost hate to see the first reaction to telling people that I'm a Penguins fan, because all they think is that I am automatically there to see the 'hot young guys' on the team. Even just buying a Crosby jersey labels you as a 'I Love Sidney' fan instead of someone who just appreciates the fact that he is f-ing good at hockey, damn it.

Phew. I'm done.

For now. ;)

Sasky said...

ZOMG YOU KNOW P-LYDDIE TOOOO?