Friday, October 30, 2009

Preachy Merchandise Rant...

Inspired by Puck Daddy’s recent post about sexism in sports attire, I decided to go on my own little rant (no really, I’m not kidding, I’m going to rant). I spend a pretty large amount of my time supporting the three sports teams that are near and dear to my heart. I don’t think that it’s too much to ask to have some quality merchandise available in women’s sizes. I understand that the majority of sports fans are male, and as a result they account for a larger percentage of merchandise sales, but there is a large and growing female fanbase out there. And those of us who are real fans, not just annoyed girlfriends who got dragged along to the game, have been largely ignored. This problem isn’t limited to the NHL either. The story is the same for MLB and college sports (I’m going to assume this also applies to the NBA and NFL, but I’ve never so much as looked at any of their merchandise so I can’t say for sure).

The things that make me the most irrationally angry are the pink jerseys.These are travesties. What’s the point of shelling out all that money on a jersey if you’re not even going to wear your team’s colors? I wouldn’t be caught dead inside Joe Louis Arena wearing anything other than red and white. I’m also a frequent visitor to Hockeytown Authentics (I won’t call it whatever they renamed it). And every time I stop in, I seem to leave feeling cranky. You’d think that spending time surrounded by the logos of my two favorite sports teams would leave me feeling happy, but instead I always leave irritated. As if the pink jerseys aren’t insulting enough, a large portion of the women’s t-shirts are pink. Some of them are inexplicably purple. Why? On top of that, most of them are glittery and have cutesy swirly fonts. Also, somewhere along the line, someone decided that it was a good idea to bedazzle women’s sports merchandise. Again, why? It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I’m kind of a tomboy, and I find it insulting that merchandising folks think that the only way to get my dollars is to provide me with suitably girly shirts. I’m still awaiting the time I walk into the store to find a baby pink Hockeytown Princess shirt that features a Wings logo with a bedazzled crown.

On the rare occasions that I find something in the women’s department that I like enough to purchase, I get even more irritated because it’s more expensive than comparable men’s products. (And don’t say it’s because of the bedazzling. They can jack up the prices on that crap all they want. I stick to normal t-shirts.) Case in point: I’ve been coveting a Zetterberg name/number t-shirt for ages. I’ve got an older Datsyuk shirt (baggy men’s size, of course) and I feel the need to complete my Eurotwin set. I haven’t bought one yet because I tend not to wear my giant t-shirts on days when I plan on leaving the house and I figured it’d be a waste of money. Imagine my delight when I was informed that they did in fact make women’s sizes of the name shirts. Unfortunately, they can only be purchased online. Where I can’t try them on. And I have to pay for shipping. Also, they’re more expensive than the same exact shirt in men’s sizes on the NHL’s website. And I can guarantee you that less material is used to make a women’s medium than a men’s medium. So what gives? Nothing, except for the fact that folks know that they can get away with it because there’s a much smaller selection of women’s merchandise out there to choose from. Those of us ladies out there who are serious fans will pay the extra three or four bucks because there isn’t any other choice. There’s nowhere to shop around and we’re a captive market. It’s simple economics. And it’s certainly unfair.

So what can be done to make me happy? It’s simple. Stop treating me like a cutesy little girly girl. I don’t need anything frilly. I don’t need my shirts bedazzled or covered with glitter. And I most definitely don’t want anything in any color not found in my team’s logo. All I’m looking for t-shirt or two with that Winged Wheel I love so much on it that won’t make me look frumpy. I like to think that the male puckheds out there could get behind that notion too, if you know what I mean. As far as jerseys are concerned, they can do whatever they want with those. I’ve got my Stevie Y, so I’m set for life, thanks.

/end rant

It’s the middle of the night and I’m pretty cranky right now. I spent the afternoon talking hockey with some folks from school, and I think we just dragged each other into greater distress. I’m going to use that as my excuse for whatever I’ve just written above. I’m sure I got up on my soapbox a little bit, but it really does bother me.

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