Ask a Female: Pink Apparel

In the immortal words of Danny Trejo in Anchorman, “Ladies can do stuff now, and you’re going to learn to deal with it.”

Included in the stuff that the ladies can do is become fans of baseball. In fact, various sources estimate that the percentage of sports fans of the female persuasion is around 45%, a very significant portion of the baseball consuming public, and therefore, the baseball apparel consuming public.

You don’t often see women shopping in the Men’s department of a department store. One would think, then, that there would be a substantial potential market in making women’s apparel. However, much of the apparel available to women is similar to that of the lady in the above picture: pink. Other than that, women are either forced to buy the super-expensive Alyssa Milano-brand items or wear the same shirts and jerseys as the men.

Who cares about what I have to say about this? I barely even know what a hem is. Instead, we’ll venture somewhere FanGraphs has never gone before: into the brain of a real, live woman. I asked Royals fan and blogger Minda Haas of the aptly named www.mindahaas.net about her feelings on the state of MLB apparel for women and pink apparel in particular. Follow the jump to see what she has to say.

For the longest time, there was next to nothing in the women’s section at the Royals website. The few things that were in there outrageously overpriced and pink. In the last few years, the ladies’ merch has gotten less offensive.

Pink sports apparel isn’t inherently evil. What offended me about the ‘pink hat’ craze is that Majestic and New Era and everyone else assumed that traditional baseball gear wasn’t selling to women because it wasn’t pink. Somehow, turning everything bedazzled and pink was going to make women like wearing sports, and enjoy buying sports gear. In reality, the main thing that was keeping most sports-fan women from buying stuff was that men’s apparel is not the right shape. The difference between female and male baseball fans is not that the former can’t stand to wear real team colors; it’s that lady fans are not shaped like boxes. (Sorry, men.) We have shapes, and men’s sports apparel is not made in shapes. The industry’s solution was not to correct the shape issue; it was to pinkify everything and assume we would just LOVE it.

I think things are getting better, although women’s t-shirts still cost way more than men’s and unisex offerings. On the Royals site, there are only about seven pink items, excluding hats. Five of the seven ladies’ hats feature pink, so that’s still a battle.

A big thing teams – not just baseball – could do is just offer us what the guys wear, but in shapes that are made for us. Give me a sturdy cotton tee, not a gauzy “layering” piece. (Explanation for the dudes: Ladies’ shirts are often made in this cheap, flimsy cotton blend. It’s fairly comfy, but shirts made of this stuff don’t last as long as regular cotton tees.)

Here is a good example of what real female sports fan wants. Is that so hard? A simple shirt, not trying to be cute. A team logo on a shirt with the team color, in cotton and made for a lady.

Many thanks to Minda for her contribution!




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6 Responses to “Ask a Female: Pink Apparel”

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  1. DrBGiantsfan says:

    I have a wife and 2 daughters who are baseball fans and they would agree with Minda’s take on this.

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  2. hojusimpson says:

    I think this is only my second post on Fangraphs; what a topic to choose for my sophomore effort!

    My wife and I dislike the trend. She has vehemently opposed the pink sports apparel boom, believing it to be a marketing decision based on stereotype and perceived gender preferences. She owns a good amount of sports clothes, either women’s team-coloured gear or outright men’s stuff (due to there being more options and less frills — her words).

    Her user name on most websites is gender-neutral and pretty mundane. It fits her personality, helps avoid riff-raff and allows people to focus on the post and not the poster.

    When pink-coloured attire became more prevalent, almost dominant, she made a well-reasoned, intelligent post that essentially stated the same views as my opening paragraph.

    She was accused of being a ‘typical male fan’, ‘typical male not wanting women to have their own stuff/have fun’ and, in general, being sexist toward women. To point, there were maybe 50 who agreed and 10 who disagreed and all assumed she was a man who wanted to ‘keep women down’.

    I don’t know why some people — men and women — feel that disliking a pink sea of sports clothing is reflective of your thoughts concerning an entire gender!

    The last time I checked her mess of a desk, printouts of the replies are still pinned; kept for whenever she wants a chuckle.

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    • Minda Haas says:

      That’s incredible! Also, your wife sounds like a cool lady.

      For some reason, the only thing a marketer can think of when trying to figure out how to tap into the female market is “pink and sparkly.” Pretty stupid.

      I’ve always used my real name on message boards and blogs, and so far very few people have given me crap about being a ladyperson. Turns out, we CAN be real sports fans!

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  3. jinaz says:

    Just wanted to say that I think “Ask a Female” HAS TO BE a recurrent feature at NotGraphs.
    -j

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  4. Bryz says:

    Same here, Minda. I can’t stand the pink stuff, it’s hideous. I’d compare this to the black and yellow jerseys I’ve started to see that make everything look like it belongs to the Pirates. http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4128164&cp=1452810.1472473

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  5. Yinka Double Dare says:

    The opinion of most women sports fans I know on pink team gear is “pink is not a team color.”

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