At the risk of total ostracization from the NHL, male hockey bloggers, and Twitter followers in general, I would like to write to you concerning to your tweet posted today, 11/3/09, regarding your ‘line’ of ‘Women’s Fashion Jerseys’. I would like to think I speak for a multitude of female NHL fans when I say; excuse me?
When you offer a line of clothing to female hockey fans, do you do any market surveys with women hockey fans?
I am quite sure there is a market for this line of pink jerseys that you are promoting to women. There must be, otherwise you would not continue to offer them. But, and I would like to emphasize BUT , please recognize there are so many women hockey fans that do not wish to wear pink jerseys. (Here are some words to live by-pink is for lingerie and Breast Cancer Fundraising).
If the NHL would offer ‘regulation’ style jerseys in team colors with a women in mind, we would all appreciate it and probably swamp your store with orders. It is very difficult to find women’s hockey jerseys that are actually made for a woman, let alone ones that come pre-customized with a player's name and number. In searching online and after reviewing the comments in reply to your posting, I can see that many women feel it is a relentless endeavor.
In the hope that I can persuade you to consider our pleas,
I would like to direct you to a recent blog article called “Sexism and the NHL third jersey: Female fan's plight, fight” written by Greg Wyshynski on his Puck Daddy blog, dated 10/30/09, where even though he is writing about NHL Third Jerseys, this could be applied to all NHL team jerseys. He states:
This might all seem like quite a mountainous molehill, but it speaks directly to the problems many female fans have had with the League's marketing approach. Creating a female-cut version of a third jersey seems like such a fundamentally sound decision -- the jerseys are usually more visually striking, in a fashion sense, than the usual gear -- that it was rather stunning to discover that they aren't available.
Is it possible that women's cut jerseys are available off the Web, or that they're on the way? Sure. But for now, it's either a pitiful oversight or, worse, an intentional decision not to tailor these jerseys for female fans in the same way that traditional home jerseys are; either way, it needs to be rectified by the teams that aren't currently offering them.
Secondly, is it possible to find a line of clothing whose name is not insulting to women fans? I am speaking of “Be Luv’d”, “touch” by Alyssa Milano, and “Ice Flirt”. These names are a connotation of the image of the female hockey fan as the proverbial ‘puck bunny'. I would be embarrassed to wear any clothing with a trade name such as those, and I am sure I am not alone in this.
Finally, I would like you to consider the role the NHL, (and thereby; the NHL Shop), plays in the marketing to women fans. Among many of the responses to your posting regarding the ‘fashion jerseys’, (and yes, I must put that in quotes, because there really is very little that is ‘fashionable’ about them), I would like to call your attention to a comment made by @sweetestofdekes,
“@nhl_shop, in fact, I'd like you to meet my master's thesis on marketing hockey to women sometime. Have your people call my people.”
I have read her thesis, and find it extremely well written and informative. Not only speaking as a feminist, which I am, but as a female hockey fan, there is a lot the NHL could learn if you broaden your thinking in regards to women fans.
So, as much as I, and thousands of other female hockey fans, support the NHL, the NHL Shop, and our home teams, please realize that our complaint isn’t so much the pink jerseys, as it is the lack of women’s jerseys in team colors that we would be proud to wear to any NHL game. Offer those in addition to the pink ‘jerseys’ and we’ll happily and quietly scoff at the ‘Women’s Fashion Jerseys’ while we attend our NHL games feeling like our voices and opinions matter to the NHL…Any questions?