Big Pink

April 24, 2010
Posted by Jay Livingston

Palermo is cleaning AC Milan’s clock, 2-0 in the first half. I don’t usually watch soccer – in fact, I’ve never seen either of these teams play before – but when I’m grading papers, it helps to have a sport that you don’t really have to watch, a sport where scoring is rare.

It wasn’t Palermo’s goals or outstanding saves that caught my attention. It was their uniforms.

If there were to be a new NFL franchise, what are the chances that its uniforms would be pink? Or a new NBA or MLB franchise? Maybe you have to be from Sicily to get away with this (“You got a problem with pink?”). More likely, pink doesn’t have the meaning there it has here.

In the US today, pink is the color of girls and of preppy guys who buy their shirts at Brooks Bros. It is definitely not the color of jocks. (I think that there are some evol-psych types who argue that seeing pink as feminine is part of human nature.) But pink hasn’t always had that meaning even in the US. Take a look at some of the pink posts by Lisa and Gwen at Sociological Images (here and here, for example).


The Essential Rose said...

When I first came to South Korea to teach I was a bit taken aback by the sight of so many men wearing pink. I was so brainwashed by the western notion of pink = girl/gay that it took me a while to get used to it. Pink is a beautiful complement to darker skin tones and here in SK it just doesn't have the sexual/gender connotations that it has in Canada or the U.S. I think it's unfortunate that such a lovely color has become so "shameful" in the west if it's not being worn by a female. Of course pink has also been co-opted by breast cancer awareness, so maybe it's not such a taboo for men to wear it if it's in support of that particular cause, in say, a marathon or something.

Jon said...

Since I'm a football fan, I'll ignore your comment, "when I’m grading papers, it helps to have a sport that you don’t really have to watch, a sport where scoring is rare."

Pink is more common in football uniforms than you might think, though sometimes they are worn for special occasions. Here are some more examples:

Jay Livingston said...

Jon. Thanks for the pink link. I think I like Sevilla's outfit best. As for the TV watching comment, I put that in for a soccer-fan friend. In fact, the best sport to grade papers by is, far and away, baseball.