Ask the Ladies… Pink hat syndrome?

The question, from reader Craig:

“In your experience, does ‘pink hat syndrome’ actually exist, which is to say, a woman wearing a pink hat for her team is far more likely to be a bandwagon fan and far less likely to have a depth of knowledge in the realm of sport?”

a problem for real sports fans everywhere?

Pink hats: a problem for "real sports fans" everywhere?

Each Lady… had a 111-word limit, so here we go!

Lady Andrea has a pink hat:

I try not to judge women who wear the pink/purple gear. My Cards hat is pink (though it was a gift from my Grandpa).  I have friends who know their stuff and just choose to wear pink because they like pink.  I also know women who wear the real colors and don’t know jack.  Overall, as long as there is women’s gear available in regular team colors (so that my choice isn’t pink bedazzled crap OR a man’s shirt that fits me like a tent) and it comes in sizes other than 0 for us busty gals, I don’t have a problem with the girls who like pink.

Misstress Christina exceeds the word limit:

I think it really depends on the girl, but I’m inclined to say that a pink hat wearing girl IS a bandwagon fan. What’s wrong with “her” team’s ACTUAL colors? Most teams have several variation jerseys or hats that are white based with the other colors on it (in case wearing too much black or navy blue is a bit too manly or some shit), what’s the need to girly it up with a totally unrelated color just to prove to the masses that you are indeed female? Note to said girls: The boobs are usually the first give away. I think that Carolina Blue is one of the most beautiful colors, partly because of how cool it is to be in a crowd of people wearing the same color as you and cheering on the same team. How am I supposed to be part of the family if I look like cotton fricking candy? How are the other fans supposed to recognize me as their own kind? Read the tiny emblem etched on the hat?

I’m not going to pass judgment on these girls overall knowledge of the sport though. Maybe she knows a ton about football or baseball but just doesn’t follow a specific team, so she bandwagon jumped and bought the cute pink hat to wear to the game so she would fit in. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t know about the sport in general. However, I hate pink and they should not be allowed to sell any pink gear at sporting events unless the teams colors are indeed pink. Or its for breast cancer awareness, because helping people is cool.

Chitown Chick follows the rules:

It’s absolutely true. Listen, I love pink and own A LOT of it. However, my team’s colors are my team’s colors, good or bad. Just because I look nice in pink, green or electric blue does not mean that they are suddenly the colors of the Bears, Cubs or Mizzou. Ya dance with the colors that brung ya!

Could this item be next in Metsys wardrobe?

Could this item be next in Metsy's wardrobe?

Metschick tries not to judge:

Pink hats?  The bane of my sports existence.  I see one and I automatically think less of the wearer.

But, lately, I’ve been thinking about that.  Mostly because I now have a picture that shows me wearing a pink hat.  It was part of the Mother’s Day Giveaway this year at Shea, and right after I received the hat, Mr. Met was walking around, taking pics with the fans.  Of course I needed one.

Therefore, I am now making a conscious effort to not automatically reject any sports fan rocking the pink hat.  Sure, it’s a stereotype that women flove pink.  But “the fan who wears a pink hat is an ignorant sports fan” is one as well.

SA sees the pink-hat beast feeding itself:

I hate pink sports apparel. Hate hate hate. But just because a fan is wearing it doesn’t mean she’s a bandwagon fan. Just means she likes the pink Red Sox hat or the pink USC shirt. HOWEVA, I think guys are far more likely to buy pink sporting apparel for their girlfriends who aren’t necessarily sports fan which just adds to the stereotype.

The Dame of Extra Time isn’t Heidi Montag (for which we are glad):

I don’t know if I can really give an informed opinion on the issue as I don’t know anyone, nor have I ever spoken to anyone, who wears pink/really girly sports attire. But when I see someone like Heidi Montag turn up to a Dodgers’ game in a cutesy pink outfit, I can’t help but assume things. The whole idea of lady-centric sports attire confuses me. What’s the point. Still, it’d probably be unwise to look at a girl and immediately write her off because she, you know, happens to own a pink Leafs jersey or something. Not everyone’s Heidi.

Is she not a true fan because pink is her color?

Is she not a true fan because pink is her color?

Miss Minda judges, but probably shouldn’t:

I often get annoyed when people don’t think I can know about baseball because my work uniform (at a ballpark) is a hot-pink tank top. But whenever I see other women wearing pink team apparel, I do catch myself judging, assuming that woman is giving real sports fans a bad name. I’m glad Craig posed this question so I could mentally slap myself for falling into that trap; I will do better now!

La M Alana wants to throw rocks sometimes (don’t we all?)

I don’t think a pink hat immediately indicates anything is automatically true about its wearer – after all, as the other Ladies have said, a pink team hat, or other clothing of its type, could be a present from a significant other or relative that doesn’t know any better. However, to me it indicates that certain things are more likely to be true. She’s more likely to be a dilettante, of sorts, dabbling in being a fan, perhaps going to games in order to impress men with her fun fearless femaleness and willingness to embrace their silly manly pastimes. Part of me doesn’t want to judge such young ladies; the other part of me wants to throw rocks at them.  After all, much as I hate tokenism, I hate people who makes tokens of themselves – being a female sports fan isn’t so much of a rarity that one must mark one’s self out, with special colors and cute outifts!, as a super-special possesor of two X-chromosomes (and little apparent intelligence). Team sports are about conformity community, girl. Fit in.

As always, feel free to use the “e-mail the Ladies…” link at the top-right of the front page. We want to hear from you, so ask away!

52 thoughts on “Ask the Ladies… Pink hat syndrome?

  1. I was at Busch Stadium last fall (my first game there) and I wanted a Cards ball cap. There was a nice woman who asked if she could help me when I went into the souvenir shop and I said I wanted a ball cap and she led me to the wall of hats for women. I had to tell her 2 or 3 times that I did NOT want a hat that was pink or had sparkles on it before she gave up looking on the women’s hat wall for a hat that wasn’t pink and/or sparkly and took me over to the men’s hat wall where they had the hats I wanted (hats with the actual team colors). I think she didn’t quite get me, though she was very patient and she knew her hats (I believe I left with a “sunday home game” hat).

  2. It’s narrow minded and wrong, but I automatically think less of the “pink hat” girl. I assume she’s there to look cute for the boys and pretend she has any clue why they pull the goalie on a delayed penalty.

    I also hate when a large of group of college-aged people are at a game and there’s what I call “The Girl”. You know her, the only girl in the group. She spent three hours before the game doing her hair and makeup and she’s dressed like she’s going out on the town, rather than at a sporting event. There’s probably not any pink team gear involved, because there’s no team gear involved period. She yells and cheers with the boys but based on her demeanor you can tell she really has no clue and is just hoping all the boys she came with (and then some) think she’s hot. To that girl, FUCK YOU, and please don’t ever sit near me. I’ll be wearing my unfeminine hockey jersey and swearing like a sailor because my defenseman can’t hold it in on the point.

    Still, it’d probably be unwise to look at a girl and immediately write her off because she, you know, happens to own a pink Leafs jersey or something

    I’d write her off just because of the Leafs jersey, whatever color it is!

  3. Well the Spurs colors used to be like hot pink, tangerine, and teal (along with the current silver and black and white). I still may buy a white with pink trim Ginobili or Duncan jersey soon.

    I don’t care whether someone wears a pink jersey probably because I see enough girls wearing the normal Spurs/Cowboys jerseys everyday at the mall, walmart, corner store. It’s weird but I never see anyone wear an Astros jersey outside of an actual game.

    The other thing mentioned about the girls that get dressed up like they’re going clubbing? I think it’s funny. At least they’re contributing in some way, if only through the concession stands.

  4. At least they’re contributing in some way, if only through the concession stands.

    Hey, that’s a good way to look at it. Everybody’s money is green, and that’s all that matters as far as the team is concerned!

  5. There is some pink gear that donates to the Komen Foundation for breast cancer (offhand, I know the NFL did it for a while for Deanna Favre).

    I’m OK with that.

  6. I’ve found my people!

    I remember looking around the Jays Shop last year and I couldn’t find anything in the team colours for women except for an off-the-shoulder model that had something to do with Alyssa Milano. It was infuriating. At least it’s better this year. There’s some shirts with the team colours. Unfortunately they’re designed for women who are sticks and not full-figured. I looked horrible in all of them. Is it too much for me to get a Halladay shirt that actually flatters my figure?

    I just hate the assumption that because I’m female I must want pink, or pastels in general. So whenever I see someone wearing the pink stuff, I get enraged. It has nothing to do with how much knowledge I think they have. I just hate that they’re perpetuating the stereotype and making it that much harder to get stuff in the team colours that is actually designed for a woman.

  7. I have been a Red Sox fan since I could walk. Back in the years of the curse, back when they would break your heart. Back when the only option was navy blue w/ a red B. Don’t get me wrong I have a few of those. I also have a white one w/ blue B. A white one with a green B (you know the who Boston Irish thing). A navy one with a pink B. And I wear each of them depending on the outfit I’m wearing. Oh and I have a pink one and a lavender one.

    Feel free to think whatever you would like of me. I still remember when Wade Boggs, Roger Clements and Johnny Damon were real baseball players. My children wear 34, 33 and 20 on their baseball uniforms and the numbers weren’t chosen at random.

    I am a Red Sox fan, no matter what color my hat is. And if you can’t find stuff in your teams colors that is made for women, perhaps you’re supporting the wrong team.

    • His name is Roger Clemens. Not Clements. But you seem like a real big fan so, I’m sure you knew that… you may have just lost your argument though.

  8. Okay…well, that last part of Karenkuties response illustrates the problem: marketing people only think women will be interested in places or with teams that are good. That’s pretty bandwagon right there.

    I support the right of every woman not be condescended to by marketing people (or Red Sox fans). You should be able to get attractive, non-Alyssa Milano gear no matter what team you root for.

    Exception: I guess pink is okay for little girls, mostly because they aren’t aware of all the implications.

  9. My friend made an excellent point about this just now: a girl wearing a pink hat is doing a favor to all of us girls! It’s an alert, of sorts: don’t double date with this girl, don’t tell this girl any secrets, don’t introduce her to your boyfriend, don’t gossip about your other friends with her. Would that all people would be so kind as to wear their twit status on their sleeves.

  10. My first piece of team gear was a lavendar Twins cap that I bought at the grocery store. I thought it was nice and I wanted some kind of Twins hat. I would have loved an official navy cap but as a poor college student, I couldn’t afford it ($30 for a cap? seriously?). I loved that purple cap and wore it all the time.

    However, I started to get a lot of sneers at games from people who assumed I was a baseball dilettante and just wanted to look cute. From both guys and other girls, mind you, even when I was clearly keeping score and cheering like I know what I’m cheering for! It just got uncomfortable. So finally when I could afford it I had to buy an officially colored hat, which I do love, but I still feel sort of bad for that purple hat. I wear it once in a while but would never dare wear it at a game. I wish it wasn’t like that, I wish people didn’t assume things based on your gear. Poor purple hat.

    Now, the girls who show up at a baseball game in 4-inch heels and full club makeup and a tube dress and a tiny purse are another story.

  11. When the pink stuff first came out I kind of liked it. But it has gotten completely out of control and the final straw for me was see Jessica Simpson in a pink Romo jersey at Texas Stadium. I will NEVER buy pink gear now. Also, if they’re going to make it, could they at least use the correct pastel equivalent of the team’s actual colors?

    And Pam, LOL on the Leafs comment! I have had a grudge against them ever since they screwed with my wedding. (Seriously, true story.)

  12. I own seven Saints jerseys and one of them is pink…there, I said it. I like some of the pink jerseys and honestly, I could care less about whether I’m taken seriously or not as a “true fan” because of the color of my jersey. I realize that there will be some who make certain assumptions about my knowledge of and passion for the game, but to paraphrase Samantha from SATC, “If I cared about what every bitch in New Orleans said about me, I’d never leave the house.”
    Besides, the way I act at games, I couldn’t imagine someone NOT knowing that I’m a true fan. (They’d also probably assume I’m a raging alcoholic, but that’s another story…)

    I’d say my biggest fan pet peeve has less to do with fashion choices and more to do with the groups of girls who show up at games just to ogle at the players and hopefully sneak their way to the lockers. They’re easy to spot…usually on their cell phones the whole time, usually spend more time walking around then actually watching what’s happening on the field, usually need the stadium to explode with excitement before realizing someone scored a touchdown. As Peter Griffin would say, “That really grinds my gears!”

  13. Minda, they make you wear a hot-pink tank top? What’s wrong with a baseball jersey? Weird.

    I refuse to wear pink unless it’s the team color. I got upset that the Royals’ Girls Night Out giveaway was a bedazzled pink hat – don’t want!

  14. Pink sports gear is fine if it also has a pink ribbon on it because then it is supporting a good cause. But if there is no pink ribbon, it leads me to think that the people who authorized the production of such sports-related clothing are unaware of the true colors of the team…or that they don’t care what the colors of the team are, which is no good because pretty soon we’ll be seeing Brewers merchandise in Cubs colors and purple and yellow Packer logos. That would be madness, so I say we put an end to the production and distribution of causeless pink sports apparel!!

    And yes, I do think that the wearer of the pink hat, jersey, etc. knows nothing about the team because she can’t even manage to buy clothing of the correct colors. I’m sure in some cases I’m wrong…but she brought this judgement upon herself.

  15. Pink sports apparel is one of my biggest unimportant soapbox issues – I absolutely hate, hate, hate it. I go to Carolina, and (as pointed out in one of the essays), it is one of the most beautiful colors a school can be graced with. I can understand (this is my most common scapegoat) if you go to Wake Forest, and have to wear shades of yellow and brown and decide to wear pink, but that’s only a little bit of leeway.

    And, yes, I don’t appreciate it when people try to sell me team gear that is pink – I searched the Web for a Brady jersey, and all of my “recommended choices” popped up nice pink and white jerseys. I finally settled for getting a Youth size one, that, I am proud to say, is navy, white, and red.

  16. I like the idea of all the fans matching the colors of the players on the field/court/ice, so until Wisconsin teams start flaunting the Heidi Montag look, I won’t be investing. That said, I’d rather see pink team gear in the stands than no gear at all. But the bigger problem for me are the “Mrs. Sizemore” and “JJ Hardy is my boyfriend” shirts. Not that those guys aren’t good looking, the shirts are just eye rollers.

    Shouldn’t there be a rule against “fans” wearing hats, pink or not, who don’t actually know their stuff?

  17. When I think Cardinals baseball, I think red, not pink. I don’t have a real problem with it, just not for me. I have a red corn huskers jersey and a white blues jersey. I’d just rather wear the ‘team colors’ is all.
    And yeah, Spencer and the ‘beard’ is creepy…

  18. Andrea – Yes, dear. :D

    Oh, and as a note to all of our lovely pink-be-hatted commentors – I think I speak for all of us when I say that, if you’re there for the game and have on pink gear, you’re not the ones that arouse our ire.* Stereotypes are fun, but honestly, what matters is how much a sport matters to a fan – not what that fan wears, no matter how irritating we may find it. We’re just talking likelihood of twittery as indicated by sartorial choices, here, not its instant presence.

    *I just wanted to say “arouse our ire”. Hee. “Ire”.

  19. I look lousy in light pink, so on a personal level, it annoys me that the already-limited numbers of items available in women’s sizes is reduced even more if I don’t want to end up looking icky and blotchy.

    That said, you just don’t see a lot of pink Mariners gear actually being worn, at least not that I’ve noticed. Maybe we just get lucky here? I’m a firm believer in support-the-team, wear-their-colors.

    As for that picture of Heidi Montag … whoever she is … I find it even creepier that her hat, shirt, miniature bat, and freaking foam finger are all the same color … even if it -were- Dodger blue I think it’d just look too matchy-matchy anyway.

  20. kcmichelle, yeah our shirts are pink. But they’re not Royals shirts, so it’s not technically in line with this post. BUT the shirt IS pink, people make the same assumptions. I sometimes play a game where I start spitting out stats like there’s no tomorrow, and watching jaws drop around me.

    thistlewarrior, you MUST tell us about the Leafs and your wedding!

    Someone mentioned that people shouldn’t wear hats of ANY color if they don’t know their shit. I kind of agree. I have a friend who likes to approach random people who are wearing MLB hats and ask simple questions about whatever team they appear to be supporting with their hat. Something really simple, like if he sees someone in a Pirates hat, he’ll just ask “Who is your favorite Pirate?” It is amazing how some people can’t even answer something like that. (And those people’s hats aren’t even pink!)

  21. See, but the thing that bothers me is the women who buy it BECAUSE it’s got the pink ribbon on it. Now they think they’ve done their good deed. If you care that much, send that $30 to Susan G. Koman. They 5% they get from the sale of your hate is pennies. If you seriously care about the cause, donate the money free and clear.

    It just bothers me that these people are all self-important, thinking they’ve done their good thing for the month because they bought a shirt with a ribbon on it. It drives me nuts. Pink hates, pink spatulas, pink silicone cooking mats – quit buying crap for yourself and just donate the money! Why do you have to get something in return?

  22. Thanks Kristin!

    karenkutie, my dad was at the very first Blue Jays game in ’77 (the snow game). My first game was a few weeks later. I went through the Rick Bosetti years. I lived and died with the great teams of the 80s. I was there when we clinched the division in ’92. I partied on the streets after we won the Series in ’93. Don’t you dare tell me what team to root for.

  23. Let me modify the last post a bit. Let’s just say that I don’t appreciate some Red Sox fan telling me that after rooting for a team for over 30 years that I’m rooting for the wrong team. I don’t recall us doing that kind of thing when we were winning championships. What has happened to the Red Sox fans?

  24. Minda, does your friend ask people questions with the intent to catch people who don’t know anything, or does he really just want to strike up conversations with strangers?

    It reminds me of the time I went to a Marilyn Manson concert and I could hear the reactions of some of the kids in all black. I pass them wearing blue jeans, yellow shirt and red hoodie and they think I’m not a real fan just because I don’t look like I’m dressed for Halloween.

  25. berah, it’s a little of both. He genuinely hopes the hat-wearer is a good fan, because he loves talking baseball with anyone (in fact, that’s how he and I met), and meeting a new baseball fan is something that can make his day (me too). But when he gets a humorous/clueless reaction, it’s a good story to tell me.

  26. MK – I see you are not from the Northeast and haven’t yet gotten the memo that Sox fans have well overshot any other fans in obnoxiousness. The thing is, they still like to think of themselves as scrappy underdogs. It boggles the mind.

    Anyway – I feel for you. At the very least there should be a flattering jersey with your ace’s name on it!

  27. Why I hate the Maple Leafs:

    One of my bridesmaids was to be my girlfriend who’d lived across the street from our whole lives. Anyway, she was dating a minor leaguer for a couple years and at this time he was in Toronto’s training camp awaiting news of whether or not he was going to end up in St. John’s or Toronto. Well the Leafs decided to take their sweet ass time deciding, meanwhile my bridesmaid had to wait to buy her plane ticket because she had no idea where she’d be flying from. When they finally sent him down to St. John’s, the plane ticket from Newfoundland was up around $1,200. Thus, I wound up having to find a replacement one week before my wedding. Thank God her mother still had her dress and my relief bridesmaid were the same size. Not a huge deal in and of itself except that this was proverbial straw after all the snafu’s that had already occurred in the past year (or the past week for that matter). I have not, nor will I ever forgive the Leafs for piling it on.

  28. Pingback: Friday night Blog Lines 8/1/08 « Gridiron Goddess

  29. I can deal with pink hats, probably because I have a winter cap with a pink and brown trim logo from last season.

    But pink t-shirts, pink sweats, PINK JERSEYS?!? Don’t get me wrong, I love pink and am actually wearing pink right now. But if you’re going to purchase team gear stick to the team’s official colors. Then again, I’m so happy to see anyone wearing Columbus Blue Jackets gear here in Ohio State country that I probably shouldn’t care what color it is!

  30. I’m really surprised at a lot of the responses here. I’m also wondering why no one has mentioned the other alternative hats and jerseys that men wear to the park every day.

    If a guy isn’t in the official team colors do you assume he doesn’t know anything about baseball? I’m guessing no.

    There are more alternative hats that AREN’T pink being seen at ballparks all across the country but you don’t ever read anyone complaining about that.

    I’ve been a baseball fan for better than 30 years and go to plenty of games. And I wear the stuff I like. I’m not a fan of pink on me, but I’ve worn other alternative hats and jerseys and fuck anyone who wants to judge my baseball knowledge because I can more than handle myself in that area.

    Picking on just the pink hats is ridiculous. They aren’t any more indicative of being a bandwagon fan (or of being uneducated in baseball) than wearing anything else.

  31. Actually Kristin, Sox fans usually invade the dome when they play here because they can’t get tickets at home. The scary thing is that the Rays fans are starting to overtake them.

    Cyn, for me the issue is that in fashion pink has become reserved exclusive for women and gay men. So unlike all the other alternative colours pink screams “female”, and girlish at that. So there’s all kind of societal issues tied up in that colour. That leads to ideas about women and sports in general, the assumption that if you’re a “girl”, you have no real knowledge or interest.

    This brings us back to the initial point, as far as I can see. Many of us deal with assumptions being made about us because we’re female and like sports. Team shirts used to be a way to mark yourself as a member of the tribe, before marketers realized they could sell way more of them as fashion statements. Wearing the team colours is a way for us to say we’re real fans and know what is going on.

    For me, it’s really about fighting stereotypes, something that doesn’t apply to men in this area. (I’ll except gay males here because that’s a whole other issue.)

  32. Oh, I was talking about attitudes of the Sox and Rays fans. That’s what I get for concentrating on the philosophical argument and not double-checking the throwaway. :)

  33. //Cyn, for me the issue is that in fashion pink has become reserved exclusive for women and gay men. So unlike all the other alternative colours pink screams “female”, and girlish at that. So there’s all kind of societal issues tied up in that colour. That leads to ideas about women and sports in general, the assumption that if you’re a “girl”, you have no real knowledge or interest.//

    I guess it’s two separate arguments. Because, as you know, in Boston “Pink Hat” is a term the mediots and others use to describe bandwagon fans. And, as you point out, if you’re talking about “pink” you’re talking about women (and, to a lesser degree for this argument, gay men).

    The assumption around these parts seems to be that if you’re a woman and you wear a pink hat to a game (or just around town), you must know nothing about baseball. But if you’re a man and you wear a camo Red Sox hat to a game or around town, you don’t automatically get the ‘bandwagoner’ or ‘know nothing about baseball’ label.

    Which is why the whole pink hat ‘issue’ pisses me off. I don’t care what folks are wearing. I care that the idiot behind me, who spoke to his girlfriend like she was 11, didn’t know what a balk was or whose numbers have been retired by the Red Sox, but had his woman convinced that he was a baseball “expert”.

  34. Wow, I’ve learned something today. I had no idea bandwagoners in Boston were called Pink Hats. That’s some seriously messed up stuff. Red Sox Nation is even more whacked than I thought. Sympathies to all you long-time Sox fans for having to deal with this stuff. And totally explains why we have completely different perspectives on the issue.

  35. I have disliked pink sports apparel and have held all of the above stereotypes inside for ages, so this blog entry was a godsend…

    But, I have a boyfriend who bought me the pink Saints tee-shirt…so I compromise–it’s a hanging around the house, wear it to sleep at other people’s houses shirt. I wore it out in public once (during Mardi Gras–what was I thinking?) and got the “she’s a frontrunner” looks–but I wore it because I’d like to encourage him to support the American economy (aka buy me stuff). If I seem ungrateful, that won’t happen.

    And no, I’m not materialistic–I’m gunning for THE ring (luckily I grew up a Rangers/Mets fan during the Islanders and Yankees dynasties of the 80s–I know patience!). Not wearing or using the little stuff is just evidence I wouldn’t appreciate the more expensive/permanent things in life.

    Ironically, he’s a C-SPAN/obsessed with politics guy while I’m soaking in every second I can of the Olympics (Summer is better than Winter–more shirtless guys) and root for my Carolina. I also root for his Bama football harder than he does (I watch more games every season than he does) (I love my Heels, but the SEC does know how to play a football game).

  36. Pingback: Pink vs Pink « Thoughts from the Archangel

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