Most notably in the NFL, we have started seeing professional athletes wear pink, as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a constant reminder to support the women that have or are currently fighting breast cancer, and to also donate money to help fight for a cure.
Despite the good intentions, I don’t like it.
Let me explain before you start accusing me of opposing the fight against breast cancer. Last winter, Facebook started holding a “Child Abuse Awareness Month” where Facebook users would change their profile picture to a cartoon character. Pretty soon, my news feed was full of Powerpuff Girls, Bugs Bunny, whatever. The goal was to get people to become more aware of child abuse.
I didn’t participate, however. I even openly admitted that if I was going to participate, I would have used this picture.
Again, this was not because I didn’t support the fight against child abuse. Rather, I didn’t support how people were supposedly fighting against child abuse. That article I linked above stated that changing profile pictures to cartoon characters was supposed to get people to talk more about child abuse. Well that’s great. But what happens after that? Everyone goes back to their regularly scheduled lives.
It’s called slacktivism, a combination of the words slacker and activism. The word represents the act of doing something to support a cause, even though your actions may not actually help at all. It’s like doing the bare minimum for a cause you’re not even entirely devoted to helping. This was what I saw when Facebook pictures were being changed to cartoon characters. It actually enraged me so much that I went online to find an actually child abuse charity, and I donated $20.
Did I donate the smallest monetary amount the charity would allow? Of course I did, but I also did more to fight child abuse than any person did on Facebook that had plastered Fry from Futurama on their profile.
Oh, and the kicker was that Child Abuse Awareness Month was in April, not in the winter when this Facebook campaign started. It’s very possible the entire thing was orchestrated by pedophiles. Go us.
Back to sports. (“Finally!” you might say.) I see the exact same thing happening when I see a wide receiver decked out in pink wristbands and shoes. No, not that pedophiles encouraged him to do it, but that it’s doing the bare minimum. Football players and the NFL probably feel like they’re helping, but what is it really doing? Is it giving money to charities? Maybe, maybe not. Is it convincing the viewers in the stadiums and at home and in the bars to donate money? For some, it might. But I bet that the majority of people would not suddenly become motivated to actually do something to help fight breast cancer.
It makes me think of the joke about alcohol awareness, where the person reads a poster and then says “I am aware of the benefits of alcohol” (or something to that extent). Maybe it’s our own faults to begin with, as perhaps we shouldn’t be saying that we’re raising awareness. That seems to give the idea that we just need to think about it, and then leave it at that. How about we focus instead on motivating others to actually do something about these injustices and diseases in our world?
I understand that for some, money is tight right now and even donating $20 like I did might be a struggle. Well, there are still wristbands and other small trinkets that can be purchased that support charities. Granted, I’m not a fan of the wristbands (seeing middle schoolers wearing “I ♥ Boobies!” wristbands doesn’t seem right) but if the money is going to help the fight, then it’s worth it.
Now that I’m finished with that bird walk, back to sports. If any of you can find proof that the NFL is actually donating money to charities during the month of October, I’d greatly appreciate hearing about it. But my perception tells me that they are engaging in slacktivism as much as we did on Facebook with the child abuse awareness. We should actually do something to fix the problem – not become aware that there is a problem.
This is not my only rant I’m going to have in this post today about the color pink. The second comes from a sentiment that I’ve actually seen many times before, and yet the collective big four sports usually fail to do anything about it.
Not all women like pink.
I can’t count how many times I’ve seen my female friends complain about shopping for a jersey or hat and they’re only able to find these in the color pink. To put it in perspective, guys, imagine if every piece of sports memorabilia you bought was blue. That’s right, the Oakland Raiders now sell a blue jersey! Al Davis would come back from the dead to burn that monstrosity (on a related note, are there pink Raiders jerseys? That can’t look good either).
It shouldn’t be too much to ask to get a replica Twins home jersey in a women’s size. Instead, they’re often stuck wearing the men’s sizes, which end up looking like night shirts for them more than a jersey. Even though the pink apparel doesn’t affect me directly (I am thankfully blessed with a girlfriend that doesn’t like pink), even I can’t stand it. I feel that if you want to be a fan of a team, you should be wearing their actual colors. This doesn’t just apply to the pink apparel, I feel the same way about that special Kevin Slowey jersey that looks more like a Pirates jersey than anything else.
Going back to the hypothetical example from before, could you really take one of your buddies seriously if he showed up in a blue Red Sox jersey? Blue. Red Sox. Just including those three in succession in a sentence looks wrong. If I saw someone with a blue Vikings jersey on, I’d laugh at him and then tell him to buy a real jersey. I apologize for this, but I can’t really take a woman seriously as a sports fan if she’s even wearing even just a pink hat.
Not all women like pink. I’m sure a fairly good-sized market could be tapped just by acknowledging this fact.