In more positive fashion news this week, the New York Times On the Runway blog featured the new National Football League (NFL) women’s line of apparel. We’ve written a lot about women’s sporting apparel, especially regarding apparel supporting specific teams. Men’s apparel fits funny, the women’s apparel usually is pink or has stupid hearts all over it, and all we’ve wanted is a freaking jersey that fits.
The NFL’s new line, I must say, looks pretty darn good, and it’s a smart move to go after a part of their fan base that can feel ignored with the usual burly-bearded-manly-man-focused advertising. “Though women account for 45 percent of the league’s overall fan base, according to the league, this new campaign is the first of its stature to focus on the female consumer. D.J. Kiss . . . believes it’s a sound marketing strategy. ‘It’s smart that the N.F.L. is starting to cater to the many women out there who want to show their team spirit. My girlfriends are bigger football fans than most guys I know.’”
You know what else looks good? The advertising. Yes, there are some traditionally “posed” women in this ad. It’s not perfect. But the slogan they are using on a lot of the advertising (“It’s My Team,”) promotes a sense of ownership for women (as in “this isn’t my boyfriend/father/son’s team, but MY team, damnit!) If you scan the ad below from left to right, you see Serena Williams, and ignoring whoever-that-is doing the splits at the bottom, you get right to my favorite part: BAM! It’s Condoleezza Rice in a Browns jersey!
I have a hard time admitting how much I want to like Condoleezza Rice. Even if she does teach at Stanford (ew) and has views with which I almost entirely disagree (but at least she’s pro-choice), she is incredibly accomplished and also loves sports. I appreciate that she provides a role model as a highly-educated, successful woman who is also… well, a jock. Her participation in this campaign adds legitimacy and makes me like it even more.
Plus, I searched all of the NFL Patriots apparel for women and found only two pink shirts out of 112 items. Yes, I said 112 items specifically for female Pats fans on the NFL store website. Female football fans…I think our fandom has finally registered with someone important.