Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The pink wave

© By Othmar Vohringer

Have you noticed the pink wave in the outdoor stores? I am sure you have. It seems as time goes on pink hunting and fishing gear proliferates at rapid speeds. I’ve seen pink rifles, bows, arrows, camouflage, gun cases and game calls. It's no different on the fishing side, pink rods, reels, fishing line, tackle boxes and fishing tools. I've even seen deer lure bottle labels, flashlights and get this; pink flashlight batteries, hunting knives and more.

What’s up with that pink wave on the hunting store shelves? It all started as a ploy to get more women interested in the outdoors and it worked to a degree. But has it now gone to far? Over the years I have talked to many women hunters and the opinions on pink differ vastly. Some women scoffed at the industry’s pink marketing mentality and think the industry would serve female hunters better by designing special equipment to accommodate women better then just painting everything pink. As one huntress put it. “What good is a pair of pink hunting boots to me if I can’t find them in my size.”

Other women find the pink wave downright sexist. They argue that in an age where we try to foster equality pink will achieve the opposite. “Hey look here I am a female hunter. I am different.” A new huntress on our hunter education course said. “I don’t want to be a female hunter, I want to be a hunter, period.” Another huntress said, “Bringing gender into it comes off as pandering and we do not need that in the hunting community. Women fought hard to be accepted as equals in the hunting community and now some of us want to make a visible statement that they are different. I don’t get it.”

The majority of the women I talked to fall somewhere in between. Like my wife who owns a pink fishing rod, they simply like the color while others say that pink isn’t for them but if it helps to bring more women into the hunting and fishing community, that’s great.

Not every pink colored item on the hunting store shelf is created to lure women. Some of the products are pink to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation, like the pink binoculars introduced by Alpen Optics. Some of the proceeds generated through the sale of the pink Innerloc broadheads are also donated to the breast cancer foundation and so does Victory Archery with the sale of pink carbon arrows.

Next time you head to an outdoor store and see a large variety of equipment and gadgets available in pink remember that not all of them are a ploy by the industry to get more women into hunting. Some companies go a step further and combine the “catch” with something more useful by supporting breast cancer research. That is a good thing and we should support it. A pair of pink binoculars or a pink broadhead might not be out of place after all.

Othmar Vohringer Outdoors
Founding Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit

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Artemis - 12monthsOFwinter said...

Something else convenient about pink hunting/fishing gear: it suits the 'his and hers' mentality.
I don't mind saying I like knowing what's my stuff out of all that jumble of gear my husband has for fishing and hunting since we keep it together.
Give it time and pink won't be an issue anymore- we went fishing last week and since I wasn't catching anything I stopped and offered my PINK rod to one of two brothers who were sharing one rod between them. He didn't care at all about the colour!
Pink will one day be the new (hunter) orange in my opinion. :)

Othmar Vohringer said...

That boy was just glad he was able to fish no matter what color the rod was and it was mighty generous to offer him your rod so he did not have to share one with his brother.

You might be on to something with pink becoming the new hunter orange. Studies have actually shown that deer see pink less good then they do hunter orange.


Matt said...

Very interesting post; way to show both sides. You've done suce a good job, I'm not yet able to form an opinion. I will say that when my sons were catching 2'-3' long gar a few weeks ago, it was on a pink fishing rod that belongs to their cousin.

I myself have caught fish on a custom-made purple rod with an image of the Little Mermaid on it!

SimplyOutdoors said...

I don't have a problem with the pink wave at all, and although my wife isn't a pink gadget fan, she doesn't have anything against women who do use them. I honestly think some of the women are being a little too touchy on the subject.

And I'm here to tell you, guy or no guy, I'm not against shooting pink arrows if they help to promote breast cancer research.

Deer Passion said...

Personally, I love the pink movement. I relish the fact that it adds a little more joy to some outdoor activities. Like having a pink fishing pole, pink broadheads or a pink gun.. no one will ever mistake them for my husbands. And, the fact that many companies do give a percentage of the profit to cancer research is a wonderful bonus!

Othmar Vohringer said...

Like all of you I have no problem with pink hunting and fishing gear and if it helps to raise awareness of breast cancer and provides funding then more power to it.

As we all know it is not the color of the gear that makes a difference in our success, it's how we use the gear that makes the difference.


Sherri Canjar said...

Color isn't important in things like fishing, but hunting is a different matter. It makes a huge difference in our success. There is a reason why hunters wear camo in the bush..because it is going to get more deer.
This isn't a gender thing, it is a deer thing.
There are other ways for the manufacturers to get the ladies attentions. How about clothing and footwear that is properly fitted for women? Nice detailing in the clothing that a woman would enjoy would be great too! Kids toys and books that have girls equally represented. I also have no urge to be macho, so decals for my truck or t-shirts that don't refer to the size of my rack would be nice.
My feminine flair was expressed by falling for one particular camo pattern and buying everything in that pattern. I don't need to wear pink to know I am a woman and a good hunter.
Guys, if you want this sport to remain viable, get your daughters, wives and female friends out hunting.
Ladies, get serious and leave the pink at home. This isn't a fashion show, it is about getting game.
Geez, I hope I don't start seeing brass in pink......

Othmar Vohringer said...

very valued points Cherri. I feel the same way about certain points like you. It is more important to take women out hunting and integrate them into our community then the color they wear.

I also agree with you about women specific hunting clothing. Although the industry has come a long way in this regard it is still to little.

The one refreshing difference, in my opinion,is "She Safari" ( http://www.shesafari.com/ , a company that specializes in women hunter clothing that is both functional and stylish.


HuntsLikeAGirl said...

Great thoughts here. Personally, I'm not a huge pink fan and recently wrote a post on this. Honestly, just by making something pink doesn't make me as a girl want to buy the merchandise. I do appreciate the fact that there are starting to be a few more options for women in hunting clothing as far as sizing. I'm tired of buying kids sizes, b/c goodness - have you ever tried to find a size small in men's hunting clothes. They don't exist! However, when it comes to other hunting equipment, I want the product that works the best in the field. I'm not just going to buy it b/c it is pink.

Anonymous said...

I never really thought of it that way.
Cancer research is very much a part of todays news and you really don't put it together with the color pink as quick.

Good point.

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