WPS and PUMA Uniform Unveiling
Let me start with the bit not related to sexism: With one brand styling all of the WPS teams, we have little as fans to grab onto. We have nothing like the particularity of Newcastle or Milan's stripes. Not the bold red of Man U, or the weird electric blue-green of Barça. The uniforms are bland. They are all cut from the same cloth. The same pattern. The colors even have the same tone - as if opposing teams are supposed to match. They are totally generic and uninspired.
And why ask Christian Siriano to design these? [note: they didn't - see comments 8 & 9] Did he create a single outfit on Project Runway that made you think he'd know exactly how to design clothes for an athlete? As fierce as he is, he was uninterested and downright bitchy about being asked to think about bodies larger than size 2. I love his clothes - don't get me wrong. But these uniforms do not look like the product of a mind inspired by the challenge of designing a kit.
Maybe this is why when Marta showed up for a teeny second at the end of today's Ellen episode she wasn't wearing her kit. She was wearing a team training jacket and jeans. And she looked fierce.
If I had to pick a Project Runway alum to design my kit, it'd definitely be a woman - and one whose designs showed an interest in the non-model body. How about Kara Saun, who managed to make a postal service uniform (pictured right) look both hot and functional.
Now - on to the sexism:
What is the redhead in the boring orange cocktail dress on the left doing here? WTF.
Why does the above video open with the players getting their hair done? Again: WTF.
I cringe at the fact that Puma treated the premier of a kit like a fashion show - making the athletes parade down a turf-lined runway. (Check out Greg Lalas's eye-witness report on the event.) As I've pointed out on this blog (Back Talk: Does Sex Really Sell Women's Sports), the (homophobic) "girling" up of women's sports has been proven by marketing studies to drive fans away - people find it condescending if not plain offensive and profoundly alienating.
Nearly every aspect of this unveiling is atrocious - right down to the press release with its "let's find as many ways that we can to remind ourselves that these are women" vocabulary - like using the word "feminine" twice in the same paragraph. (Ever seen the words "manly" or "masculine" used to promote uniforms for a men's team? Of course not.) Why not just write: "We promise: these uniforms won't make you look gay." Because that is clearly what PUMA, and the WPS means.
I can't believe I need to say this, but: I do not want to wear a Marta jersey because I think it is going to make me attractive to men. (Do guys wear Messi or Kaka on their back because they think it's going to appeal to women?) And, guess what else - I like the fact that maybe I look boyish when I'm in my gear. And I'm only interested in other people who think that's hot.
This brings us to the controversial skort, pictured right. Don't Leslie Osborne and Christina DiMartino look thrilled to be photographed in their skorts? (We've been reassured that no one will actually have to play soccer in them.) At first look, the skort (noticeably shorter than the shorts) seems to be part of Puma's attempt to girl up/straighten up the look of the WPS.
Apparently the folks behind this bit of marketing genius didn't get the following memo: Skorts are totally, hopelessly, Navradeliciously LPGAishly gay!
And Christian knows it! Siriano scores one for the team!