Merwin: Study Says Most Women Don't Like Pink Fishing Gear

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Last fall, I wrote about all the pink fishing gear and clothing being marketed to female anglers. I said I thought pink gear was tasteless and idiotic, insulting to female outdoor types who might want to be taken seriously as hunters or anglers. The only exception would be the use of pink to enhance breast-cancer awareness--certainly a worthy cause--but even at that I wish a different color had been chosen.

As usual, some agreed with me and some didn't. Then last week I was talking with Rob Southwick, a resource economist and statistician who runs both Angler Survey and Hunter Survey to collect information on the preferences and attitudes of sportsmen and women. It turns out he had surveyed color preferences--including pink--among hunters and fishermen.

Among hunters and target shooters, 62% of males and 60% of females preferred camo patterns over any other color. Black, green, and brown were also popular. Only 15% of women would choose pink (if unrelated to breast-cancer programs).

For fishermen, the most popular color was black (52% of males; 38% of females), with only 16% of women preferring pink.

Some makers of outdoor gear (fishing and hunting both) promote pink in hopes of capturing more female customers. Is this marketing condescending--insulting potential customers instead of capturing them? Some 46% of males and 50% of female anglers said yes, it was insulting.

So I'm not the only one who thinks pink fishing rods or pink boat boots are just horrible-looking things. While a pink Barbie rod might entice little girls or fishing columnists (since I own a couple of Barbie outfits), the color pink for adult female hunters and anglers turns a lot of people off. Again, with the exception of breast-cancer awareness programs.

I really wish major makers of outdoor products would concentrate on making functional gear for women and well-tailored garments in sensible colors that fit well. This would make my wife very happy. She hates pink, too.