Pink for Women

Glove-style boxing hand wraps. January 2013.

Glove-style boxing hand wraps. January 2013.

After a many-years hiatus, I got back into boxing.

Boxers wear what look like bandages under their gloves to protect hand bones and tendons and support the wrist and thumb. Classic hand wraps are long strips of nylon that look like a karate belt. You wrap the strips around your hands in one of a variety of combinations.

To illustrate, I've linked a montage of the character Rocky Balboa training in "Rocky." Throughout the montage, he's wearing hand wraps. You can see them best, I think, starting at the 00:52 mark, when he’s doing pushups. (In this montage, he does a lot of pushups.)

After a few weeks, during which I trained without hand wraps, my coach recommended I buy the glove-style version—a nifty shortcut that didn’t exist when I boxed in the past. (Or, if it did, I didn't know about it.) Rather than taking the time to wrap the hands, you can slide on tight undergloves that serve the same purpose.

He said I could get them at any sporting goods store, so I went to the closest one. The section for boxing wasn't large, but there was a decent selection of hand wraps, including the glove kind. The vast majority of the hand wraps were black with grey accents. And they were all sized medium and large.

The small hand wraps—glove- and ribbon-style—were Pepto-Bismol pink. And labeled "For Women."


Is this the default? If it's for females, it must be pink?

Pink, in and of itself, is not a problem. I'm not a huge fan of the color, yet I can stomach it in moderation and I even own a pink item or two. (I think. Somewhere.)

But why separate women from men by color? Why can't I buy black hand wraps? (Heck, black hand wraps would coordinate with more athletic wear, anyway, if you want to go girly about it.) Do manufacturers suspect that colored items attract women? If so, why give us only one color choice and why make that color pink, the stereotype of color stereotypes?

In a way, defaulting to pink for products marketed to women is demeaning. "If it's a woman, she's going to love pink. Pink is for women, right?" Or "Here you go, you cutesy wootsey widdle thing."

Am I being too harsh? What do you think?