The Wisconsin State Senate recently approved a bill that would let hunters wear pink camouflage in place of traditional orange, but one group is opposing it on the grounds that it’s sexist.
The Wisconsin Women’s Hunting and Sporting Association (WHSA) decried the bill—and the proposed pink camo—as demeaning to women. According to WHSA president Sarah Ingle, women hunters in Wisconsin had worked hard to achieve equality in what is traditionally seen as a male-dominated sport, and the pink camo would only serve to diminish that achievement.
“As an individual or as group, it’s good to stand up for your beliefs, and one of ours is NO HUNT PINK,” wrote the group on its website.
Supporters of the bill were taken aback by the fierce opposition, and say that the proposal to allow fluorescent pink was meant to encourage more women to hunt, not to demean them. Pink hunting clothing, gear, and guns have been very popular with women hunters in recent years and lawmakers were hoping to bring that trend to Wisconsin. The state currently requires hunters to have half of all clothing above the waist in blaze orange.
“New female hunters outnumber new male hunters three to one. With this in mind, the Sportsman’s Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators dedicated to Wisconsin’s outdoor heritage, has been interested in legalizing blaze pink hunting clothing along with blaze orange,” wrote Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls), one of the supporters of the bill, in a column for the Dunn County News last year.
WHSA members say they doubt the bill will encourage more women to hunt.
“Saying a woman would choose a lifestyle of hunting, fishing, gathering her game, just because she can wear a color is sexist,” Ingle told WTMJ-TV.
“(This bill) is a half-hearted attempt to go to women and say, `Hey, I can wear pink and go out and hunt,”‘ Ingle added while speaking to the Associated Press. “That’s not what women want and not what they need.”
Supporters of the bill countered by pointing out that there is no provision requiring women hunters to wear pink, it simply adds the color as an option. Lawmakers also say that fluorescent pink is considered by experts to be just as safe and visible as blaze orange. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference.
The State Assembly passed the bill in November and it now heads to Governor Scott Walker for approval.