A memo submitted to the Michigan House Natural Resources Committee in support of pink clothing for female hunters has some lawmakers outraged.
A memo suggesting that female hunters might like to wear blaze pink in addition to blaze orange has been called "offensive" by some Michigan legislators.
Drew Born, a hunter who testified on behalf of the bill before the House, submitted the memo during a Natural Resources Committee meeting in Lansing last month.
Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Wayland, invited Born to testify, although Johnson said he was unaware the memo was dispersed before Born's testimony. Johnson, who sponsored the bill, said it simply gives hunters more options.
The memo said, in part:
"Using pink makes women feel more welcome and included in a sport that's always been male-dominated.
Women prefer to always look and feel attractive (even while hunting), having pink as an option can help with any insecurities over what they're wearing.
When a woman walks into a hunting apparel retailer and can see a section of pink, she can immediately identify that that section of the store is specifically for her.
Pink is color that can immediately identify a female, women don't want to be mistaken as a man, even from a distance in the woods."
Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, received the memo from a colleague and released it to the media. Moss was not in attendance at the Natural Resources Committee meeting.
"Last year it was silly. Now it's gone from silly to offensive." Moss said. "I don't think a bunch of men need to tell women what they should wear to make themselves feel attractive while out in the woods hunting."
Then-Rep. Lisa Lyons introduced a similar bill last year, but the committee voted it down until studies supported the efficacy of blaze pink hunting attire as another official safety option for hunters.
"I wish I would have taken a picture of my face to record the expression I had when I read it," said Rep. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, who sits on the House Natural Resources Committee. "Honestly, I thought it was a little bit insulting. I don't think women need to be told how we're supposed to feel when we walk into a hunting apparel store, or to be told about our insecurities."
Born said the criticism of his memo is being overblown.
"The funny thing is, I wrote that with a woman friend of mine and it was more of just my talking points I was going to discuss," he said.
"This doesn't have anything to do with whether this is a politically correct statement," Born continued. "The whole reason to choose pink is for people to have a choice. I knew the moment that I phrased it as a women's recruitment tool, it would be taken wrong."
"Anything we can do to get women involved in hunting is worth it," he added.
State Rep. Gary Howell, R-North Branch and the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee considered the memo immaterial: "I think it's remarkably irrelevant to what we're talking about. The only reason we've got this bill is for safety."
"There is a lot of red, orange and yellow leaves that could blend into orange and that's the most persuasive thing I heard," Howell said. "I could care less who looks attractive or unattractive in whatever color they're wearing."
UPDATE: In a second committee meeting, the bill didn't garner enough support to adopt the addition of pink as a legal hunting color.
"We're going to defer action, unless or until there develops support on the committee to pass it," said Howell.
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