By Joel MacKenzie, Staff Writer
The CFL’s campaign to raise money and awareness for women’s cancers this October is both generous, and a clear sign of the breakdown of the strict divides between gender roles in our culture.
Members of all of the CFL’s eight teams are dressed in partially pink attire this October as part of this campaign, called CFL PINK, created to raise awareness of cancers typically affecting women. The league is also hosting events and raising money for the cause, and encouraging their fans to do the same.
The players’ clothing includes pink gloves, wrist bands, helmet decals, and other items, while the sideline team personnel have pink whistles and other apparel.
Each team is raising money for different charities through the cause. The BC Lions are raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society, and are currently selling pink merchandise by donation. On their website, pink hoodies and hats are available for purchase, with $10 from each hoodie and five from each hat being donated to the society.
The Calgary Stampeders are also raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society, with two players taking it a step further with a more personal contribution. On Saturday, October 20, during their game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, players Jon Gott and Obby Khan donned pink beards, after reaching goals of (respectively) $5,000 and $7,000 donated by fans towards the Pink Power Campaign, a cancer-awareness movement led by Calgary veteran Randy Chevrier. Chevrier’s mother is a breast cancer survivor.
It’s not a stretch to say that countless other players and their family members have been affected by cancer. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that virtually everyone in North America has been affected by cancer, whether directly or indirectly.
This movement is impressive, in that it very explicitly draws attention away from the game to put it on something much more important. But, more than that, it draws attention to the fact that the cancer that primarily affects women affects everyone. Doing this in football, obviously often seen as one of the “manlier” sports, marks the clear sign of the progression that our society is taking. By this campaign and countless other similar ones lightheartedly blurring the line between gender specific clothing, they simultaneously blur the lines that separate people in general, specifically for something as petty as strictly enforcing gender-specific actions.