Let’s Talk About Cam Newton’s Pants…
Cam Newton, what the heck are you wearing?
….Is what we would ask if Newton was a celebrated woman – and happened to be wearing those Versace Barocco pants.
In fact, if Newton were a celebrated woman, she would be forced to strut down a carpet full of red in those pants while hordes of reporters ask her the same tired question:“What are you wearing?”
And if Newton were a celebrated woman, she would likely have to grit teeth and fake a smile while she monotonously explains all of the particulars of her ensemble.
And after giving a few twirls to the at-home studio audience, the lady version of Newton would have to stand quietly by as those same reporters toss it back to the in- studio anchors who waste no time in dissecting every fiber of her pants for flaws, inconsistencies and straight-up “no-nos.”
And after being scrutinized by the television critics, the starlet and her outfit will have to go through another round of critiques. In particular, the “hot or not” section of lifestyle magazines, gossip sites, fashion blogs and even “legitimate” media outlets. And also on social media, where incognito faced avatars will spare no feelings as they tell the world that, “her pants look like a zebra got its head stuck in the gates of Versailles…”
All of this would happen if Newton were a celebrated woman.
But there are no red carpets in football. And as such, the real Newton will likely be spared the brunt of criticism and scrutiny that normally come along with rocking ugly pants.
Sure many will laugh, including sport writers and fans alike who are not used to seeing their favorite football player that way. But there is no structure in place to give his pants the proper once over that they deserve.
Likewise, there are no fashion police to give him a violation for wearing summer pants and slippers (with no socks) with a winter bomber and sweater. No one will point out that the pants in question are supposed to be ankle length – at least that’s how the pants fit on the original model – and only go up to a size 34 (medium). And no one will ask if Newton who is a muscular 6’5 and 245 is showing too much or not leaving enough to the imagination in those pants.
And in some ways it makes sense: all men, but particularly Black men, can easily get their manhood checked just for wearing a piece of apparel, and other body adornments, that do not align with the current trend of hyper-masculinity. Just look at the reaction to Young Thug wearing women’s clothing or better yet Jaden Smith in …well, more women’s clothing.
But while masculinity has no shortage of policemen, we can’t act like men and their personal expressions are not also pretty well guarded too.
Men’s lifestyle and fashion magazines will not feature polls, which ask us our opinions on his pants. When reporters interview Newton after the game, they are not going to make what he’s wearing central to their conversation. Instead, they will ask him about the game. And while his pants might be on the receiving end of some hilarious twitter punchlines, none of it will hurt his career – just like it hasn’t hurt the careers of both Smith or Young Thug.
Whereas women in bad dresses have their characters – and sexual choices – checked all the time. And while very few will draw correlations between what a man is wearing and his overall ability to be sincere, we will certainly demand to know what a woman had on before we take anything she says or does seriously.
Some would say it is best that we don’t criticize anyone – regardless of gender – for their outfits of choice. After all, clothing is all about free expression.
And I agree with that.
But I am also of the mindset that this free and open utopia is nowhere close to being a reality. The day that happens is the day that most fashion, gossip and lifestyle magazines, particularly the ones directed at making women feel insecure, will cease to exist. And we know that is not going to happen. Not only is there too much money in the game, but the folks love their gossip…
Therefore if this is the standard we have chosen, it should be the standard for everyone.
And if we can call out the average starlet for wearing an ugly dress, we too should be able to talk about how Newton’s pants are flat-out ridiculous.