German sportswear manufacturer Adidas recently signed a 10-year deal, worth £750 million, to take over from Nike as United’s kit supplier and they've got off to a bit of a shaky start after unveiling the club's 2015-16 designs on Saturday.
The response to the men's strip was overwhelmingly positive but the female version was slammed by many on social media for having a much lower v-neck.
It was pointed out that the previous ladies' top, designed by Nike, had a high neck but was still a good fit for the female body.
UPDATE: the V is as low as expected but that doesn't irritate me as much as the lack of black & red strips on the V. pic.twitter.com/uqrtY11qKF— Helin (@MUnitedGirl) August 1, 2015
It wasn't only female fans protesting about the new design of the ladies' top, with some men implying that the purpose of the plunging neckline was to give male fans something to look at (beyond what was happening on the pitch).
@GoalUK I'm willing to bet this was designed by a dude. With only one thing in mind.— Brad Keller (@Bradkilla1989) August 3, 2015
However, after the national press added fuel to the fire by reporting the complaints, plenty of supporters of the club spoke up in support of the new design. "It'd be more flattering!" posted one woman on the Manchester Evening News Facebook page. "High necked shirts are the worst for large chested ladies makes you look broad and top heavy." (sic)
"As a woman with a well proportioned chest, it is far more comfortable & fitting to wear a v neck!" agreed another.
One commenter argued that designing an item of clothing specifically for a woman couldn't be sexist: "It's actually the other way round. By NOT having a female version of a football shirt, the implication is that football is only for men surely?"
However it seems that this is one argument that will never be resolved. One male Manchester United supporter wrote: "They usually have a ladies version and it's identical in design as the men's except for alterations around the chest and waist so it fits a female physique better. This women's shirt is a joke. As a united fan I am ashamed by this obvious lack of respect to the female fans. A replica shirt should be a replica regardless of the sex of the person wearing it. If United had a women's team do you think they'd wear that shirt?" (sic)
Adidas has defended the women's version of the new home shirt, reported Goal.com. A statement received from the sports giant said: "Adidas provides an adult shirt which is a replica of what the players wear. Based on research from fans, we also offer a women's shirt as part of our lifestyle range of products. This range has a slightly different design and fit to give fans a choice.”
The Adidas spokesperson also cited a local newspaper poll which saw 75 percent of readers back the design.
The way I see it is that female Man Utd fans have a choice: buy the new ladies' design if that's the look they're after or buy the men's top for a less revealing, figure-hugging fit. We all have different tastes and that goes for all types of clothing. The female body is a beautiful thing and if women want to show a bit of cleavage on the football terraces they should be able to go for it and not feel as if they're doing it to please anyone but themselves.
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