It’s no secret that members of the sports community are held to two standards. One is bearing a hockey dictionary within the confines of your brain, with a requirement to retrieve any nugget of information at a moment’s notice. The other feels it holds the authority to categorize you as a bandwagon fan if you don’t. One must know every roster from the past decade in order to wear a jersey out to the bars. The other is rarely subjected to such an interrogation and can wear the jersey as a casual fan, or just for thinking “the logo looks cool”. One is not taken seriously as a lover of the sport if they find a good-looking athlete attractive, whether or not they even acknowledge said attractions. The other is a man.
It would take all day to name every hypocrisy present in sports across genders, but the following instance says more than enough. A recent post by Barstool Sports quoted the contents of an article they wrote about a collegiate women’s goalie, Maggie Cory, with a tweet stating, “is the Ohio State women’s hockey goalie the hottest college athlete in America?” If that were not outlandish enough, the replies to the tweet were filled with sexual innuendos, such as “I’d slap one into her crease” and “I’d put it in her 5 hole”.
As a female lover of the sport, my reactions to the post and its replies were the far too familiar feelings of belittlement as a woman in the hockey community. In that short snippet of exposure, Cory was reduced to her looks, making the fact that she can play sports a mere detail to the story. I couldn’t help but wonder: how come when my fellow women and I express a genuine interest in a sport, we’re perceived as only in it for the “hot guys”, but when the tables are turned, it’s completely accepted?
It’s not a hard question, but as a female hockey fan, it’s something you face every day.
The pressing issue with this social climate is that those who perpetuate sexism’s presence in the sports community show no desire to change nor acknowledge the need for a change. If you try to find the Barstool tweet or article, you will come up empty. Clearly they recognized that their article was rather out-of-line, enough so that they felt the need to delete it. In which case, why not own up to it?
The fact of the matter is, sexism in sports is implicit and there’s no telling if it will ever fade. As long as those who recognize its offenses stay silent, the inequalities will persist. As long as feminist-shaming rhetoric is used to shame those who speak out against it, the inequalities will persist. So, guys, we’re not here to beg and plead for recognition within the community, or put another lecture about feminism on the internet. It would be counterproductive and a waste of breath, which we need to shout profanities at our rivalry team. All we can ask is that you simply spend less time jumping to conclusions.
And as for the ladies… Wear that lipstick that matches the color of the logo on your jerseys. Know that it’s okay to swoon over that second-pairing defenseman while you critique the power play. Don’t get discouraged or feel the need to prove yourself to anybody. Because in the end, nobody can discredit your love for the game (especially once they realize you’re absolutely dominating them in fantasy league).