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2012 Playoffs, Commentary

SOAPBOX MOMENT – in which I talk about girl parts

To start of this post, I want to talk a little bit about myself, as I haven’t been around these parts too long. And I feel like ‘soapboxing’ needs a bit of background information.

I am a woman. I am a little bit gay, a little bit straight and very much human. I like hockey. I also like puppies. As it is the case with most people, there is more to me than you’d know at first glance.

While aimlessly wandering through the vastness of the interwebs the other day, I came across a post about the YouCanPlay Project.

I don’t think the specifics are important for what I’m trying to say, but somewhere in the comments someone had written something along the lines of:

“And the pussification of hockey continues.”

Add to that tweets about how female hockey fans suck and various comments by men and women alike on ‘puckbunnies,’ and my mind was reeling. I don’t want to discuss all of this, don’t want to get into the details of gender relations and sports, because that would be a really long post.

Instead, I want to focus on this one word:

‘Pussification’

I am certain, whoever wrote this comment, meant it as an insult. An insult most likely to women and an insult most definitely to hockey. More specifically, an insult to what is going on in hockey right now. An insult to a sport, a league, players and fans, that are trying to make this game we all love fairer and more equal.

I get that. I see where that insult is aimed. Yet, I don’t feel insulted. As both a woman and fervent supporter of the YouCanPlay project and all it entails, this comment made me chuckle.

First of all, I always appreciate a new word creation. And ‘pussification’ is definitely something Webster has yet to add to their dictionary.

Secondly, and more importantly, I always feel that insults say more about who utters them than whoever they’re directed at. This commenter clearly shows very little respect for women. I mean, it is utilizing female genitalia as the core of a new word to criticize something.

So the commenter feels being a woman, being feminine is bad. Fair enough. Personally, I think I probably wouldn’t like him either if I met him.

Yet, while this comment was meant as something derogative, it’s what we as readers, make of it that defines this word. If I decided tomorrow that I hated lawnmowers and started calling everyone I didn’t like a “fucking lawnmower,” it wouldn’t be until people actually felt offended at being likened to gardening equipment, that this insult would work. I am not saying it is ok to insult people. Words hurt and today, in an increasingly digitalized world, more than ever, it is important to watch what we are saying. And who we’re saying it to.

But as I said, I chuckled. And then I thought to myself. Good for you hockey. Because if said commenter has a problem with the YouCanPlay Project, then ‘pussification’ equals an increase of fairness and equality. And that is most definitely something I would like to happen to hockey.

I like being a woman. I am proud to be a woman (even though it’s really nothing I had any say in). There is a quote going around the internet, which I find very apt for the occasion:

“Why do people say ‘grow some balls’? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”

Be it Betty White who said it, or someone else, I agree. So I think someone missed the point in trying to devise an insult.

‘Pussification’ – To me, this term now speaks of determination and strength. It speaks of a commitment to fairness and equality. It shows a willingness to open up to new developments. So please, by all means, ‘pussification of hockey’ – continue.

About Kathryn P

travel fanatic, hockey enthusiast, coffee dependent, talks too much

Discussion

3 thoughts on “SOAPBOX MOMENT – in which I talk about girl parts

  1. I think you are on the cusp of a bigger discussion point to me which is the perception that women are tender creatures that can be easily broken. We are still in the second generation of generation equality. When it comes to sport, it’s shorter. We are still a first generation of women’s hockey.

    When it comes to contact sports such as hockey and football, we will likely never see gender equality (unless there is some physical evolution). Those sports are designed for certain types of bodies that males are built for. Other sports, you are seeing the gap shrink such as triathletes.

    This problem is more of a male problem but some females are just as guilty.

    I have coached an amatur women’s hockey team that has played in the national championships the past 2 years. Watching them play, you can see how hard they work. It isn’t a dainty sport of doilies and daisies. After the games, they have the same bumps and bruises that teams I have played on have, yet they are ready to go again.

    That next level up, go watch any US vs Canada women’s hockey game. They are on the brink of full contact. The games are full of passion and fury.

    Everyone needs to stop using the Sedin sisters as a reference to being soft. We adopted the use of them being possums and that seems to work better (and there are some awesome possum pictures out there).

    If you think women are soft, go watch a birthing video sometime.

    Posted by Sk8hrd | April 27, 2012, 9:19 am
    • You coach women’s hockey? That is SO COOL! If you ever want to write about your experiences here we’d gladly set you up as a guest blogger or post on your behalf.

      The body structure point it an interesting one. I forget the exact stat but it was something like since the advent of Title IX which expanded sports opportunities for women, knee injuries for teenage girls occur at a rate of 8x those of the boys, and something like 70-80% of those are a result of non-contact incidents. My sister tore one ACL doing the triple jump at a junior high track meet and a year later tore the other during a high school volleyball practice. She just had one of them replaced again in January (she just turned 30).

      It’s not that *women’s* knees are weak, but *girl’s* knees aren’t up for quite the same level of wear and tear as their male counterparts. It’s one of those of those weird, unintended consequences that, unfortunately, can be used as ammunition by the sexist assholes.

      Posted by Karen M | April 27, 2012, 10:18 am
  2. Now that I am a bit more awake, let me see if I can clarify my thoughts.

    We need to re-educate our brains to stop equating women with soft play. This is similar to how we need to stop using racial, homophobic, or other derogatory terms when we chirp at others.

    I think the You Can Play project is a good start, but we also need to get that mentality into the players and for that matter people. As fans of the sport, the best thing we can do is change our own language. It will take time, but each of us can be part of the solution

    Posted by sk8hrd | April 27, 2012, 12:21 pm

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