I've found a "be careful what you wish for" example of wanting more media coverage of hockey and hockey players, and it's "Here’s the Key to Your Suite, Mr. Ovechkin" from the Dec/Jan issue of Men's Journal. (I wasn't going to link but then I realized it could get trackbacks if I do, so...). you know, "rant" gets overused on the Internet (such as, by me in my previous post) so instead I'll say, I'm in high dudgeon about this. (so far, "Wait, Ovechkin was in those photos?" is the only other piece I've seen critiquing this photo shoot.)
this isn't about what I think of Ovechkin as a player, or about the little "interview" (most of which was boring or cringeworthy, except for the bit about sending cards to Crosby), or that this is selling stuff people don't need. I don't mind seeing hockey players in a fashion spread, not at all. no, it's the tediously obvious use of the Unnamed Woman. who is she? why is she there? we're not supposed to know or care. oh look, there's Ovie on a bed...and surprising her in the shower...and there she is in lingerie...
oh where OH WHERE could this narrative be leading? I am rapt with attention! could it possibly be:
uh. that's not to judge the model, by the way; it's to point out how BORING this is. (interestingly, I took a look at the print edition of Men's Journal, and the picture with the lingerie and the woman on the bed aren't there; in fact, it ends with the two playing air hockey, fully dressed. of course the implication's still there.) and gratuitious, did I say gratuitous already? yet another piece where the man's dressed and the woman isn't. they could either have him also be barely dressed (wouldn't be my choice here, but others may disagree), or keep them both in clothes.
such as the photos where they're playing air hockey. what's wrong with just leaving it there? those are fun and sexy and play around with the image of the serious hockey player. I like them in the way that the only reason I'd want to go to a high school prom (I mean, if I could go back in time and actually go to mine, and in a bigger city than where I grew up) would be to get all dressed up and spent the late night hanging out with people riding the subway and going bowling and going to an all-night diner...
and my least favorite part? the intro: "When you furnish the world’s best hockey player with a ritzy New York hotel room and the season’s best, um, accessories, you know he’s going to put them to good use. Especially when that player is Alex Ovechkin."
um, "um, accessories"? does that mean Unnamed Woman? I'm touchy that I'll be accused of "complaining about everything" if I'm grumpy about articles/ads like this (but if anyone thinks I'm just "looking for stuff to get mad about", fuck you, I have plenty to be mad about without having to look) (I found the Ovechkin piece out of curiosity over a link on NHL.com). so...it's not that there's a sexy blond in the photos*, it's that she's explicitly referred to as an "accessory," i.e. an object, so I'd call that objectification. and yeah, I assume photo shoots like this are common at magazines like that--doesn't mean I can't critique them.
*like, I don't mind when the game threads at the Maple Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets post photos of Niklas Hagman's attractive wife, Piritta Hannula, because, well, she has a name (admittedly, I had to Google it). and the fans (straight male ones anyway) need to be cheered up during all those times the Bruins steamroll the Leafs... (damn, that line worked better when the Leafs hadn't just had a spectacular win, tonight...over the Capitals. ha!)
the book above is from 1975. I own it and will be putting that image on Tumblr and Flickr for anyone who'd like to reblog/favorite it. as I feared from the cover, there don't seem to be any stories about hockey players in it. but...a golfer? who the hell thinks golfers are sexier than hockey players?!