on fighting (and another f-word)

well, I'd like to finish posting on the Pittsburgh trip before the next Hawks game I attend, but oops. a couple things came up. I finally added Jezebel to my blog reader recently, although they post so frequently I have oodles of celebrity stuff to skip through. Tuesday I'd barely stopped laughing from their latest takedown of Cosmopolitan (with possibly the stupidest "effects of the recession" story yet-- guess what men are now doing a lot because of the recession! no, really! because of the recession?!) and controlled my giddiness over the Hello Kitty jet used in Taiwan (adorable! and creepy!), when what shows up but a story about a high school hockey fight. of a girl on a boy's team fighting off boys.

I saw this last week on the blog The Scrappy Octopus, and now Jezebel and Deadspin are getting around to it. the piece was by Latoya Peterson; a writer whose work I enjoy. she admits that "I am not familiar enough with ice hockey to know if there is a movement of any sort to stop fighting on the ice." fortunately, many commenters (who I presume to be female at Jezebel unless they state otherwise) are hockey fans and current or former players, and provided some context. for instance, fighting really isn't allowed in high school or college hockey, so it's strange the refs didn't try to break this up. and fighting serves a purpose in pro hockey and most fans, uh, are okay with that.

a comment at Jezebel I liked: "She held her own. It looked like a gender-neutral fight that happened when things got heated around the goal, which happens -- skaters get protective of their goalie. I'd have more of a problem if people said, 'oh, she shouldn't do that, as a female player, she should elevate her skills and rise above the male tendency to be violent.' It's hockey. Sometimes ya gotta throw down, eh?"
and a critique of their fighting technique itself:  "No dropped gloves, no love."

a confluence of hockey and feminism--awesome! and then later the same day...OH NO, WATCH OUT, ANY DAY NOW I'M GOING TO RUIN THE INTERNET FOR YOU WITH MY HYSTERICAL OVERREACTIONS TO EVERYTHING

so, Cycle Like the Sedins has a new feature with female hockey bloggers explaining how they got into hockey and blogging. the latest edition of Odd Woman Rush featured one of the first hockey blogs I found, Talk Hockey to Me. blogger Teka said, "My hockey blog was really a spinoff of my “normal” blog, and now my normal blog is the one that gets ignored for weeks and weeks on end." heh, I can relate. she also says "At this point, I’m pretty sure I’m the only self-identified feminist hockey blog out there." well, not to sound all competitive (you know the ladies love competition! and only ONE OF US can be successful! it's gonna be me, bitch! and so forth), but no, now there's two.

I'm not bothering with an explanation--look, here's feminism 101 if you need it. nor do I expect to say much, besides the occasional bit of snark (like my recent bit about a loser on Facebook), about stereotypes about female fans as puckbunnies, or the pink jersey issue, or Ice Girls. that's all been well-covered, often by Teka herself, including in her thesis (which as a huge nerd I was thrilled to find--yes, I read an academic account of female hockey fandom right as I became a fan!) but...my "issue"?

well, I like the rough-and-tumble (okay, vulgar) world of sports blogs. (I love blogs and sites about urbanism and architecture and transportation but um, they're a little less funny, maybe?) but I have trouble with the metaphors of/"jokes" about rape and sexual humiliation, and the sexist and anti-gay slurs, common in sports blog writing and commenting (mostly, but not only, from men). there are blogs I might read but not blogroll but because of it, and there are blogs I blogroll despite this sometimes or often being an issue (frankly, some of the Blackhawks blogs--including ones whose writers I've met--are frequent offenders). I don't see many sports bloggers, male or female, addressing this, and it's never discussed on feminist blogs, even though I see sports fans and sports stories there sometimes. I'm bothered less by what sports leagues are or aren't doing to attract women as fans, than by what other fans are doing that makes many fans or would-be fans feel attacked and excluded.

I'm mostly here to have fun, whether it's about what it's like becoming a fan, or mocking the sports media. I won't, you know, whine or get hysterical about that sexism now; I'm just bottling up lots and lots of frustration and rage now--I'm sure that's a perfectly healthy thing to do!--to use for future posts. oh, MAN UP, you can take some constructive criticism, when I get around to it.

1 comment:

Ken Socrates said...

This is certainly an interesting topic. At the very top of it is the basic male mentality that dominates professional sports and hockey is no exception. The sexist and anti-gay slurs that get thrown around in blogs the same ones the players themselves tend to use on the ice when things get heated. It has more to do, however, with what will infuriate your opponent than it does any hate toward a particular group. You want to piss off someone who's so full of their own macho-ness that it's leaking out their ears, you call them a "fag" or a "pussy".

I'll use myself as an example because I may be slightly guilty in this area at times (though my actual political leanings are to the extreme left, I tend to leave that out of much of my writing). One of my favorite things to do as I express my disdain and hatred for the Bruins ancient rivals the Montreal Canadiens is to suggest that they are effeminate or that they enjoy cross dressing or that they "are not men". I do this because, in my mind, this is the best way I can think of to infuriate and humiliate the players and their fans. Perhaps I need better terminology for it because what I'm actually calling them on is an unwillingness to play by the code, or their willingness to dive to draw penalties and the overall elitism of a fan base that considers itself the Royalty of Hockey. What I'm saying is, if you really knew hockey, you'd be embarrassed at the way your team plays because it goes against what hockey should be: tough and honest, with respect for your enemies.

So anything I can do to throw darts at them, I do, and I likely cross some lines in doing so that I wouldn't do in everyday life where I've not even the slightest bit of homophobic or sexist tendencies. Most of that, on my part, is sort of "writing in character" if you will. Perhaps I need to consider my words a bit more carefully but, then, writing abour hockey lends itself to a certain spirit, especially on a site that glorifies the physical aspect of the game.

There's a dichotomy there, for sure, but it's no secret my personality is ratherd fractured and splintered, sometimes into conflicting elements. I've a friend who has played hockey all her life, is an ardent feminist and is a lesbian. This'd be a great topic for her to chime in on.

Meanwhile, I'll keep eating red meat and dragging these knuckles. Hopefully, no one outside Quebec is too offended.