Wednesday, May 23, 2012

While the men watch... what, exactly?

You may have seen hockey fandom shake its collective head at Hockey Night In Canada's collaboration with a blog called "While The Men Watch," written by "two women married to sports fanatics."

Now, normally I'd be all for someone who isn't a sports fan venturing into the wild world of sports. After all, that's what I did. But these women seem to want to emphasize the fact that they only know what sports are because they're married to men who watch them. You know, because boys like sports and girls like boys, right?

Wrong. People like sports because they like sports.

I became a sports fan because I wasn't always one. I wasn't always a sports fan because I had other interests. It has nothing to do with my sex or my gender. I had other interests.

At least one of the While The Men Watch bloggers is from an Italian family. I am too (first-generation on my dad's side; second-generation on my mom's), so I feel like I should understand where she's coming from. A lot of Italians are pretty old-school when it comes to gender roles. I've heard my relatives say "Times have changed," as if it's the worst news they've ever heard. In this inaugural post for HNIC, Jules jokingly apologizes to her uncle for missing a family function. I'd like to apologize on her behalf to my late aunt, who would have laughed in her face if she knew something like this existed, because even 60 years ago in small-town Italy, she knew that all you had to do if you wanted to "be one of the boys" was just go out and be one of the boys.

The idea that anything should be exclusively reserved to one gender is kind of ridiculous. We should all stop thinking that we should or shouldn't do something because we're girls, or boys, or because we're trying to be different from other girls or boys. These women are perpetuating the idea that no girls watch sports, or that they only watch sports for boys. Yes, those girls exist, but they're the exception rather than the rule. And what about the men I know who don't watch sports? Where do they fit into this black-and-white idea of gender roles?

My reasons for watching sports have nothing to do with my femininity or my love life. Likewise, my reasons for going shoe shopping last weekend have nothing to do with my femininity. I watch sports because I like the stories they tell, and I bought shoes because my old shoes needed to be replaced.

I don't know why CBC would want to support women who buy into such an obvious gender dichotomy, especially when it's already been implied more than once by the personalities on Hockey Night. Oh, and I'm not sure why they didn't proofread:

because the Stanley Cup Finals will be over on June 13th, so starting your coverage on June 30th is a little late, no?

I could go on and on about this at length, but I should probably cut myself short. Here are a few other takes on this whole mess that you might enjoy reading:
Robyn at Lady Habs is by far one of the best sports fans I know. And she is mad.
Aerys Sports always provides a balance of outrage and eloquence when stupidities like this arise, and this is no exception.
This post at Puck Drunk Love is so incredibly rational about this whole mess that I can't help but applaud.
FML. Even Deadspin thinks this is offensive. Deadspin calling you offensive is like Don Cherry telling you to quiet down.


  1. Apparently they want to cover the "uninterested housewife of 1950s suburbia" demographic.

    Meh. They think Carey Price is one of the worst dressed hockey players because of his "bad cowboy chic" when they obviously don't realize HE'S A FOOKING COWBOY.

    So yea, they even fail at girly talk.

  2. I feel like a bad feminist for telling anyone how NOT to be a girl, but I think your comment proves that they might be doing it wrong. Cowboy Carey is Hockey 101. I knew Carey Price was a cowboy in our rookie season.


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