June 23, 2010

When Sexism Isn't Really About Sexism

Let's Hear It For The Girls!
If Wayne Gretzky is credited with growing the sport in the state of California and into the Sunbelt in the southern United States, James and Granato are responsible for growing the sport in two entire countries. Name one player currently in the Hockey Hall of Fame that has had that kind of effect on the game of hockey.

Bobby Orr? Wayne Gretzky? Gordie Howe? Maurice Richard?

If those four men grew the sport of hockey in North America through their skill, scoring, and charisma, then Cammi Granato and Angela James are long overdue for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Regardless of their scoring prowess, these two retired hockey players had more impact on their sport than 99% of the men currently in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
I was rather disappointed by the commentary on Twitter yesterday about the Hockey Hall of Fame selections. As expected, no one really agreed on the selections. But about a third of the total men on there were making excuses for why the women should've been left off for more "worthy" men - particularly NHLers.

And they weren't prefacing it with, "the women deserve it but..." sort of commentary, either. It wasn't flat-out disrespectful, but between the lines it was. I'm not being overly sensitive when I say this, because it takes quite a lot to offend me, but it was obvious that there are a lot of men who don't consider women to be good enough to compete directly with men in that kind of setting.

So it was a nice surprise to read this post from Teebz. There were quite a few men who were thrilled by women being included in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and were disappointed with the other selections. But even some of them were saying that the women ought to have their own category. I was, too, but I was saying that because it'd avoid things like this. Don't get me wrong, I certainly do not think all men are troglodytes. But there still is a large segment of society who are.

I've asked other women about whether they've faced this kind of thing before - blatant sexism in sports. About half have and half haven't. It usually runs along an age divide, but not always. Some of it has to do with location. But people - both men and women - get so surprised by my stories of sexist comments that I've received over the years. It leaves me scratching my head; I don't know why they're so surprised.

And frankly, they shouldn't be. From what I saw yesterday on Twitter, there are still plenty of men who view women as sub-human. They just don't voice it now; they talk their way around it so that it's not so obvious. Implication thru omission is a very passive-aggressive way to go about things, if you ask me.

June 7, 2010

This Is What I Do

Sports-Centric Web Sites Expand, and Bias Is Welcome
The popular site is just one of more than 250 unapologetically biased sports sites owned by SB Nation, most of them dedicated to a single team. The sites, written by fans for fans, do not claim to break news or have an inside scoop, but they often serve as a digital water cooler for the like-minded.

This is who I write for. I've talked to Tyler Bleszinski on the phone before - he actually interviewed me for the first posting of his "Better Know a Blogger" series for his own blog on the site, Blog Huddle. I guess talking to me is what inspired that? I don't know.

He's also a part of our SBN hockey group on Google Groups, of which he participates in the discussions often. He's a big New Jersey Devils fan, and he oftens tells us that we're the most fun out of all of the sports groups on SB Nation. Not sure if that's true or not, but it's nice to hear.

One of my co-writers for Raw Charge, John Fontana, talks to Tyler often. In fact, John was asked to be the hub manager for Tampa but turned it down. He decided that it wasn't a good fit for him, and found someone else to take his place.

I'll be attending the launch party for the Washington, DC, hub this evening. It ought to be fun. Mostly, it'll be the blogs and bloggers for the DC-based teams: Capitals (NHL), Wizards (NBA), Nationals (MLB) Redskins (NFL), United (MLS), Georgetown University and the University of Maryland (NCAA). But all of the SB Nation writers located in the DC-area that write for other sites, like me, have been invited.

Looking at that, I'm not sure why the Virginia schools got left off of that hub. I might have to ask about that tonight. Though, I guess only Virginia Tech is the only Virginia-based college or university that has a site on SB Nation right now. But still.

Oh yeah, we've added writers on our site. Mostly women, strangely: Dani Toth, Meredith Qualls, and Tina Robinson. We did add one more male writer, Nolan White. Also interesting, only John and Meredith are in the Tampa area. Two are from Canada: Dani (Vancouver) and Nolan (Toronto); Tina's in South Carolina, and I'm in Virginia. Considering that the majority of Tampa Bay Lightning fans are located in Central Florida, not to mention that any team located in the US South is dumped on by the Canadian hockey media, that's sort of odd in and of itself.

For a sport where something like 80% of the fans are male, we get a lot of women commenting, and now writing, for our site. I guess that could be my fault, but I prefer to blame it on Vinny Lecavalier. It's no secret that he's a good looking man, and there seem to be plenty of female Lecavalier fans to go around. So, therefore, it's all Vinny's fault that Tampa seems to attract female hockey fans.