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.

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