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Posts tagged ‘2010 Winter Olympics’

Sexism in ice hockey

I haven’t done any posts about the Olympics (nor about anything else for a while), even though they are being held in British Columbia, where I live. Basically, I was not thrilled with bidding for it and building some of the venues, as the funds could have been better spent elsewhere. Nevertheless, as we got them, we had might as well make the Olympics as successful as possible.

With that in mind, I’d like to congratulate Team Canada for beating the United States 2–0 in the final yesterday, and winning our third consecutive gold medal. I’d also like to take the liberty and complain about sexist rules or situations in women’s ice hockey:

  • The recent blowout wins by Canada and the US have resulted in accusations of “poor sportsmanship” and running up the score, and calls for a mercy rule. Similar blowouts in men’s competition didn’t get the same response (cite).
  • Full face masks are also mandatory in women’s ice hockey (cite). I have no objection to requiring both men and women to wear face masks; I object to requiring only women to wear them. There is absolutely no need for such a rule; why do we need to promote the stereotype that women are all dainty and delicate?
  • Bodychecking is not allowed in women’s hockey (cite). Supposedly, in the 1990 World Championship, bodychecking was allowed because European teams were behind Canada and the United States, and so this was though to help equalize competition. The story goes further that since North American women learnt to play against men, they were a lot bigger than Europeans, who learnt to play against other women. For that reason, bodychecking made the competition less equal, and hence bodychecking was eliminated in time for the 1992 World Championship at the behest of European national teams. I am skeptical of this story as, to me, it reads just like an urban legend. But anyway, women’s hockey is better than the men’s game precisely because the lack of bodychecking shows the beauty of passing and skating better. But why is it that we have to promote the stereotype that women cannot handle a contact sport and are so “delicate” that they need so much “protection” from themselves, whereas for men this isn’t necessary?
  • The International Ice Hockey Federation, which governs the sport and organizes championships and the Olympic tournament, does not hold a women’s championship in Olympic years, even though it is perfectly capable of holding the men’s tournament every year (cite).
  • Update: I think this picture from Brad Cran shows another double standard regarding how some of our Olympic champion women celebrated after winning gold versus how one of our champion men celebrated after winning gold (via Frank Frink commenting at the Unrepentant Old Hippie. At least there will be no IOC investigation (cite).
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Snow white elephant

Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver, is going to ask the provincial government to convene and emergency legislative session to amend the city’s charter so the city can borrow $458 million (CAD) to cover cost overruns related to the building of the Athlete’s Village for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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