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Ignorance is thinking Female Hockey Fan = Puck Bunny

March 11, 2012

Earlier this week, I dealt with the issue of the lack of women in leadership positions and the role the media plays in the how women are portrayed in society.  The message that the documentary, Miss Representation, is trying to convey is that “You can’t be what you can’t see” and that what we see is too often that women are worthless beyond their beauty. Seeing this movie showed me that I am not as aware as I should be. I, as have many others, have become de-sensitized to the fact that almost every movie, tv show and advertisement objectifies women. This is what our up-and-coming generations, both male and female, see every day.

Just two days later, Sports Illustrated managed to bring this to the forefront of my social media feed. It wasn’t just an online article, it was an online gallery showing ‘female hockey fans’ or, in SI’s language – ‘puckbunnies.’  There have been several good blog postings on this topic since Friday. A prime example is HockeyBroad’s post ‘Dear SI: Not all female hockey fans are puck bunnies.’ She states quite directly what I too believe; that SI put all female hockey fans in the puck bunny category with their description of the photo gallery: “Hockey fans come in all shapes and sizes, but few are as passionate as the league’s female fans (aka – Puck Bunnies). Whether it’s proposing to a player through the boards or painting their stomachs with the name of their favorite team, these ladies are not shy about expressing their devotion. In this gallery, SI pays tribute to the NHL’s Puck Bunnies.” – SI

The gallery was brought to my attention on Twitter.  I had a short discussion with a pair of my fellow female hockey fan/bloggers.  The gist of the conversation was that it disgusted us to be grouped together with women who were not interested in the game versus simply wanting to sleep with a hockey player. Going further, one said “It’s a symptom of a larger problem: women are valued more for their appearance/acting ‘cute’ than for their knowledge.” Another point was that “We have ownership in how we’re portrayed for sure – we can’t just sit passively & blame men.”

We have the responsibility to do our best to reverse the continuing trend of objectifying women.  There are a good many women who love hockey for the fact that it is a fast, exciting sport. Their knowledge of the sport is not based on how they look or what they happen to be wearing. The many people, both male and female, who objected to the manner in which female hockey fans were portrayed by Sports Illustrated, shows that society understands the problem. Society also has to be the solution. By raising our voices we let the media outlets know that articles such as the Puck Bunny gallery are not acceptable portrayals of the female hockey community as a whole.

Lastly – kudos to HockeyBroad, Elena Palmer at Aerys Sports (Sports Illustrated Salutes “Puck Bunnies”; Shockingly, I’m Annoyed), Emma Harger at Yahoo! Sports (Hey Sports Illustrated, We’re Not Puck Bunnies: Fan’s Take) and many others who voiced their displeasure, it appears you have been heard – the gallery is no long available!

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