In honor of tonight's debate a political post--in the sense that it is about the political system rather than everything else I write which is political in the more general sense. Since I am so disgusted and divorced from the political system and thus refuse to watch any of the debates, I figure this will be my contribution.
Sometimes it's kind of frustrating being a feminist who likes and studies and plays sports--especially women's sports. In addition to the ways in which women's sports are marginalized in the popular culture, there are the continual frustrations with so many female athletes who conform to the norms set for them by malestream sport. So many of us truly believe in the potential of women's sports to poke holes in hegemonic sport and gender roles. And thus when female athletes--like so many women in general (I have no expectations that female athletes should somehow be more likely to be feminists than women in the population at large)--kind of just capitulate or hide anything that might be construed as feminist, radical, or even non-feminine it just makes me want to find the nearest wall and start banging my head.
Thankfully there are wonderful moments like the one I had when I read an editorial by Michelle McAteer, an out assistant coach of the women's hockey team at Minnesota-Duluth. McAteer takes on the "hockey mom" rhetoric that Sarah Palin has made so ubiquitous in the last couple of months. You must read the whole thing because it's wonderfully written. I would have her guest blog for me any day because she's smart and witty and she's so right about how Palin is using hockey yet has no concept of what women who actually play hockey face.
But pit-bull Palin doesn't seem to understand the complexities of women in the women's hockey world. It's safe to say she wasn't trying to associate herself with me, my community, or my experiences. I'd also wager that the large subset of gay women in the hockey world never crossed Palin's mind as she branded herself part of the hockey minority. At the collegiate level, though, lesbians are a visible part of game.
Hockey will not benefit from Palin the way Palin has benefited from her version of hockey. And that's just fine with McAteer who doesn't think Palin's attention is any benefit to the sport at all.
So tonight while the presidential candidates are debating, I will be doing something truly political: attending a women's hockey game. Because I think the game needs support from people who really care about women's hockey.