25 February 2010

Patriotism Patriarchy and Patronage Tra La La

No. 9564 - 25 Feb 2010 - 18:06

Gastown, Vancouver

These images were taken from the TV in the lobby of the YWCA on Hornby Street. Having just completed membership paperwork I was lured into the excitement of gold medal entertainment and settled down with a few others to watch the rest of the Canada/ USA women's final round game. It ended with U.S. tears and CDN pride (sometimes the roles are reversed), CDN male hockey players watching pensively from the rafters and wanting a piece of that, a roaring sea of red and these three men perhaps visiting not a women's match but a winning match. The event was barely over when IOC President, Jacques Rogge, announced that the women's teams had best correct, what he referred to as, lopsidedness within the league. (These inequities exist throughout the pantheon of international sport and are easily forgiven in male leagues). C'est la classe dirigeant que les règles.

Women's sport is marginalized because women's sport is marginalized: funding and access is often negligible or difficult to obtain. Softball and ski jumping are gone and now a public threat to ice hockey is made.

You are playing a racket, on the ladies, gentlemen. I do not have any particular interest in hockey but it is easy to see and enjoy the sheer finesse, speed, and high calibre of these two teams at play. Women look good playing the sport . Let them share their skills with eager, young teams internationally: fund with ingenuity and collaboration. Canadian women continue to out-medal the men at these games and their success deserves an appropriate amount of respect and financial acknowledgement. Remember whose game you came to observe and glory in for photo-ops and feel-good glad handing.

The same goes for the boys in the rafters. I wish you well but, no matter the outcome of your tournament, please stand up for the ladies of your sport and what all around me say is our sport. Be like men and make public your subdued admiration for the women.

"For this relief, much thanks."*

*Something Shakespeare used as a closing line by Simon Loekle, WBAI Radio, NYC

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