Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Women are not inferior: Morgan Rielly and being a girl about it

Morgan Rielly said a stupid thing today.

If you read, “you’re not here to be a girl about it” and you see nothing wrong with it? I’m talking to you. Let me try to make this as clear as I possibly can: there is nothing inferior about being a woman. The moment you use girl, woman, anything referring to women in order to make your point on how men shouldn’t be you are treating them as inferior. I don’t care if this is common in sports. I don’t care if it’s an old way of talking. I don’t care if you don’t feel like it’s a big deal. You don’t matter here. The women that are insulted matter. Just because the National Hockey League is a men’s league, that doesn’t give some sort of free ticket to refer to other players as women the moment you want to describe doing something the wrong way. Which is exactly what Morgan Rielly is doing. He isn’t saying, “You’re not here to be a girl about it” as an endearing remark. He’s positioning “being a girl” as a negative during tough times in a hockey game. He’s making a clear distinction between men and women. I’m not going to spend the time to bring up female hockey leagues, strong female fans or how the Women’s Olympic team has won more for this country than the Toronto Maple Leafs have in half a century. This isn’t a joke. This isn’t funny. This isn’t about having to remind you about something you should already know. Of course women play hockey. Of course women know hockey. They’ve known and played it for as long as you. I shouldn’t have to make a fancy list for you of all of the achievements and credentials of women in hockey every time some stupid hockey player makes a stupid comment. It’s not my job and neither is it a woman’s job. I shouldn’t have to remind people on a hockey discussion forum that gender insults are unacceptable. We shouldn’t have to tell people to stop calling Crosby “Cindy” or the Sedin’s “Sisters”. We shouldn’t have to remind Don Cherry that women have been entering locker rooms since he was a coach in the 70s. If you replace the word “girl” with a homosexual slur it suddenly becomes something you can’t say on television. It becomes something that the “You Can Play” project would be admonishing the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs for not punishing Rielly for his comments. Nobody would be dismissing it that Rielly is just a kid and making a deal out of this is going to run him out of town. We’ve made great strides to remove homophobia from the game of hockey but we’re still having to educate folks on the sexism that runs deep. On the hockey community circles on Twitter we’re already dealing with men having to realize they cannot sexually harass women and that the damage done is not forgotten in the morning. We’re already dealing with women getting unfair treatment for their opinions and being constantly dismissed. It doesn’t help that the few times a website does cover it, they ignore that there’s additional layers to the harassment when it involves women of colour or the women are LGBTQ. When Slava Voynov is arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife it’s a bigger issue for people on what the Los Angeles Kings will do about their cap space instead of educating fans and getting stricter about domestic violence in the league. Women see all of this. They see it and are vocal about it but very few truly listen. Women see it and they can’t help not to. They see it and recognize that in the eyes of the National Hockey League, its media and its fans: they are inferior. They are just there for pink merchandise. They don’t get management or coaching jobs but instead get to clean the ice or give out prizes at game stoppage. They can interview the players but according to names like Don Cherry are not allowed in the locker room. They can talk about hockey but can’t talk about their perspective as a woman. If they say they are a woman on Twitter that watches hockey, with it can come harassment and abuse. They can love the game but they have to accept that the game looks down on them. They are just a metaphor for being weak.

You can be fine with this. You can whine, complain and moan about what men have to deal with and that this is just more outrage. You can give me examples about how you totally respect women in hockey but think this is white noise. You can think this is just the way the game is or blather on about psychology.

Women are not fine with this. Neither am I.

Thank you for reading. Please take a moment to follow me on Twitter – @AaronWrotkowski. Support LWOS by following us on Twitter  – @LastWordOnSport – and “liking” our Facebook page. in Hockey on LockerDome


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