Let me ask you a question: as a fan of women’s hockey, do you want female hockey players to be treated equally to men, or do you want them to be treated differently? I personally want them to be treated equally and based on my involvement in the women’s hockey community, so do a lot of other fans.
So, why then, when a famous Canadian comedian puts out a video to promote the CWHL All-Star Game using satire and hockey chirps are many women’s hockey fans getting offended? Isn’t this what we want? We ask for equality, we ask for these women not to be treated like delicate beings, we ask for them to receive similar treatment to the men and when they get it it’s apparently insulting.
If you haven’t seen the video from Gerry Dee, please go watch it here:
— Gerry Dee (@gerrydee) January 9, 2019
Now, I am the first one to say that sexism has no place in women’s hockey. I have dedicated my life to giving women in hockey a voice and helping to get the game to the highest level. I will call anyone out for making sexist remarks about women’s hockey. In this instance, I am applauding Gerry Dee and the CWHL.
On the CWHL’s part, having Gerry Dee do this video is exemplary marketing. He’s a Canadian with upwards of 215K Twitter followers. He’s a comedian. He’s a hockey fan and a supporter of the CWHL. He made a video completely on brand for his followers, many of which were probably not even aware of the CWHL or the All-Star Game. He’s promoting the women’s game in his own voice, using his own personality, and it’s genius.
“Didn’t see that coming… didn’t know she still played… she has no back hand,” on Marie-Philip Poulin, “Natalie Spooner. Who… picks this?” and “Jill Saulnier cannot skate backwards” are among my favourite chirps from the video. It’s hilarious because it’s obviously complete satire. If you think that Gerry Dee was sitting there saying these things in honesty or because he truly believes women’s hockey players are inadequate, then I’m not sure I can help you see the true light of this video.
If you can see the humour in it, though, then maybe you’ll agree that this is exactly what the women’s game needs. If this video was released about male hockey players and he said, “Connor McDavid… guy can’t even skate,” or “Sidney Crosby? Why would you invite a guy like that?” people would think it was funny because it’s chirping and chirps are a part of the game.
I think that people are taking this video the wrong way because we have a sensitivity when it comes to women’s hockey. We automatically think that people are going to berate it, make fun of it, and not believe in it, so when a video like this comes out, our sensitivity radar goes off. But, if you were to think of it in the opposite way: that Gerry Dee is treating them like any other hockey player, then maybe you’ll see why this is a good thing—a step forward for the game, if you will.
People want female hockey players to be treated as equals, yet, when they are, some people are up in arms about it. So, which is it? Do you want them to be treated like equals and chirped along with the best of them or do you want them to be protected and to only have good things said about them? That’s not hockey. Hockey is roasting people and poking fun (within reason) and that’s exactly what this video sets out to do.
If you disagree with me, then take a look at what the players had to say following the video’s release:
(Tweet credit: @FotoSharkz)
Gerry Dee doesn’t say anything in this video that wouldn’t be said about a male hockey player. If anything, he brings to light some of what’s wrong with the women’s game: we as fans don’t treat it equally even though that’s what we’re asking for. We’re sensitive about it (and for good reason), but maybe we need to step back and realize that by being sensitive about something like this, we’re actually doing the game, and female players, a disservice.
Everyone will have their opinions about this, and that’s completely fair. I for one hope more videos like this are made. I hope that more people like Gerry Dee help to promote the game. I hope that one day we won’t be in a place where we feel the need to be defensive about things like this because we realize that equality sometimes means our players are going to get chirped. Heck, Gerry Dee can chirp me any day—that’s how I’ll know I’ve made it.