Imagine for a moment that Television Mother Icon June Cleaver played hockey, what kind of impact would that have on the world today and how would that change the perception that we have on the current female athletes in society now?
Televised media has always played a very important role in dictating how we fit in a utopian community, but whose utopia is it? Even recently Hilary Clinton’s mental capacity was called into question by a male rival due to an admitted concussion, but if the roles were reversed, the male politician’s concussion would be passed off as a heroic sports injury that helped make him the man he is today proving he had the skills necessary to be a leader.
June Cleaver’s television life consisted of tending to her family, folding laundry as she passed out life lessons, or dressing immaculately in pearls while vacuuming and ensuring her husband’s pipe and slippers were waiting by the fireplace so he could relax and contemplate a rough day at the office. How would the scenario have played out if as Ward came home he was greeted by two grumpy boys looking for dinner because Mom was at hockey practice? Would Ward give one of his famous speeches to Wally and the Beaver, this time discussing how everyone in the household needs step up and help out to ensure all the Family’s needs are met?
The fact is, the family dynamic is still recovering from a very dark era of propaganda; it is becoming increasingly difficult to raise a family without two incomes let alone gender bias. The perception in media has changed little in its bias since that time and continues to churn out unrealistic role models that only confuse our already overwhelmed young women.
Hockey works the same way, it has long been seen as an “Old Boys Club” and they tend to get rather territorial when their ice is infringed upon. Women are encouraged to cheer on the boys and ensure the Warriors are tended too, but when the ladies take to the ice they become subjected to arrogant sneers and ignorant reprisal.
Women and young girls are turning out to play hockey in larger and larger numbers across Canada and throughout the world, yet the media would almost have you believe they don’t exist at all. But through the advancements in equal rights and the steady stream of very well educated and employed successful women there has to be more and more Women in Leadership that can help spearhead and push forward for advancements in Women projected in the media.
The CWHL has made terrific progress in this area, but they need to lean harder on the Women who are running these large successful companies. There needs to be a loud clear directive, there needs to be a voice. Women’s hockey games are just as vocal on the ice as it is in the stands, yet when the arena empties out the voices seem to fade. Understandably Women’s Hockey came from the underground, it survives bullies and red tape, ridicule and ignorance and without a lot of meaningful support, and by meaningful I mean monetarily, yet it grows. Canadian Men’s Hockey is on the decline while Women’s increases and now is the opportunity to cash in, not just financially but also in awareness, it may be the same game but it is definitely played two different ways with two very different mindsets.
The limits of what you can become should never stop at “I am a Woman”, they can certainly start there by banding together in a positive and forward motion, never resign yourself or your gender to waiting at home for your Ward Cleaver, he is not coming and does not exist nor should June Cleaver or her “vacuuming pearls and apron.”