To start of this post, I want to talk a little bit about myself, as I haven’t been around these parts too long. And I feel like ‘soapboxing’ needs a bit of background information.
I am a woman. I am a little bit gay, a little bit straight and very much human. I like hockey. I also like puppies. As it is the case with most people, there is more to me than you’d know at first glance.
While aimlessly wandering through the vastness of the interwebs the other day, I came across a post about the YouCanPlay Project.
I don’t think the specifics are important for what I’m trying to say, but somewhere in the comments someone had written something along the lines of:
“And the pussification of hockey continues.”
Add to that tweets about how female hockey fans suck and various comments by men and women alike on ‘puckbunnies,’ and my mind was reeling. I don’t want to discuss all of this, don’t want to get into the details of gender relations and sports, because that would be a really long post.
Instead, I want to focus on this one word:
I am certain, whoever wrote this comment, meant it as an insult. An insult most likely to women and an insult most definitely to hockey. More specifically, an insult to what is going on in hockey right now. An insult to a sport, a league, players and fans, that are trying to make this game we all love fairer and more equal.
I get that. I see where that insult is aimed. Yet, I don’t feel insulted. As both a woman and fervent supporter of the YouCanPlay project and all it entails, this comment made me chuckle.
First of all, I always appreciate a new word creation. And ‘pussification’ is definitely something Webster has yet to add to their dictionary.
Secondly, and more importantly, I always feel that insults say more about who utters them than whoever they’re directed at. This commenter clearly shows very little respect for women. I mean, it is utilizing female genitalia as the core of a new word to criticize something.
So the commenter feels being a woman, being feminine is bad. Fair enough. Personally, I think I probably wouldn’t like him either if I met him.
Yet, while this comment was meant as something derogative, it’s what we as readers, make of it that defines this word. If I decided tomorrow that I hated lawnmowers and started calling everyone I didn’t like a “fucking lawnmower,” it wouldn’t be until people actually felt offended at being likened to gardening equipment, that this insult would work. I am not saying it is ok to insult people. Words hurt and today, in an increasingly digitalized world, more than ever, it is important to watch what we are saying. And who we’re saying it to.
But as I said, I chuckled. And then I thought to myself. Good for you hockey. Because if said commenter has a problem with the YouCanPlay Project, then ‘pussification’ equals an increase of fairness and equality. And that is most definitely something I would like to happen to hockey.
I like being a woman. I am proud to be a woman (even though it’s really nothing I had any say in). There is a quote going around the internet, which I find very apt for the occasion:
“Why do people say ‘grow some balls’? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”
Be it Betty White who said it, or someone else, I agree. So I think someone missed the point in trying to devise an insult.
‘Pussification’ – To me, this term now speaks of determination and strength. It speaks of a commitment to fairness and equality. It shows a willingness to open up to new developments. So please, by all means, ‘pussification of hockey’ – continue.