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If you ask some women, the answer is "yes." My answer is "no."

I created a bit of a stir last night on Twitter when I wrote that I wasn't upset by yesterday's photo from the Chicago Tribune. Some women have viewed the photo as sexist, and one of the loudest voices on the subject was from Christine Brennan of USA Today. To paraphrase, Brennan is tired of seeing feminine traits/characteristics being applied to male athletes for the purpose of comedy. In short, women are used to portray the idea of being less than equal in the area of sport.

Brennan even went so far as to include comments on the photo from Angela Ruggiero, a former member of the U.S. Olympic women's hockey team.

"I'd like to see that editor out on skates," Ruggiero told the Associated Press. "I'll take them one-on-one on the ice any day."

Notice how Ruggiero challenged the editor, Jane Hirt, and not Chris Pronger? Funny that. If the issue here pertains to equality among the sexes, why am I finding it difficult to believe that Angela wouldn't be able to skate as fast as Pronger, shoot as hard or steal pucks with an equal amount of malice? (Sorry, a bit of levity was overdue.)

Does that validate Hirt's decision? Of course not. But I felt like this story needed a dose of reality. Furthermore, when you consider the bounty of negative material that Chris Pronger provides, it drives home how stupid, unnecessary and uninspired this dig actually was.

As for my tweet, I stand by it. I believe as a woman in this business, you have to pick your spots if you want to be heard. If I let every perceived slight get to me, I'd be a) in a mental institution or b) Jason Whitlock. I'm not fond of either choice. For me, it wasn't offensive enough to warrant a feminist retort. For me.

11 responses to "Am I supposed to be offended by this?"

  1. I also don’t let every single thing affect or slight me, to ensure I don't dilute the message when I DO have something to say.

    I picked this spot to be heard and suffered the inevitable AGAINST SEXISM = FEMINIST = LESBIAN LOLOLOL slurs. It’s cool. I picked my spot, and I stuck by my point.

    I’m glad you blogged about it even if you weren’t offended by it.


  2. Angela Ruggiero is trying to carve out a post-hockey career for herself as a commentator/journalist/quasi-celebrity, so I take her comments with a large grain of salt. You'll see her as a guest host on "Wipeout" soon, I imagine.

    I'm a man, so I suppose I could stand accused of not "getting" it, but I view this kind of stuff as lame and juvenile more than offensive. Rape jokes, on the other hand, are offensive - that's the kind of stuff that needs to be stamped out.

    Dennis Prouse

  3. I found that picture hilarious. Does that make me less of a woman?
    I agree with you, you do have to pick your spots.

    Although these days I find that 'picking your spots' means 'pointing out that something is incredibly stupid' rather than 'getting outraged.'

    And also I am offended by the fact that Chris Pronger looks better in a skirt than I do.


  4. You're wrong. Plain and simple. And it's not about just comparing male athletes to female athletes. It's about using the tired old misogynist technique of insulting a man by claiming he is IN ANY WAY like a woman. THAT is what it is about - not athletics. It's disgusting. It's offensive. And you are incorrect. FOR ME and for most women I know.


  5. Like Prouse said: It was unoriginal and trite, but not offensive.

    And if they had any sense of humour, it would have been "Christy" Pronger.


  6. For you? Who are you? I'm not trying to be snarky - I'm genuinely curious. I would think a person with such strong opinions wouldn't want to post anonymously. And speaking of opinions, how can one be "incorrect"? If other women feel the same way, they can make their presence known here. I don't think anyone should insist to know the majority of opinion on this, or any subject without significant research and/or knowledge.

    The Universal Cynic

  7. Anonymous, it's just as wrong to say Erin MUST be offended as it is to say I MUST NOT.

    The only issue I take with this article is that Angela Ruggiero doesn't have to call out/challenge Chris Pronger because he didn't doctor the photo or write the captions. If she called him out she'd be blaming him.


  8. I'd agree more with the picking-your-battles argument if I felt like I ever saw hockey bloggers picking this particular one. But as I mentioned on Twitter, I see endless rehashings of the "female fans aren't puckbunnies" (and pink jersey) discussions--i.e., defending women as fans. But next to nothing critiquing jokes like this--defending women as women (and/or gays, since the insults overlap). It's true that women athletes aren't able to compete directly with men in some sports, but I think that's beside the point.

    I pick battles based on who's making the insults, I guess. I didn't like when fellow Hawks fans were talking about the "sissy Sedin sisters," or making vagina jokes about players, but I didn't say anything. When it's one of the major newspapers in the U.S. (for whatever that's worth today), I think it's well worth saying something.

    k of c

  9. After reading more into it, the editor in question is a man, Mike Kellams. So she wasn't challenging Jane Hirt, she was challenging Mike Kellams.


  10. outraged.... no... I just don't care enough about Pronger to get riled up...

    But, is it sexist? Yes. For sure. The overall "argument" of this picture is that feminizing Pronger makes him less a person.

    It's tired, old and yes, it's hateful. Just another example of the undercurrent of sexism that we must work with daily.

    BUT if you don't get angry about this... that's fine. Save your passion for when something speaks to you.


  11. I am so sick of these idiot morons who go to the "It is implying that being like a woman is somehow inferior" argument.

    Look, you idiots, if a woman is manly in demeanor/appearance, she also gets criticized for it. Does that imply that being male is inferior?

    Being male/female is not a bad thing in and of itself, but having feminine characteristics when you're a man is, and so is having masculine characteristics when you're a woman. Men should be manly, women should be womanly. Period.

    Stop reading so much into things and stop inventing insults where there aren't any and stop playing the victim. This picture was an insult to Pronger, not an insult to women. Stop reading too much into things and saying that something implies something else when it doesn't.