All sports have them, says every fan.
Now what exactly one means by saying “them”, is clearly always going to be up for a heated debate. It could mean “them” in a derogatory manner, or just “them” as a distinct group of people. In our present situation, let’s shift to the NHL for a moment. “Them” is commonly referred to as a “Puck Bunny”. What exactly is a puck bunny? I assure you that they are no special breed of rabbit, in this country or the next.
I enjoy browsing Russian Machine Never Breaks, a website dedicated to the Washington Capitals and ran by the most personable hockey fans around, and today, there was a new tweet in the tweet-box.
Peter Hassett of RMNB released a video about six hours ago on Tumblr, and it has since reached over 290 notes at this time. In his two and a half minute shpeal about the postings of Sports Illustrated, the general opening statement was voiced as:
“The term ‘puck bunny’ is a derogatory term for a female hockey fan. It objectifies, and sexualizes women. It dehumanizes them. It says you’re not a real hockey fan. You are instead a puck bunny.”
He further goes on to state why people reason, generally, that’s it is alright to use such expressions, simply because one can and has the “privilege” of doing so. However, having viewed the video several more times, something that I never pondered of until I watched the video, he alleged a phrase that really stood out to me. “They objectify, they sexualize women, sports fans, presumably their own audience, for page views.”
“Hockey doesn’t belong to Sports Illustrated, and it doesn’t belong to anyone cruel enough to wield the term “puck bunny” to bully others. Hockey is for everyone.” is a nice way to close out his video, while offering up an opinion to contemplate.
Earlier yesterday afternoon, before his video, there was a photo gallery published on SI.com, which featured 34 different photos from around the league. If I had to summarize that newly-released feature, I would honestly call it nothing shy of mediocre; surely one person fell to the point of simply going onto insertteamnamehere.nhl.com, hunting in photo galleries on said team’s website, finding images that merely had a female in the shot. Heaven forbid they have a sign in their hand.
I myself don’t know about you, but I took a gaze through that album and was appalled. I don’t want to give my opinion on every single image, but that ones that really bothered me, I’d like to share. Let’s start with the birthday ones. There were five images in this album, and I cannot see anything detrimental in a single one of them.
This one has a girl asking for a kiss and a puck for her 21st birthday. She looks like a good kid who didn’t sneak out of her parent’s house or stay out every night while at university. Plus, I can in all conscience tell you she’d be thrilled if she got a puck. Generalizing is immoral. Do you think Sports Illustrated cares about what the signs honestly mean? I don’t believe they do. One hint at a minour innuendo and you are characterized, again, ‘Puck Bunny’. Here again, these adolescents are just kids and labeling them under an offensive term is disrespectful. One girl looks possibly ecstatic to be at the game. Every single sign that fans make, are for fun. That’s the point. For the fans to interact, minimally, with the players before the game, to give the team hope, and to show their faith and support. What a crime that has turned into.
Women as such at any hockey game might be mothers who have children, who love the game, who want to be there to support their team. You begrudging these women who show no indication of foul play, and is what truly releases irritation in people, upon seeing such posts of material. Sports Illustrated has no ground, and I’d almost believe that this was released as a joke. Were I an editor for SI.com, that such content, out of respect for the women, would never grace the archives.
True passion, one really cannot express. We all have our own sentiments on what we consider hockey is, what is acceptable to do, and whether that call was unfitting or not. You hear it a million times every evening. Whether it is scoring a goal, cheering on your favourite player with your friends, or welcoming back old faces, there’s no boundary to how one attentions a team. It shouldn’t matter what gender you are.
Disregarding the fact that I hate it when people use Я as an actual R, it was kind of amusing. Alexander Ovechkin is Russian, as we all know, so there is a tiny bit of logic behind it. However barely there, it’s definitely the thought that counts, and the simplicity is what makes the idea a sweet guesture.
There are two photos that really tear at me, for being on that website, in that section, under that name. I have a friend who is from Buffalo, and adores the Sabres. We don’t see eye-to-eye during Dallas and Buffalo games for obvious reasons, but I would not trade her for anything. You click next on that little picture album, and this comes up. Does that girl even look remotely like she wants to bed one of the players? At this point, I could simply presume that the editor was running late on a deadline and looking for something, anything, to throw up before ending up running around looking like a chicken with their head cut off.
This image in particular, is what drew my attention to this whole disaster in the first place. I know all three of those girls on Tumblr/Twitter/wherever else you want to name, and I can personally say that those three are not ‘Puck Bunnies’. Maybe that brands me biased, and not even distressing about ups-and-downs, do they look like they are at the hockey game for their health? When one of them completed the posters, and it took two or three red and blue pencils, it doesn’t look like the work of someone who doesn’t love their team.
Washington was indeed going through a low period, and they showed to “Rock The Red”, ultimately. I consider those words extremely rude when each female who brings a sign to a game, is called such a term that could equivocate to calling someone a “whore.” Forget all facts, let’s assume everything. Who knows, maybe some of these girls aren’t even from this country, but came to support their team.
Yes, there are a few girls out there, if you continue through the album, who probably should have rethought their methods. That is their decision, but refracting that opinion on everyone seems fairly narrow-minded to me. You can’t convince many to wear bright orange lipstick and dress as such; not everyone can be clumped together. Even this one is worth the effort. She even admitted that she knew it wasn’t perfect. But I see a very broad difference between a few of these women, and the rest. The rest is that majority who is acting like every other hockey fan that I have ever come to know: resembling a deep love for their team.
I had the opportunity to attend the Tampa Bay vs. Washington game at the St. Pete Times Forum, back in February, and officially met(she has been beating me in our fantasy league all season) this particular lady. She was older, sitting there in her jersey, waiting for warm-ups to start. We still had about an hour to go, but she was excited until the very last second, and then became even more enthusiastic. Surely she is not a puck bunny for loving the Lightning. Who does anyone think they are to have such rights, as to be hurtful?
One could find it hard to believe that it would be fair to categorize every female out there as those women. That offends me, but I don’t care because I know who I am, and what I like. However, there are girls out there who despise being referred to as this. I am a girl who likes hockey, and some of my closest friends are guys who like hockey. We watch it together, discuss it in class, and have fun. As one girl wrote:
“If girls are “puck bunnies” then guys are “stick rabbits.”
If you are going to call them rude names, then those puck bunnies play the same game back? What happened to sitting in the living room with your friends and family, everyone cheering for one team or the other, and just having fun? Simply because there is not that kind of discrimination; it is not necessary to enjoy the game. Hockey is a game, and it is meant to be enjoyed. It was not designed to be a political playground.
Yes, I used the term discrimination in that, because that is exactly what this is. Now, it’s hard to rage this whole war against Sports Illustrated, and you can’t take the issue up with every person out there who uses the term. Sometimes, however, a little light on any situation can be helpful. So when people approach this sensitive subject, it is hard to tread without even sneezing in someone’s general direction, but maybe give a little thought before you bring upon harsh words. They really do sting.