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The sex of skates .

One of my jobs is I work at a recreation center as an engineer for the ice plant and run the ice resurfacer aka zamboni . I also work in the skate shop periodicly . It’s a lot of fun playing hockey with the kids and getting to skate and of course I get skates for people who need them .
As a young man growing up on the prairies of Canada Ice hockey was the realm of males all of whom wanted to be great hockey players and they exclusively used hockey skates . Figure skates where worn by females because every girl wanted to be a figure skater and spin and jump and would never want to play hockey of course !?
Well a funny thing happened , it was one of these synchronistic things in the 60’s my mom along with others women decided it was time for women to play this game of hockey . There was hockey played by women in the 30’s and a bit earlier , it was more of a novelty then and with world war 2 women’s ice hockey came to an end . There was a game where women and girls would use these shafts of hockey sticks and push a ring around and play in figure skates called ringette . This of course was not the real game of hockey , ringette was like figure skates it was supposed to exclusively if not condescendingly be for females or effeminate people ( this is a whole other subject ,ok just one name Elvis Stojko) I digress ...
When my mom and other women decided to put on the hockey skates and play this game it was a coupe . Men did there usual “ Oh they are just going to get board of it ’ and “ It’s too physical for them ’ etc. BS. Well the funny thing is from that small synchronistic idea across Canada one winter , womens ice hockey has taken off in the world . Here in Canada where hockey is a religion to many (for good or bad ) women are the best in the world . They don’t play in the men’s NHL yet and not usually with the men at a high level ( some do) but the game the Canadian women play has surpassed the men’s team’s in international play and medals in Canada .
There is a lot of issues in hockey around violence and sex discrimination still , but that was not why I wanted to talk about hockey and skates in particular .You see with skates as I mentioned there are 2 kinds - hockey and figure skates . Hockey skates are far more versatile like runners and figure skates would be like tap shoes . The crazy sexist thing is many men&boys and many women&girls still call figure skates girls skates and hockey skates boys skates . To this day I challenge people when they ask for a pair of boys skates or a pair of girls skates . These people usually get upset that I am making distinctions around the use of the skates and not the sex of the skates . It is amazing how we as people identify with objects to engender each other and ourselves . This is a real place i make some strides to equal rights and equal respect . I often think of those crazy heals( pumps ) women where and if people want to do that fine , but is it necessary ? I will tell you of me wearing a men’s dress ( Polynesian one ) years ago in the hot summer in Canada , another coupe .

Peace ,
Tenbear

Comments

Emily Garcia's picture

Thank you!

Thank you,Tenbear, for challenging assumptions in support of equal rights and equal respect for all. Calling hockey skates boys skates and figure skates girls skates may seem to many like a relatively simple and innocent distinction between the two kinds of skates, but it is such seemingly simple language that helps perpetuate inequality among men and women and boys and girls in our culture. I believe that it's important for us all to reconstruct our dialogue and to evaluate the words we use so that they reflect our values.

Peace,

Emily

Emily Garcia
World Pulse Online Community Lead

Tenbear's picture

true

True ... I find it very weird people complain about racial terms and derogatory meanings yet sexist terms and labels abound . There are no lack of them in this increasingly fundamentalist world of might and fright and political correctness . I could say more but thats one of my problems so I will say thanks and all the best .
Tenbear

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