Don’t Ask Me, I’m Just A Girl

In the offseason, the New York Rangers put out the word that they were looking for fans to generate content for their site.

Friday afternoon, the debut of that content got off to a start almost as ignominious as the team’s start to the season with a submission entitled, “A Girl’s Guide To Watching The Rangers”.

The article started out innocuous enough, with the writer, Mirna Mandil, mentioning her disinterest in a football game that was on television while she was at a gathering. Fair enough, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

The third paragraph turned to the male obsession with the Rangers:

And if you live in New York and have one of the aforementioned male figures in your life, then chances are you can’t avoid their obsession with the Rangers. The fact that every single one of the guys watching this football game was wearing a Rangers jersey is a true testament to the loyalty of a Rangers fan. It’s not just a phase. It’s not just an obsession. It’s a Rangers lifestyle.

I can get on board with that. I went to a Super Bowl party last year in my Rangers jersey because I went there straight from a game at Madison Square Garden. I wear Rangers items year-round. But wait, did she say this “lifestyle” is a guy thing? Huh …

The fourth paragraph then began with the sentence:

News of the NHL lockout’s end caused as much excitement in the male world as a 70 percent off sale does in a woman’s.

Hooo boy. I got as excited about the end of the lockout as I would about a 70% off sale. Actually, probably moreso. Is that not allowed because I have two X chromosomes? Can I only get excited about one? Where does that leave me? Which do I choose?

Negative comments on the site and Twitter ridicule led to the removal of the article and a deletion of the tweet containing the link.

Look, all of us who either play the game or sit on the sidelines and cheer for a team had to learn the nuances of the game somehow. I fell in love with the sport of hockey (and the Rangers) because my grandfather would watch them on Channel 9 when I’d go to my grandparents’ home for Saturday night dinner. I didn’t care if I had no clue what icing or offsides were, I just picked it up as I watched. There’s nothing wrong with someone asking what’s happening. Had this article been entitled something like “Rangers For Dummies” or “The Non-Indoctrinated’s Guide To Watching The Rangers,” the reaction today might not have been so angry. Once gender came into play – and what amounted to the pigeonholing of women as utterly clueless about sports (in this case by a female) – it became a whole different ball – er, hockey game.

Personally, I’ve been pretty fortunate to be taken seriously as a fan. Not every woman is though. Intentional or not, articles like this one written by Ms. Mandil and things such as  ”While The Men Play” that the CBC subjected the world to last spring and Cosmopolitan’s “hot hockey players list” that just recently came out play into perpetuating stereotype that women who hang around the sport are nothing more than clueless puck bunnies. It does no favors to the many women out there who love the game and know as much – if not more – than many men out there.

Mysogynistic tone of the article aside I’m still scratching my head as to why the powers that be at thought publishing it on that site made sense. It’s essentially a fansite run by the New York Rangers and if you’re going there for content, you probably know what Carl Hagelin is doing with the puck, the difference between Ryan Callahan, Michael Del Zotto and Marc Staal and just who Henrik Lundqvist is and all of his achievements.

On so many levels the New York Rangers completely missed the boat with “A Girl’s Guide To Watching The Rangers.” From the little girls going to their very first game to the season ticket holders like myself and the women who have the seats next to mine, all of the ladies that support the team deserved better than this.


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About the Author: Likes: Hockey, the New York Rangers, King Henrik, singing the Rangers goal song, "The Save", the sound skates make against ice, heckling Marty Brodeur. Dislikes: 3-point games, front-office mismanagement, Denis Potvin, overpriced arena beer. Interested? Follow me on Twitter: @CC_927

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  1. Dave says:

    Preach on! I know plenty of women who know just as much or more about the blueshirts, and hockey in general, as men do. The seats are filled with them. They aren’t doing themselves any favors by alienating part of their customer base, especially in light of them already having pissed most of us off already with the lockout.