Dave Bolland, master of gender roles.
Just 37 seconds into Blackhawks Live at Harry Caray’s presented by The Village at Bedford Park, host Dave Kaplan referred to Henrik and Daniel Sedin as “sisters”.
So there’s another wannabe jock making sexist remarks supposedly at the expense of the Sedins, but really, against the entire female population, but what was surprising about this interview was later on, at 29:01, when one of the hosts, Andrea Darlas, asked Dave Bolland the following. Bolland’s response is italicized:
“If the Sedins become Hawks, will they still be sisters?”
“Well first of all, they’ll never become Hawks. I don’t think we’ll let them on our team. That’d probably be one thing. We’d be sure not to let them on our team. And, yeah, they probably still would be sisters. I think they might sleep in, like, bunk beds. The older one’s got the bottom one, the younger one’s got the top. So… I don’t know.”
I get it, Mr Bolland. Women are inferior, and the Sedins are inferior, so they must be women, or like women. Whether or not this question was asked by a female host is beyond the point. I got a lot of response over Twitter from both male and female perspectives that this segment was sexist and unnessesary. It was also unfunny.
Between hard-hitting questions such as “What’s your favourite Christmas carol” and “What’s your least favourite Christmas carol,” Kaplan, Darlas, and Brian Noonan on WGN Radio 720 “The Voice of Chicago” “brought to life the hot topics of the day in the sports world and beyond” and showed the cast of the late-night talk-radio show as totally willing to propagate a sexist farce. The hosts had already established this tone of ignorance and were simply trying to set Bolland up with a soft ball that would allow him to show off his sparkling sense of humour. Sadly, since he doesn’t really seem to have one, all he came up with was “they might sleep in, like, bunk beds.” Cool burn!
Other than the obvious fact that no one in their right mind (including Stan Bowman) would “not let [the Sedins] on [their] team,” there’s the unavoidable reality that: the Sedins live separately. Daniel lives with his wife Marinette and Henrik with his wife Johanna, both couples live happily in different neighborhoods with different children.
For me, here’s the rub: frequent references about the twins’ being female because of their perceived softness isn’t positive for us as a culture, or for hockey as a sport. But sadly it’s all too common, especially for skilled players. Penguins star Sidney Crosby is often dubbed “Cindy,” and frequent references to Gretzky’s possessing a uterus to go along with his elite puck skills and unrivaled hockey sense, have been made over the years.
The Sedins have been called Thelma and Louise by Mike Milbury. The Bobbsey Twins by Don Cherry. And this lingering insult that has stuck with the Sedins since their rookie season, the even more egregiously sexist “sisters” crack, must only be funny to those who discovered the joke at about the same time they discovered hockey.
This is pretty simple: it disparages women to infer they are like the Sedins, because the Sedins are soft. Giving the twins feminine epithets is just regressive, tone-deaf and unfunny. It’s something so obvious, it doesn’t need to be pointed out, but I do feel as if Canuck Army and our particularly strong group of female readers and fans, need to continue to speak up about this. We need to be clear that this isn’t within the tasteful limits of “light-hearted” sports media banter. It’s unacceptable, and it’s unacceptable whether it’s being said on Chicago’s airwaves, or on Vancouver’s airwaves – because make no mistake, the “Sedin sisters” crack started in Vancouver.
We like to joke around a lot on the Internet, but we generally like to avoid references about players’ race, sexual orientation, or gender. It starts with the athletes themselves, but media and fans can set an example by no longer accepting discussions about sports that include throw away insults like ‘sister’ ‘homo’ ‘fairy’ or any other word intended to disparage a professional athlete by bringing down an entire group of people. At the end of the day, you’re just alienating your own fanbase.
Smarten up, Dave Bolland.
Also, Kevin Bieksa ought to smarten up too. In the Canucks’ response to Bolland, the Canucks defenseman said “I think [Bolland] looks more like a girl than [the Sedins] do.”
That’s not cool, either.