The most annoying response I could anticipate getting when telling someone I’m a hockey fan is the dreaded, “oh really?”, followed by a series of detailed questions and trivia I must answer in order “prove myself” as being a real fan.
I never anticipated myself becoming a huge fan of a sport, I’ve always thought sports fans were a bit over dramatic and annoying. But in the past few years I’ve found myself falling in love with the NHL and it’s developed into a bit of an obsession. I get more notifications from sports apps than I do from actual people, my evening schedule surrounds around what games are playing that night, and I’ve actually cried over a player getting traded to a different team. I have become that over dramatic and annoying fan.
But I fully embrace it and, for the most part, love the community. Social media has introduced me to millions of other fans and connections, allowing me to hear other opinions and discuss “boring” subjects, such as Auston Matthew’s shoulder injury, with as much vigor and excitement as I want. But when I go on forums or Twitter threads, I usually go on using a separate account rather than my personal one. As soon as I enter a conversation with my profile picture showing me, a teenage girl who enjoys makeup and cute clothes, my opinion is automatically less valued than if I were anonymous. That’s why, for the most part, I remain anonymous in discussions.
The sports world is completely driven toward men. If you’ve spent as much time watching the NHL Network as I have, you’d know that the majority of the commercials on the channel are for hair loss products and Viagra. Advertisements usually reflect the projected audience so obviously they don’t have teenage girls in mind when putting them together. This inequality doesn’t bother me but the exploitation of women does. Broadcasts usually consist of a graying old man and a beautiful young women in a tight dress. Between periods and commercial breaks, “ice girls” scantily clad in tiny skirts and low cut tops clean the ice and shovel off the melted bits. It’s irritating that to these broadcasters, women aren’t seen as a possible audience but rather as things for the audience to look at.
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