March 8, International Women’s Day, follows very shortly after the closing of the Olympic Games in Sochi. And what a wonderful Games it was for our Canadian women athletes. In fact, we can celebrate the fact that our women held their own during those Games and captured even more GOLD medals (6 medals) than the men did (4 medals).
I’m not writing this piece to gloat about women’s achievements over men. Actually, I’m writing it because I’m dismayed with the media and their inability to create heroines, though they are mightily adept at creating heroes.
International Women’s Day is a day meant to examine the status of women around the world, and how we can improve gender equality at home and away.
In Canada, as a nation, we were glued to our television screens to watch our Canadian women come from behind after a USA 2-0 lead in the closing minutes of their game. With skill and sheer determination, these women won gloriously in overtime. They were our modern day "warriors" fighting to defend our nation’s hockey supremacy.
When these players took off their protective helmets it was sweet to see the pearl earrings, traces of eyeliner, and ponytails—the signs of their femininity that ten minutes earlier were hidden in their fierce fight for the puck and opportunities to score.
For a day they were our darlings, our heroines, beautifully feted on TV and in newspapers, and then the media’s attention quickly shifted to the men’s playoff for GOLD.
The hype leading up to the game was incredible. Though we had to get up at dawn on a Sunday morning, lights were on in homes all over Canada. Sports bars across the country were given the license to serve booze at 7:00 in the A.M. and they were filled to overflowing with faithful fans. We were going to watch our heroes, the Canadian Men’s Hockey Team fight for the puck with Sweden. When our team won handily, Twitter and Facebook erupted with jubilation. It was a well-deserved victory for a beautifully played game. And, as an aside, it was interesting for me to note that the Swedes when they were down by two goals did not play with half the ferocity that our women did when it was called for.
Fast forward to the next day when I picked up my Globe and Mail newspaper. There, in living colour, was a full-blown, two-page poster of our Canadian heroes—the guys who brought the GOLD home.
No matter that these guys are professionals that during the year are paid millions to play hockey. These are not sport amateurs hopefully coming to the Olympics for recognition. These heroes earn millions for doing what they do best—play hockey—and I in no way minimize their victory.
Yet, wouldn’t it have been a coup for the Globe and Mail to shift their attention to the women, our heroines, and a poster of them? Why not put aside the testosterone-laden accolades? Let’s give little girls (and bigger ones, too) something more to celebrate than princesses, bikinis, and red carpets.
We need heroines for our female youngsters to emulate. Maybe on International Women’s Day we’ll see a full section in the Globe and Mail on all the Canadian women who represented us so beautifully in Sochi. That would be something that mothers across Canada would definitely celebrate. That’s something I, as a grandmother would love to see on teens’ walls beside their One Direction and Katy Perry posters.
P.S. Not to just single out the Globe and Mail that otherwise offered excellent coverage of the 2014 Games—the Toronto Star also erred in a very questionable way during the 2006 Olympics. In that year, when the men's hockey team didn't win GOLD, the paper's front page headline was, "What's wrong with Team Canada?" The next day, the women's hockey team did win GOLD. Did they get the front page headline? No, the Star gave it to sexually perverted murderer, Paul Bernardo. I rest my case.
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