Hidden (and not so hidden) biases

Perhaps you saw this post on social media earlier today.

Here is the full story.

In short, female hockey players are coming together to sit out of any professional hockey in North America to better the future of the sport.

It’s no secret that women’s sports take a back seat to men’s. There is more funding, a bigger fan base, greater support.

The trolls will tell you women aren’t as skilled as men (it’s 2019, we should be ashamed that we’re still beating that sorry old drum,) that they don’t sell any tickets to their games and every other dumb reason you can imagine. It’s all the same sorry excuses for ignorance and close-mindedness. It’s embarrassing and it’s infuriating.

But is it all that surprising?

 


Last night, I got into a little Twitter fun among people who know each other only via the app (I’m not sure if that applied to everyone, but it did to me. It all started with someone asking, “how tall do you think I am?” Everyone underestimated the height of the others. I’ve had this experience before and always the guesses are vastly different than my actual height, always shorter. I had to wonder, do we do that because we still envision women being a certain way? Is that deeply ingrained expectation that they are more petite? It could be that we automatically consider the fact that men are, on average, taller than women, but I somehow doubt it. (That women:men height statement was mostly a guess. I don’t know the facts and my work day was too long for me to research it right now.)


I was talking to my friend Lesley today and she was telling me about the book she is reading: ROAR: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Unique Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life. She started to tell me about the interesting things she’s learning and remarked that we never consider where a woman is in her menstrual cycle and how that relates to her physical performance. Instead, for our entire lives, we’ve just accepted hand-me-down information related to health and fitness that was proven out on men’s bodies.

I’m thankful that we’re finally getting some representation in the arena of athletic health and that the women who’ve worked so hard to move women’s hockey forward are getting some attention, too.

It just continues to surprise me how many silent biases we have and if we aren’t paying attention, how easy it would be to not see them coming to light.

Let’s all do better to listen, see and correct the inaccurate stereotypes that we put on ourselves and others.


Note: I searched for a photo to accompany this post and it took me much longer because I didn’t want to use one that included women in international jerseys. If you don’t think women see limitations in hockey, think again.

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