Women in locker rooms: different arguments

Hi! My name is Yahong, I'm a lady and I like to get on my soapbox sometimes. Here I wanted to address the arguments being made for keeping women reporters out of locker rooms.

1.It is uncomfortable for men to have women in the locker room.
This is a valid argument. Realistically, though, hockey players are comfortable with their bodies. Realistically, this is not the real argument being made when people argue that women should not be in locker rooms. If hockey players as a whole rose up and stated, “We do not feel comfortable with being semi-dressed while women are in the room”, then it is possible that this would become a real issue. However, I really do not believe this is the argument. Instead, the argument is…

2.Women should not “have to” see/be submitted to/receive bad behaviour from men in the locker room.
Yes! Indeed! I agree with this! But I do not agree with the proposed solution. The solution is NOT to keep women away. The solution is for men to treat these circumstances in a mature way. Women reporters go into these situations fully aware of the potential awkwardness/embarrassment/touchiness, and as reporters, they are professionally not focusing on it; they have a job and a deadline, for cripes’ sake. They couldn’t care less about the size of your penis. Hockey players should meet them halfway: don’t exacerbate the situation by drawing attention to it. Acknowledge it, then leave it alone, because if the women can act professionally, then you should too.

Basically, bottom line: the problem isn’t women reporters. It’s how male hockey players react to those women reporters. AND YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR REACTIONS. Do not even attempt to say “it’s an elementary thing”. No. I will have to punch you.

3.You wouldn’t want a male reporter in a female dressing room, would you?
Okay, let’s establish something. You’re spouting this argument to say: the situation is inacceptable reversed, so why is it okay in the original way? In essence, you’re drawing on a bit of a “this is sexism” argument while comparing these two issues.

Well, heads up. This issue is ONLY comparable to women in male locker rooms if in both cases you are arguing “it is uncomfortable for the one gender to have the opposite gender in the locker”. It is NOT comparable to women in male locker rooms if you are arguing “the one genders should not have to see bad behaviour from the opposite gender”. Why? Because the bad behaviour in both cases is attributed to the male gender.

I’ll break it down further. In the original case (women in men’s locker rooms), the argument is that women should not be subjected to vulgarities such as half-dressed men because they’re delicate or sensitive or classy or just because there should be divides between the genders, I don’t know. In the second case (men in women’s locker rooms), the argument is that half-dressed female sports players should not be exposed to men because… women are or should be more prudish.

Do you see how these two arguments are not equal? The stakeholders do not flip when you flip the situations. In an equal situation, the stakeholders would flip.

In case this still doesn't make sense, I’ll explain how the two argument would be equal. The original argument is women should not be subjected to vulgarities such as half-dressed men for some reason. The equal argument for the second would be: men should be not be subjected to vulgarities such as half-dressed women. That would be the equivalent of the original argument

But since it isn’t, then you cannot use the two arguments to prove each other.

Obviously, nobody thinks the second. People don’t think that men are going to be offended or harassed by half-dressed women; people think that the half-dressed women are going to be offended or harassed by the men. In the opposite way, people don’t think that half-dressed men are going to be offended or assaulted by women; people think that the women are going to be offended or harassed by the half-dressed men.

What does this mean? It means that in both cases, societal notions of what is acceptable in regards to gender factor in very heavily. The male is viewed as less prudish; the female is viewed as more delicate; and if you, like Don Cherry, don’t think there is a middle ground, well then, the only solution is to keep the susceptible women away from the men.

Let me finish off by linking to this solid anecdotal article from The Globe and Mail about one female reporter’s experience in the locker rooms. What I want you to take away from it is this: the problem wasn’t in how she, the female reporter, handled all the omg scandalous nekkidness. The problem was in how the male sports players treated her: drawing attention to her gender, making sexist jokes and disrespecting her in general. (Unless they were Martin Brodeur. I’ve always felt like he was a classy guy. Glad to get my notions confirmed.)

So what am I saying? I’m saying that for f*ck’s sake, women want to be sports journalists too, and to do that, we’re willing and able to be professional about nudity. It’s up to the male sports player to start taking it in stride, too, and stop using non-equivalent arguments to back up your thesis.

Now, if you are genuinely uncomfortable about your body around the other gender, we can discuss that, because that is a valid argument. But you’re probably not a sports player, then.


This FanPost was written by a member of the Silver Seven community, and does not necessarily reflect the beliefs or opinions of the site managers, editors, or Sports Blogs Nation, Inc.

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