It’s almost time for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and I am amped. Being a big hockey fan obviously I checked out the rosters for both the men’s and women’s teams and was for the most part, really pleased. We have a strong chance of taking home gold again this year, but no matter what we’re going to see some amazing hockey played at a really high level.
I’ve got my Team Canada mittens already, of course, but I’d really like to buy a jersey – specifically, a women’s jersey but with Sidney Crosby’s name, number, and C on it. Why wouldn’t I? He’s the best player in the world right now. There’s only one problem.
You can’t customize women’s jerseys.
I know. You’re thinking, that can’t be right! but it is. I checked, and double checked, and went to a different store, and no one was offering customization unless you wanted a men’s jersey. And the more I looked, the more I found a real disparity between the offerings in the men’s section versus the offerings in the women’s section no matter which site I was on.
Did you know, for instance, that Canadian Tire doesn’t even have a women’s section? Check out their NHL apparel sub-section:
No wonder girl’s hockey doesn’t get much play. They can’t even get female gear.
Being excluded entirely is unacceptable, but take a look at the alternative on the Hockey Canada shop, where you could, in theory, buy a Team Canada hockey jersey:
I brought this up at work and someone argued that hey, maybe it doesn’t make financial sense for them to sell customized women’s jerseys. Maybe they don’t sell enough.
But how would they know if they never sold them in the first place? My Toronto Maple Leafs jersey is a women’s size. The same goes for my Chicago Blackhawks jersey. Obviously they sell for the NHL.
In the past I’ve taken what was available and not thought twice about it, but I thought surely the Olympics would be different. The ads that Team Canada has put out certainly imply a level of gender equality. It’s when you look at the details that it all falls apart.
Putting a name and number on a women’s cut jersey should cost the same as putting it on a men’s cut jersey. It’s the same process, and all of the details are on the back or above the breast. So what exactly is the argument here for excluding women?
I’d love to hear it, because all I see here is the same kind of gender-bias marketing that infuriates parents in the toy aisles, female gamers who want a new video game, and frankly, women all over the country.
It’s time things changed.
Post-script: A day after my initial complaints on Twitter, @HockeyCanada got back to me and in an email told me that “Unfortunately, the web shop is only set up for men’s jersey sizing.” It’s not an apology, or a promise to do better. It’s not even an acknowledgement of the problem. What it is, though, is an embarrassment to Canada, and Team Canada especially.
Hockey is Canada’s game – unless you’re a woman.
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