Monday, February 02, 2009

In defense of the game: A new gay slur

A story that has been overshadowed by the Super Bowl and other events this week is one that involves the coming -- and going, we hope -- of a new term that denigrates gays in the interest of protecting the time-honored ritual of fighting in the NHL. The CBC's "Hockey Night" commentator Mike Milbury used the word "pansification" to describe how the NHL would be softened should the league heed calls to ban the practice. After protest, the CBC has finally stepped in and banned use of the word.
It's good the term has been removed as an option for CBC commentators (although under protest, unfortunately). But the bigger issue remains unchallenged: Assumptions about masculinity, sports and sexuality that continue to privilege the "tough guy" in sports -- contricting culturally acceptable behavior for men and women and encouraging prejudice.


Michael Krahn said...

What Egale Canada has done is re-entered this word into the lexicon of homophobic derogatory terms. For the most part, it had dropped off the radar as a homophobic slur - something we should all have been happy about.

Now, it’s back on the radar, and those inclined to use homophobic slurs have another weapon in their arsenal.

More here:

Number 1 Fan said...

I stumbled onto this blog after a request by a student for an interview about sports bloggers. I like much of what was written and maybe my viewpoint is a little different but, I don't see the comment in question as being homophobic. I think by your categorization of that word you are stereotyping homosexual people as weak. There are some incredible gay athletes who would probably agree that by taking away the contact and physicality that distinguishes their sport you are making it a little more "delicate", a word used to describe the flower. I know that there were times, like the 1500's, where this term has been used as a slur to effeminate males, but I think like many words the definition and understanding has changed over time.