In the early years of sports broadcasts, when CBS, NBC, and ABC ruled the airwaves, networks used a lot of “T & A” to attract and please their mostly male audience. It was most definitely sexist and alienating to female fans.
Sadly, times haven’t changed much since then. Almost every sport has some kind of its own “T & A,” and hockey is no different with its “ice girls” – women who dress in skimpy outfits during breaks of play to remove ice shavings from the area of play. The ice girls serve no other purpose than to be eye candy.
Thankfully, my team of choice – the Chicago Blackhawks – have decided to get rid of the skimpy outfits in favor of normal shirts and shorts. That’s good news, and what’s even better is there hasn’t been any (reported) backlash from fans upset over the change. You can’t say that about Philadelphia fans.
It’s easier for the 38 percent of Blackhawks fans who are women to not watch male or female fans stare at half-naked women during a hockey game. Again, it’s progress, but, honestly, why even have the ice girls? Going even further, why even have cheerleaders at football and basketball games?
I don’t know one person who goes to hockey games for the ice girls. They don’t impact the game in any way, and sports aren’t the time or place for watching barely dressed women cheer. There are plenty of websites that will allow you do that at any time of the day, so it’s not needed at a hockey game or any other sporting event.
It’s the 21st century, and it’s about damn time people understood women watch and enjoy sports, and, more importantly, women deserve to be respected and shouldn’t be used as a marketing ploy to draw heterosexual males to games.
The first professional league that understands and caters to that will make millions.