Article: Autumn Mcdowell – Sports Editor
According to Cherry, females should not be in the locker room
Image source: doncherryjacketwatch.wordpress.com
A female trying to be taken seriously in a heavily male-dominated field is never an easy task, and it is made even harder when influential people in that field publicly put up large barriers against them.
Unfortunately, as a female trying to make a career in sports journalism, this is something that I know all too well.
I started my first sports blog when I was 17 years old, and ever since then I have set a goal for myself to be able to write about hockey for the rest of my life. I have made great strides towards my goal and have been writing about sports professionally for the past four years. I have also been published nationally nine times, and was even given the opportunity to live out my dream and cover two National Hockey League games when the Winnipeg Jets took on both the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins.
But, no matter how tirelessly I work to make my dream a reality, some people still do not believe that women deserve a place in this gentleman’s club.
On April 27, Don Cherry, one of the most recognized figures in the sport of hockey, made my goal of writing about hockey incredibly difficult when he went on record on Coaches Corner on CBC saying that “I don’t believe women should be in the male dressing room”.
After sexist outcries were heard across the country accusing the hockey expert of discriminating against women, on May 1, Cherry attempted to defend himself.
He went on to explain that he felt that what goes on in the locker room is disgusting and women should not be part of it. He also stated that if male reporters aren’t allowed into female dressing rooms, then he sees no reason for females to be in a male locker room.
Cherry’s opinion is nothing new, and it’s nothing that I haven’t heard before. It goes along with the laughs and questionable looks that I receive every time I say that I want to write about hockey.
Many people are probably assuming that I am going to take a feminist stance on what he said and accuse Cherry of being sexist, but that is not my argument.
What Cherry said is not entirely false, and I have seen first hand time and time again the unfair treatment that women are subject to in the press box, and worse, in the locker room.
Women are forced to witness some vulgar and demeaning behaviour in the locker room; however, that should not be a reason for them to not have equal opportunities as their male coworkers.
I think that Cherry needs to hold the players more accountable for their actions. When I was in the Pittsburgh Penguins locker room, I did not ask to be cat called continuously by players, only to turn and see every member of the team fully nude. I also did not ask for any member of the Winnipeg Jets to add me on Facebook and send me a private message saying “Hey :)” the day after I was in their locker room.
If coaches and players decide that females do not belong in the locker room, then males should not be allowed either. I would not have a problem with waiting outside of the locker room to conduct player interviews, but you cannot allow men to get the immediate high emotions of players directly after a game for their stories, while women get the subdued players that have had many minutes to settle down and reflect on what just happened.
While I was upset to hear Cherry’s opinion of the female presence in the locker room, I was not shocked. I know that I will have to continuously work to try to prove that I deserve a job in the sports industry, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I have come to terms with the fact that putting up with sexist remarks, and feeling unwelcome is simply part of the job requirement.