Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Soccer Moms vs Hockey Moms?

I just finished watching Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican Convention, and noticed all those folks waving home-made "HOCKEY MOMS" posters. Palin calls herself one, and got a big cheer when she told a good joke about this demographic (Q: What's the difference between a hockey mom and a bulldog? A: Lipstick).

Palin proudly proclaims herself to be a "hockey mom" - this is a not so subtle attack on the soccer moms who were much in the news in the presidential elections of the 1990s. In the context of Republican rhetoric, soccer is here being contrasted with hockey, and implicitly cast as the wussy sport (played by immigrants, women, and middle-class liberals). It's a cheap shot - plainly an attempt to cast soccer as a game not played by "real" americans. ARGH. ARGH!!!! There were a thousands things to hate about what Palin said in tonight's frighteningly charismatic speech. But this one, indirect swipe at the beautiful game deserves mention here: Ambivalence about soccer, and those who play it, haunts american political discourse - and betrays the true feelings of such politicians about what I've elsewhere referred to in this blog as el resto del mundo.


  1. Well, for those that think of football as a "wussy sport" here is a funny joke that you can find on t-shirts: "No blood, no foul!"

  2. I think 'hockey mom' is an appeal to younger male voters, not a literal description. The 'soccer mom' demographic actually exists in huge numbers, suburban mothers, and is trending increasingly Democratic. Sexy violent imagery (lipstick, pitbulls) is an appeal to the male demographics. There aren't enough children playing hockey in the US to make difference in electoral poltics but there are enough young males who like sex and wrestling.

    I wouldn't read too much into GOP marketing as a slam against soccer.

  3. Sarah Palin is truly frightening. Am anxious to hear your thoughts on the way gender is playing out with her candidacy...

  4. Palin makes my teeth itch, but I wasn't touched by the Hockey Mom thing... except that it's the stupidest joke I've ever heard. I think her kid just happened to play hockey.

  5. Hi Jennifer,

    I´ll start an videolog on Youtube about brazilian music and football.

    I´ll put cool stuff about Garrincha, rare footages, etc...

    Check out!


  6. Hi Jennifer-
    Wow, this blog is incredible, thank you for your good work. Also, thank you for coming to my birthday party last night, it was nice to see you again.
    Gotta go read more From A Left Wing now...



  7. She calls herself a "hockey mom" because her kids play hockey not soccer. It's pretty damn simple.

  8. uhm. no, it's not "pretty damn simple". if it were, she'd be broadcasting her own past as a track nerd (she loved the sport enough to named her kid track) and basketball player. if it were that simple, you wouldn't have had all those hockey mom signs at the Republican national convention. you would have some flag waving around palin as "track star", in fact - a far more feminist message about not the mom who enables son to play, but the mom who is an athlete herself and raised her kids to be like her. anyway: is hockey the only sport any of her kids ever played? (i know she was a very involved hockey mom, but what about the other kids?) in any case, neither track nor basketball really appeal to her demographic. and, gee, wonder why?


Feedback? Let me know what you think. Just an FYI: all comments posted to this blog are recorded, whether I publish them or not. I do not publish generally hateful comments - whether they be directed at me or at players and teams or other readers. I appreciate reader feedback, especially from those whose contributions add nuance and complexity to the story.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...