Friday, September 12, 2008

What's Wrong With Calling Yourself a "Hockey Mom"?

Remember the hockey mom/pit bull joke? John McWhorter, a regular in the NY Sun, doesn't get it. His piece yesterday in the Sun tries to understand why Gov. Sarah Palin has to refer to herself as a "hockey mom." He doesn't get why the governor of a state needs to describe herself in terms that remind him of "gym shoes and bag lunches."

Mr. McWhorter, have you ever noticed how we like to bunch people up and refer to them as a group? Have you heard of focus groups? Have you noticed how the media likes to refer to baby boomers or soccer moms (and now hockey moms)? It's human nature. These group monikers are used by the media, Madison Avenue, and R&D departments. And of course, we use them to refer to people and relate to others.

So what's the big deal if Sarah Palin likes to refer to herself as a hockey mom? She spent a few years doing the things many hockey and soccer moms find themselves doing and if it means that more than a few people will relate to her on that level, then all the better. The fact that she's also a sitting governor won't be missed by most hockey and soccer moms; they'll just relate to her experiences as a mom better than those of being a governor. It's just a way to connect to people. That's why it's much more effective than calling yourself a "community organizer" but that's another post...

Mr. McWhorter, the hockey mom/pit bull joke was just that--a joke! As in "HaHa." If you worry too much that women have not come far enough because they commonly refer to their domestic duties, then save your pen for something else. Gov. Palin, like millions of other working moms, manages to accomplish such a diverse list of things that she could call herself many things -- wife, mom, hunter, coach, chauffeur, executive, public official, and now spokesperson and role model. Hockey mom is just one aspect of her life. Mr. McWhorter, lighten up!

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