Talking with Dana D’Angelo: Hockey & Feminism

Boys are naturally more athletic than girls. They are built bigger, they are physically stronger, right? While this may be generally true, the importance we, as a society, place on men’s physicality should be debunked. Women, pertaining to athletics, are considered less than men in athletics. The amount of time I heard “I can’t watch girls playing soccer. It’s so boring,” in my life as a soccer player is asinine. I accepted it then, nodded and even agreed. (Hey, I was young and too busy impressing boys to question what people said.) This is a societal norm we grow up with, and we always think norms are true until we realize they’re not. Some people may still believe this, but the issue that has been getting more attention over the past few years is trying to debunk those disbelievers. Should girls be allowed to play on boy sport’s teams? If so, what ages are appropriate for co-ed teams?

My female cousin, Tina, played little league football for our township growing up. She is a football fanatic to this day, and she played because she wanted to. Two years later, she stopped playing, but not because she didn’t enjoy it. Rather, she saw that she would never be taken seriously on the field, because she played football like a girl.

This led me to look at sports at Rowan, and I found something that struck my interest. Dana D’Angelo, 23, played on the Rowan Women’s Ice Hockey team her last two years of school. This team was recently formed in the last three years. I’d never heard of a women’s ice hockey team, so I was curious. Generally, ice hockey is thought of as a tough macho-man sport, because it is tough, and it is one of, if not the only sport, (I know of at least) that allows physical altercations. My family is full of huge Flyer’s fans, and I’ve often heard that hockey is the toughest sport. (Obviously people may agree or disagree. I don’t really think about it enough to put my opinion out there.)

(Dana D’Angelo, above, sent me this photo after the interview.)

I was curious about how she felt playing a sport that is considered tough (for men, which is basically twice as tough for women, you know?), and although it was not a co-ed team, it is still considered a masculine activity.

She was eager to answer my questions, and I am just as eager to share them with you.

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(Dana, to the left, sent me this photo.)

 Q: When was the Rowan’s Women’s Ice Hockey team founded? I’ve never heard of it before.

A: “My junior year my teammates Laura and Rachael, who have been playing ice hockey for awhile decided to start the women’s team. They started recruiting other girls and then there was 10. Some who played in the past and some who have never held a stick or were [never] on the ice besides falling down on it.”

Q: What were the responses of family and friends when you started playing?

A: “The type of responses that I received when I told people I was playing were very supportive. I came from playing roller derby which was rough and hard and looked at as ‘a lesbian sport,’ even though it was mostly married women with kids and just me. So I was used to being looked at as playing a rough and crazy sport.”

Q: What were the games like? Generally speaking, what was the energy like at the games?

A: “It was awesome to have friends come out and watch the games, and see how tough us women can be out on the ice, and that it’s not just intertwining when we play.”

Q: What do you mean by that last part? Can you expand on that a little bit?

A: “Of course. I mean, we had a team full of girls who could kill it on the ice and then go out in a dress to a bar after if we wanted, and kill it at the bar.”

Q: Being a male dominated sport, did you ever feel like you were being judged by anyone?

A: “I didn’t feel like I was being judged by anyone, but if they were I probably just didn’t even care to notice. After taking the big step to come out in high school, I never cared about what people thought of me. I just wanted to do what made me happy.”

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(Dana sent me these photos after the interview. She is to the far right. They won the championship her senior year.)

Girls are just as “tough” as boys both physically and mentally. As for co-ed teams, I think they are necessary for youths, but I am not sure where I fall in the spectrum after a certain age. I think it’s important to note that just because men are thought of as tougher than females, we can be just as tough. The creating of this hockey team goes to show that gender norms are shifting, and people aren’t as likely to fall into one category or the other, but they can allow themselves to be anything they want to be, female or male. Down with gender norms!

Until next time!

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