Author

Tyler Bilton

Date of Award

5-2013

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Charlsye Smith Diaz

Second Committee Member

Scott D. Peterson

Third Committee Member

Mazie Hough

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine hockey's identity, how the game constructs identity, and how the increasing participation of females in hockey in Canada and Turkey is altering identity. Through qualitative research and personal experience it is revealed that in order for hockey and Turkey to modernize, a new male identity needs to emerge that views females as equals and not a threat to their constructed idea of masculinity.

The sport of ice hockey is identified as being Canadian and Canadians identify themselves through hockey. Hockey has given Canadians an imagined community, which is built upon the successes of the men's national hockey teams in international competition. Sports like hockey play and important role in forming gender identity. Hockey is recognized in popular culture as being violent and history reveals that violence has always been a part of hockey. However, the aggressive and physical nature of the sport is inherent and not only reserved to the male side of hockey. The dominating and aggressive behaviour portrayed in the media in men's hockey is what is known as hegemonic masculinity. This hegemonic masculinity is also evident in Turkey's patriarchal culture. Because of this patriarchal culture, women in Turkey are treated poorly with high reports of physical and mental abuse. The poor treatment of women is one of the reasons why Turkey's application into the European Union is being delayed.

But this hegemonic masculinity can be altered and constructed in a different way according to feminist theorists like Simone de Beauvoir, Gloria Anzaldua, and Judith Butler. Women playing ice hockey is a way to change the constructed gender identity. In order to get a current view on women's hockey, women currently playing in Turkey were interviewed. Two players were Canadian and one was Turkish and both provided great current insight into the women's hockey culture in Turkey. While more subjects would have been helpful for this research, constraints with time and finances did not allow enough time to gain the trust of that many participants.

The results of this study revealed that identity is fluid and not permanent and what is portrayed through the media, constructs what our ideas of gender are. The terrible treatment of Women in Turkey is linked to the cultural shift from a patriarchal culture, to a more balanced one between the genders. Hockey is helping give women in Turkey confidence while also altering the traditional identity of femininity. In order for a new male identity to emerge, a new male gaze that recognizes that women are equal and can play hockey is required. This new male gaze is being formed already due to the shift in media coverage of women’s hockey and the participation of women in ice hockey. And from that new male gaze there are already examples of this new male identity emerging, providing hope for continued growth.

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