I am not a hockey mom

And if you try to define my political views by my children's sports teams, I'll shoot a puck at your face.

Published September 30, 2008 6:55PM (EDT)

I just stumbled across a piece in the Guardian that, like many political articles these days, pissed me off. Its title? "Hockey Moms Are Key Players in Hunt for Women's Vote."

Putting aside the mixed metaphor (Are we playing hockey? Or hunting for caribou?), here is what really irritates me: Our incessant need to divide women into mom-based voting blocs. Hockey moms -- they're the new soccer moms. (And let's not forget the so-called security moms of the 2004 race.) Why couldn't we consider the idea that maybe, just maybe, women make political decisions based on more than the identification they feel with their children's sports teams? And if we're going to insist on doing so, why can't the fathers get involved as well? Where, I ask, are the cheerleader dads? The hockey pops?

I suppose the bigger point behind these expressions, though, is that by being a "hockey mom," Sarah Palin is one of us -- by which I mean not just the mothers of the 350,000 or so hockey-playing children in the United States (which makes me question why the article claims that hockey moms "could well decide this election"), but anyone who is balancing multiple responsibilities. That includes working mothers, hockey moms or anyone else, male or female, who is juggling two lives. But as I've mentioned before, I just don't get Americans' fixation on picking a president based on whether he or she is "one of us" -- a preference often defined as the person with whom we'd rather share a beer (or, in the case of one of Palin's fans quoted by the article, a cup of coffee). I, for one, do not want to chat with the president of the United States at a happy hour. I do not want to bond over half-price Buffalo wings. I want the president (or vice president) to be leading the free world.

But maybe that's just me.

By Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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