Noting that even in frigid Alaska, kiddie soccer outnumbers hockey leagues, the Guardian’s Philly-based Steven Wells wonders why GOP Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin has so enthusiastically embraced the “hockey mom” label, while eschewing the Nancy Botwin-esque “soccer mom”. “There remains a brutish, ignorant, xenophobic rump who regard soccer as effete, foreign and profoundly anti-American” writes Wells. Hey, if the Republicans hope to win in November, they’re gonna have to appeal to a wider demographic than Jim Rome and his clones.
Given that in Alaska soccer moms outnumber both the timber wolf and the caribou – what message was Palin trying to send by twisting the stereotype?
“A hockey mom is more American,” says Philadelphia columnist Liz Spikol. “A lot of Americans are suspicious of soccer, and still believe it connotes the foreign. Whereas hockey is as GOP-North American as a fetus on posterboard.”
She has a point. The soccer mom has mutated out of her political pigeonhole. In the lexicon of hipsters looking for an easy bourgeois icon to bash, the soccer mom has become an SUV-driving, road-hogging, sweatpants-wearing, latte-sipping, brat-spewing, strip mall-shopping, suburban folk devil.
In the minds of the effete conservative elite who run the Republican party, the hockey-playing yob who got Palin’s daughter pregnant represents an idealised form of American masculinity – unthinking, brutish, willfully ignorant, easy to manipulate, unquestioningly patriotic, proudly reactionary, quick to respond to any perceived threat with overwhelming violence – and very unlikely to ever vote Democrat. Or – by extension – play soccer.