PRT: The Philly Roller Girls Have Gone Gender-Neutral
This, is maybe the most ridiculous press release I’ve ever received. To the PRT!
No Longer Girls: Philly Roller Derby Rolls Into 2015
10th Season Redefines the Future with Gender Neutral Moniker
To say I am giddy about what follows would be an understatement.
Philadelphia, PA: Today, Philly Roller Derby (PRD) is proud to announce the decision to drop the gender-specific ‘girls’ from the league’s namesake. General Manager, Joe Salenetri said, “As our league and the sport of roller derby continue to grow, it has become evident that identifying as ‘roller girls’ may feel exclusionary to some in our community.” The change comes at a perfect time; founded in 2005, PRD is about to begin their 10th season.
Look, let’s call this what it is, roller derby is not a sport– it’s, at best, a physical event two steps above being a Wingette and one step above riding the mechanical bull at Xfinity Live!. Just a quick search on the Roller Girls – er, Derby – site uncovers matches between teams with names like Lehigh Valley Special Vixens Unit (awesome, by the way) and Heavy Metal Hookers. If we feel the need to not be exclusionary, maybe we should start with the team names and work backwards from there, otherwise those in the community who are not assaulted call girls will start to feel left out.
Many skaters in the league have no reservations about the update, and believe it’s more representative of the roller derby community in Philadelphia.
“Girls” did seem like a bit of a stretch in some cases.
Heavy Flo, who joined PRD in 2008, is in favor of the revision.
Wait, wait, wait– we’re dropping “girls” from the name of a league that includes a skater named Heavy Flo, who, it seems, used to play for a team called The Steel Vaginas? OK, just checking.
“We are comprised of women, men, young adults, and children,” she said. “We are athletes that should be recognized beyond our gender, but rather for our sport.” Her sentiment is echoed by fellow skater, Castro, who has been with the league since its inception in 2005 and seen the evolution of the sport: “Simply put, our organization is not just a group of girls. We are a collective of people who tirelessly work to bring the empowering sport of roller derby to our fair city.”
And if you want to join the collective, you’ll have to participate in tryouts dubbed the “fresh meat training program.”
PRD will undergo a rebrand to accommodate the change, but not to worry – the iconic Liberty-Bell-roller-skate logo will not otherwise be impacted. Regarding future changes to the league, Salenteri noted, “A name change is just one step in creating a welcoming and safe environment for all of our current and future members.”
I’m sorry, I don’t have anything for that last one. I got too distracted watching what has to be the lowest moment of Gregg Murphy’s career… and this is a guy who was on the broadcast team for the 2014 Phillies:
They’ll always be the Roller Girls. To me, anyway.