For all the substantial progress of feminism, the larger culture is still awash in portrayals of women that hew closely to the long-standing stereotypes, that push us to think about ourselves in terms of our attractiveness, our sexual appeal, our fashion sense, our youth, etc etc. These issues intrude, one way or another, into almost every facet of life- into our work and the beers after, into our family life and our relationships, into our education. There is always someone critiquing our bodies or our style. There is always someone trying to sell us a miracle skin cream or a pair of shoes or fucking yogurt or whatever on the grounds that it will make us more acceptably and attractively feminine. Now, we’re adults and we can handle it, but sometimes, frankly, the cultural stereotypes of heteronormative femininity are a pain in the ass. Sometimes one gets pretty fucking tired of being appreciated, shamed, warned, and appealed to ‘as a woman’.
This is a fantastically written piece, and while it’s specifically about hockey and the CBC’s new (and shamefully sexist) “While the Men Watch” broadcasts, it sums up how I feel about things like Baseball Boyfriend and the Victoria’s Secret cross-branding with MLB to a tee. People like Greg Papa have jobs and get to make face noise at me on my television on the regular, but Jaymee Sire and Susan Slusser barely get any attention. I can buy this or this but not a shirt or jersey of any past Giants great in women’s sizes. Meanwhile I can take my pick of Bonds, Clark, Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, Marichal, Snow, Kent, Aurilia (and probably more I’m forgetting) if I’m willing to buy a men’s size that will never quite fit the way I want to because hey, sorry, I do have tits and am not 6’ tall. Continue reading
I’ve written and trashed, started and re-started, edited and tweaked and changed angles on what I’m about to write probably fifteen times in the past week and a half or so, and it’s still not quite right. I’ve accepted that this is hard for me to write and decided to just put it out there in the best form I think I can muster right now, because I’d rather say something imperfectly than say nothing.
Tuesday a week ago (February 7th, to be clear) I was, as is pretty normal for me right now, doing some pre-season baseball research and bantering back and forth with my usual gang of Twitter compatriots when someone, I can’t even remember who exactly, came across the nearly hilariously misogynist “fantasy baseball for girls” disgrace Baseball Boyfriend (I’m not directly linking because screw them, I don’t want to give them the traffic, but you can Google if you’re that curious and somehow missed the kerfuffle). There was an initial furor, which quickly turned into some giggle fits that left me snorting my afternoon Diet Pepsi, but, as the day wore on and the news of the California Proposition 8 appeal ruling broke, I saw a few people (actually mostly women) who seemed to think that the people who were aggravated by women being treated as if baseball needed to be more like some middle school sleepover game to be interesting to them needed to be quiet and pay attention to the “real” issues in the world. The sentiment bothered me at the time, but I wasn’t quite sure why. I mean, on the surface, it’s a reasonable enough thing. Who cares about some silly fantasy baseball game whose target audience is clearly not me or most of my friends when there is real injustice to be fought? But still, it bothered me. Continue reading
Filed under feminism, rants
“Women fans only talk about looks.”
“Don’t be such a cleat chaser!”
“So you like baseball because of some guy, right?”
“You just think that/like that player/like that team because he/they are cute!”
Over the weekend I found myself, yet again, in the middle of having to defend the honor of female baseball fans against claims that we only want to talk about looks and derail the conversation to go to superficial places, only this time I was given the oh-so-fun challenge of doing so to another woman. Yep, this was not an unfortunately clueless male this time but in fact multiple women who were quick to throw our entire gender under the proverbial bus.
I sat there somewhat dumbfounded for a few minutes as I tried to process just where this type of “eat your own young” behavior could come from. Most of the female fans I’ve become friends with over the years have had to fight that sort of crap from men often enough, why would someone who has had to contradict that attitude then perpetuate the same kind of misogyny that makes everyone look bad (and, for the record, isn’t representative of the majority of fans of whatever gender, in my experience)? The more I thought about it, the more I kept coming back to one thing — that maybe one way to not get accused of being one of “those” female fans is to engage in the rhetorical equivalent of jumping up and down and yelling about how much all the other fans aren’t cool. Sort of a “no no no, don’t look over here, look over THERE!”, social media misdirection move. And well, I suppose I can see it. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, and all that.
But really? The kind of fans of whatever gender who would engage in making blanket statements about other groups of fans are precisely the ones that I’m disinclined to pay much heed. If I just wanted to be liked or blindly listened to in the baseball community, I’ve figured out ways I could do it. I could pull out every straw man and argumentative fallacy I could find and do a constant song and dance of “East Coast bias”, “traditional metrics suck”, “listen to the narrative”, “SABR geeks live in their mothers’ basements”, “Red Sox don’t want it”, and “Yankees buy championships” and probably have exponentially more Twitter followers and be at least marginally tumblr famous if I wanted to. But it would require pandering of the most gross and unappealing nature and alienating the fans and analysts whose opinions I respect and whose friendship I value. Continue reading
Filed under baseball, rants