Friday, October 08, 2010

Weird Misogyny in Sports Commentary

If you are talking about a man, and your point is that he’s irrational yet appealing, does it really provide much insight to say “he’s like an irrational yet appealing woman!”

I wouldn’t think so. Of course, some people think otherwise.

I decided on a brief note with commentary implicit, but now I feel like expanding just a bit.

A male athlete behaves erratically. In order to provide perspective on the situation, a sportswriter appeals to a negative stereotype of women behaving erratically. What is the compulsion to do so? Why is it necessary to go to a stereotype of the "crazy hot chick" in order to explain a situation involving a crazy/erratic male athlete? For one thing, I think it provides pretty banal commentary. But it also seems to fit into a pattern of creepy sexism.

I'll add that claiming a crazy but talented man is like a crazy but hot woman illustrates a very basic insight of feminism: men are valued for their actions/abilities, women are valued for their sexual attractiveness.


  1. One could argue that being attractive IS an ability - an ability to produce robust, healthy children. And really, which is more shallow? To catch a ball? To make good money?

    I'm playing advocate a bit here, but it's always been a fascinating discussion for me. Men seem wired to find symmetry attractive, then conditioned to find something not entirely real (aka modern 'hotness') the ideal. Then they get blamed for it, often fairly, but not always.

    I think the point of the argument is that people will put up with a little bit of 'crazy' in others if those others exhibit qualities prioritized by the former. Thank goodness, right? because how else would a pacifist vegetarian have meat-eating republicans reading his site?

  2. Plinthy the Middling8:09 AM

    I don't see it as either weird OR miscogyny; I see it as a metaphor. It certainly works like a metaphor, and it surely does work at some level(And I'm not calling anyone Shirley here.)

    It's my view that, to this point, Pats fans (Simmons admits to being a fervent one.) are still in full try-out camp with this development, putting all conceivable rationalizations through their paces, seeing which one might stick so they keep busy and not think too hard on the implications, and don't lapse into regret or feel like fools (Torn between two lovers, Feeling like a ...); and at the same time, sort of like how Republicans keep trying to rationalize Obama.

    (The problem is he tries to please everybody. No sir, he actually hates white people. But he's half white through his mom and granny and they raised him. Okay then, but he's still a socialist. Right, which sure explains the White House selling out to Wall Street and the insurance lobby and trashing unions and the left. No no, I meant to say Nazi. What, like that GOP candidate in Ohio ... and didn't you just get through saying he HATES white people? You got me; but Obamacare is a breath mint. Nah, it's a candy mint. Or it's BOTH.)

    Looking at it independently: Moss called out Kraft, who was already vulnerable on the Mankins non-sign; and Kraft hates servants acting uppity, hates even the idea of being a source of snickers among his filthy rich peers, and was losing sleep that it could happen again.