Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Guest Post: Feminism and Football — Can the Two Ever Go Hand-in-Hand?

Kate Harveston is a political writer from Pennsylvania. Her favorite topics are feminist-focused, but she writes on a wide variety of social and cultural issues. If you enjoy her work, you can follow her on Twitter or visit her blog, Only Slightly Biased.

If recent events have taught us anything, it is this: We’re long overdue for a national discussion about toxic masculinity. In the wake of yet another deadly school shooting, it is impossible to ignore the one characteristic most mass shooters have in common: They are mostly male.
In fact, overwhelmingly so. Mass shooters who are women are "so rare that it just hasn't been studied," according to James Garbarino, a psychologist at Loyola University Chicago. So what gives men the idea that the appropriate response to their problems is violence?
Sadly, the issue goes way beyond the gun control debate and into the very nature of our culture. As a society, we have not only condoned, but even celebrated, toxic masculinity to the point where we consider egregious acts of violence sometimes justifiable. And perhaps the pinnacle of this cultural celebration of all things testosterone is televised sports, particularly in the NFL.
Who in America can forget the OJ Simpson case, for example? Sadly, Nicole Brown Simpson is far from the only victim of violence from a celebrated football star. Over the past two years alone, 15 NFL players have been arrested for domestic violence. Forty-four players have been accused. Yet, millions of citizens continue to idolize these players, like Ben Roethlisberger, despite repeated allegations of sexual assault against them.
All these facts bring us to the question: Can a person both love the NFL and consider themselves to be a feminist? I may upset some of my fellow feminists in saying this, but I believe it’s a no.
A Celebration of Violence and Power
All sports contain the element of competition, and that is not what is in question here. Yes, women, as well as men, enjoy the spirit of healthy competition.
No, what we should question is why we idolize a sport where the primary objective is to destroy the opposing team physically, to the point where 99 percent of professional football players sustain permanent brain injuries. How is this something our culture worships?
By persisting in elevating players of a sport where all but everyone who plays walks away with a permanent injury, we are, in effect, saying life is inherently destructive. It asserts that only those who are physically strong and able-bodied are worthy of respect, of “making it.”
This viewpoint is at odds with the very premise of feminism, which asserts all human beings are equal and worthy of the same amount of respect. It's also, quite frankly, at odds with anyone with common sense enough to know that being injured is no fun and can lead to serious lifelong repercussions.
Women create life. Women sustain life. Women proclaim everyone is stronger when working together, not at odds with one another. These concepts are completely anathema to the underlying premise of a sport where only the biggest, strongest and fastest earn applause, and where causing permanent physical harm to another is considered a prime objective.
Not to mention, the NFL itself implicitly condones treating women as lesser. While the league compensates even the lowest-string athletes at the rate of millions of dollars per year, NFL cheerleaders — who face a physical schedule that is just as daunting — barely earn enough to survive. To top it off, NFL cheerleaders must perform in intolerable weather conditions, clad only in garb that can be described as skimpy at best.
How Football Encourages Sexism
There's also the issue of exclusion of women from the sport itself. While women have made significant inroads in other sports, such as the rise of the WNBA, no professional equivalent exists for women who wish to play professional football. Is this because women are inherently less suited for the combative nature of football itself, or is it yet another way of telling women they are inherently inferior?
Feminism declares all people are worthy of respect. Feminism asserts that women and men equally benefit from healthy competition. Feminism emphasizes everyone, regardless of gender, can benefit from physical labor, and that men and women alike should earn equal compensation for their efforts. Feminism encourages all people, regardless of gender, size, strength or abilities, to follow their dreams.
In contrast, football tells us only the strongest and fastest are worthy of respect. Football asserts only men benefit from physical competition, and women are inadequate to compete in certain areas. Football overtly proclaims size, girth and gender should determine one's destiny, compensation and overall value. It also encourages violence off the field, as is the case with the increased rates of domestic violence among players.
Considering all these facts, can one be an NFL fan and still be a feminist?
My opinion? Only if one takes no issue whatsoever with hypocrisy.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Gif of the Day

I couldn't decide which gif would be funnier on its own so I had to use both.

Austin Bombings Targeting Prominent Black Families

We have a domestic terrorist on our hands! Have you heard about it? Maybe because they're only targeting black people. 

Austin Package Bombs Appear to Be Targeting Prominent Black Families

The families of Stephen House, who was killed on March 2, and Draylen Mason, who was killed on Monday, have known each other for a long time “and go to the same church,” according to Nelson Linder. The Austin NAACP president said that a third bomb, which injured 75-year-old Esperanza Herrera, may have been intended for “another person who might be connected to the House and Mason families.” 
Though the Austin police agree that the bombings are related, they haven’t suggested a motive. They also haven’t said whether they think the victims were personally targeted. But interim Austin police chief Brian Manley did tell reporters this week that they’re not ruling out the possibly “that hate crime is at the core of this.”


Hate crimes are up across the country. White supremacist activity has exploded. This is an anti-black hate crime and domestic terrorism. Pay attention.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gif of the Day

New requirement for all men who want to call themselves male allies. They have to film themselves jumping over something in an impressive manner and finishing in a respecting women pose.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Gif of the Day

Old-timey adorable.

Morning Announcements

I'm starting a new part time job this week so I'm taking an almost-Spring Break. One week without posting here.

Remember kids, give yourself an appropriate amount of vacation time from work you give yourself. Your bosses won't do it, not in the U.S., but you can treat yourself right.

And fuck the police.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Gif of the Day

Just shoot the fire in the fucking face.

Why the Gutting of the ADA Matters

I'm not gonna lie. I'm not as good as I could be on disability issues. And that sucks all the more because I feel like most people don't pay enough attention to disability, accessibility, and ableism. I posted about the gutting of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but I didn't get just how much harder it would make life for disabled people until I read this Twitter thread.

I'm going to post the link to the Tumblr post because it contains both a handy list of screenshots and the entire thing captioned at the bottom for those with visual impairments.

From punk rock sock monkey

Long story short, though if you're able-bodied and you can you should really read the entire thing, being disabled makes every part of life ridiculously difficult because of a lack of accessibility and now the changes to the ADA put the onus on disabled people to have to beg every single business, from restaurants to grocery stores to banks and every other essential service out there, to follow basic accessibility laws. And it will be months before they even have to start to make the necessary changes.

Now call your damn senators.

Everybody Did IWD Better Than Us

And by "us" I mean the U.S. Get it?

Anyway, this is a pretty good roundup of how a bunch of nations celebrated International Women's Day:

International Women’s Day 2018: Beyond #MeToo, With Pride, Protests and Pressure

Women organized massive one-day strikes in many countries. I didn't hear about any such thing in the U.S., just a small rally in Seattle that I didn't go to. We need to organize something as good as the West Virginia teacher's strike where the entire state of teachers went on strike. Imagine if like half the women in the U.S. went on strike, and not just for a day, but until our demands were met. But it has to be organized so well, like we have to raise funds in advance to endure that ALL the women who can't afford to miss a day of work are taken care of. That's how you strike.

We're so afraid of striking but in the Philipines, where thousands of people have been murdered just for being accused of taking drugs, women marched to denounce the President. In China, women marched against President Xi Jinping, who just got his term limit extended to life. In Afghanistan, they marched in defiance of the Taliban. And so much more.

We white, U.S. feminists could learn a thing or two. Well done, women of the world! Kick ass!