Thursday, October 15, 2009

Football and Gender

Diane Robert is a Seminole fan, and she admits it contradicts her feminism, but she loves football anyway.

She begins:

I know. I know. The game reinforces the most retrograde gender roles. The men are front and center hitting each other. The women stay on the sidelines encouraging the men to hit each other.

Look at the clothes for god sake. The cheerleaders wear short skirts and eyeliner. The players wear tight britches and huge shoulder pads. The game is a feast of hyper masculinity with a side order of phallic metaphor: penetration, scoring. It's stylized warfare, fighting over 100 yards worth of symbolic turf. The object being to march deeper and deeper into enemy territory.

The very language of the game is combative: the bomb, the shotgun, the sack. The only time the game gets in touch with its feminine side is when, say, you're on your own, 25, down by six with seven seconds to go in the fourth, then you throw the Hail Mary. As usual, the men get themselves into trouble and expect a women to bail them out.

See the rest or listen to her read her essay here.

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