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.

American hubris

This is one of the better articles discussing a disturbing American tendency towards bombast and boasting. Most Americans have no idea how absurd and arrogant it sounds outside the USA. It is a failure of global perspective that keeps Americans saying how the US is the best country in the world without any self-consciousness of how it sounds to outsiders, especially when, as the article only begins to note, there are plenty of areas that the US could improve upon (highest proportion of population in prison being a major one, for example). See the whole article here:

One nation, under illusion

THE HOARIEST and most oft-repeated cliche in American politics may be that America is the greatest country in the world. Every politician, Democrat and Republican, seems duty bound to pander to this idea of American exceptionalism, and woe unto him who hints otherwise. This country is “the last, best hope of mankind,’’ or the “shining city on the hill,’’ or the “great social experiment.’’ As if this weren’t enough, Jimmy Carter upped the fawning ante 30 years ago by uttering arguably the most damning words in modern American politics. He called for a “government as good as the American people,’’ thus taking national greatness and investing it in each and every one of us.

(Rest of the article) [The article was published in the International Herald Tribune of 14 Oct. 2009, but was not put online for some reason.]