SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

Female as athlete: Doomed to second class citizenship?

Female as athlete: Doomed to second class citizenship?
Beneath the tangle of masculine finger-pointing, of the cacophony of deep voices throwing epitaphs and apologies, lays an issue bigger and greater than even the egos of shock jocks and reverends.

Essence Carson
, captain of the 2nd place winners of Division One Basketball stated in a recent news conference, “It’s more than about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. As a society we’re trying to grow and get to the point where we don’t classify women as hos and we don’t classify African-American women as nappy-headed hos.”


But it’s even more involved than that. On April 11th, the New York Times published an article by Selena Roberts regarding the recent events. She provides a few examples of professional male athletes insulting each other by merely referring to them in one way or another as female – the words don’t even approach the crass tone of “ho”. Being called a girl apparently is bad enough.

In June of 2006, tennis star and champion, Venus Williams wrote an article for Times On Line and took Wimbledon to task for awarding different levels of prize money by gender (guess which players took home less). The headline of her story: “Wimbledon has sent me a message: I’m only a second-class champion.”

In a world where female basketball is considered a purer form of the sport and female tennis play-offs often garner higher viewer-ship; is there any hope that some day, being called a sissy will be regarded as praise?

Make a Comment

Comment  *
 
 
  • didama By didama
    04.14.07  

    I am impressed with how the young women of the Rutgers team have handled themselves. They have risen above the situation and shown to be extraordinary women on and off the court. Kudos to the team on their high class response to such low class commentary.

  • htwollin By htwollin
    04.18.07  

    Frankly, I think this speaks not just to "women athletes as second class" business, but speaks to the issue that it STILL seems ok and expected for men to regard any woman in this denigrating way. I'm of an age that when I was first looking for a job in the early '70s, it was still considered ok to ask women in job interviews a) if they were married, b) if they planned to have kids c) what their husbands did and who they worked for and d) what form of birth control they were using. I'd like to know what has changed? As a matter of fact, I almost think that the tolerance of this sort of garbage behavior and attitude is worse now than it was then. Is it because men feel threatened? I just don't understand. I read the comments on the Oprah site from the "hip hop summit" and I have to tell you it made me sick. The message that came out was that it was ok to use that sort of language because of poverty and societal pressues. What garbage. It's time for black men to look at themselves and ask the serious question,"Do I or do I not treasure black women?" "Am I looking for a committed relationship and am willing to work for it?" And frankly, I think all women, black, white and brown, need to not accept that sort of behavior and language from anyone. Period.

  • cvarano By cvarano
    04.19.07  

    It is so important for young boys to have a strong female role model when they are growing up who teaches them to respect women. I think the stronger women are becoming, which is happening by seeing more and more women in roles that have not been associated with our gender so much in the past, such as athletes and politicians, the less men are going to even think of saying something so disrespectful.

  • ClassyLadyIL By ClassyLadyIL
    04.26.07  

    I think everyone should clean up their language and remarks.If one says something it's artistic expression,another says it,its slander.I think any derrogatory comment from any mouth, against anyone, is wrong and should be cleaned up and stopped.It's wrong how some say things to or about others and its excepted in society,c'mon people,let us stop this kind of trash talk from everyone! Let's show our children and grandchildren how to be respectful towards everyone,we are the adults and set the examples,let's do it correctly and decently.

  • erica_cal By erica_cal
    04.27.07  

    My thoughts:

    1. Don Imus is in NO position to criticize anyone's looks--he is one ugly man!

    2. I am disgusted that two nasty middle-aged men think it is ok to call high achieving women "whores" and then wonder why they are in trouble.

    3. I hope we start to take a closer look at precisely how sexist and racist our "Democracy" truly is.

    4. Beauty standards for women need to be reduced, and beauty standards for men need to be increased.

  • MamiMari By MamiMari
    05.09.07  

    I work for an organization where 9 out of 10 times, I will be the only female military officer in the room. I have led and trained Soldiers to fight and have successfullty held a command. Yet, i am still considered just "a girl" and i still hear "no, you don't want that", "i wonder what she did to get that position or school", "don't you rather be home with your husband and kids", "What did you cook", "Are you PMSing", "why would want to go to that school you're only taking that slot from someone who would do better like jon". I am still referred to as confrontational when my male peers are referred to as "aggressive." We still live in a society that allows men to degrade and belittle women in order to make themselves look or feel better. As a mother of 3 boys and 1 girl, it is my job to help the next generation grow up to respect women. When my oldest calls his brother a sissy i correct him. Or when his friends come over to play ball and say my youngest throws like a girl, it is my responsibility to correct them. I say good job you'll play in the majors if you keep that up.

  • gather By gather
    06.14.07  

    Let's face it, men don't appreciate females in sports. If it isn't football, it doesn't exist. I remember a daytime male anchor on ABC GMA say why should females get sports scholarship, nobody wants to see them play. Then the USA soccer team, yes the female USA soccer team got the gold medal, then things started to change But is going to take a lot more time for more changes. Until then females have an uphill battle

  • narendra By narendra
    06.27.08  

    Men used to under estimate women athletes in past But now they are encouraging

More stories like this