Lately, I have been feeling restless and a bit lost in what I want to do with myself. Work is not exactly what I want to be doing, though it pays the bills and keeps me off the dole. Fortunately, baseball season has beginning so I have that to look forward to as well as perk me up. Speaking of sports, recently there have been some things happening that are making a lot of female sports fans and women in general feel lesser and marginalized by our society.
Earlier in the year, MLB sponsored a contest to find the ultimate fan. This person would be in a decked out place and watch all 2,000+ games this baseball season. As part of this, the winner would write a blog about the experience as well as use social media to talk and promote it. The winner was announced and it turns out to be two guys who have on-stage and acting experience. This is all fine and dandy. At first I thought, ok cool for them. Then as more details emerged, it started to make me sad.
On the twitter account set up for the MLB Fan Cave, they announced as part of Opening Day Activities for baseball, the guys would be discussing baseball with a VICTORIA’S SECRET MODEL. I looked up who the model is and can honestly say I know nothing about her. But that is more a function of me not spending time keeping up with what models are doing with their time. After that happened, within a few days, one of the members of the Jersey Shore cast was in the fan cave. On top of all of this, Victoria’s Secret also unveiled new designs in their PINK line that has such slogans as “meet me in the dugout” and “caught looking.” Granted some of the styles are actually cute, but the slogans, well, for women who love sports just for the sports sake, not so cute.
Aside from the fact that the Fan Cave seems to have turned into a giant bachelor pad, many women were angry that there is this seemingly blatant attempt to just appeal to men and not include women who happen to be at least 45% of the fan base is women. Additionally when these were first unveiled there was quite an uproar by many women due to the implications that women can only appreciate sports because they are trying to “hook up” with one of the athletes. Nevermind the reputation that women are ONLY trying to snag a rich husband by trying to associate with athletes. (Or that there are athletes that enjoy hooking up with as many women as possible and if she is not actually into the sport, even better for them.) And yes, there are a few women out there who have that as a goal but the vast majority of female sports fans don’t. So many women that I know enjoy sports for what they are. Sure, there might be the occasional “fangirling” about a player, but if you ask her anything about how the game is played and want nitty-gritty details about the game, chances are that woman is going to school you and teach you a thing or two about the goal.
On top of the fan cave and the Victoria’s Secret clothing, I’ve also been annoyed by the recent attacks that seem to be coming from a group of 435, mostly middle-aged white men when it comes to women in general. Not to get political, but I have to say something now. Recently, the federal government was facing a potential shut down because in the funding bill, there was language about defunding Planned Parenthood. All because there are some extremely socially conservative people who believe incorrectly that Planned Parenthood does pretty much nothing but perform abortions and that the money it gets from the Federal Government goes to “achieving” this goal of performing as many abortions as possible. Nevermind that there is ALREADY a law in place that prevents Planned Parenthood from using federal funds for that service AND that abortions represent a VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE of what Planned Parenthood does. Oh and Planned Parenthood provides a ton of services for people who are too poor for whatever reason to get insurance to get to a doctor for much needed medical care. Or that they actually are in the business of trying to reduce the service that they are incorrectly believed to be providing non-stop by giving people access to birth control, that, ya know, helps prevent unwanted pregnancies in the FIRST PLACE.
On top of the Planned Parenthood stuff, the extreme social conservatives have gotten under my craw because they insist upon talking up family values, promoting families, protecting children, etc, but at the same time it seems all they want to do is cut services that help with these goals. They want to cut funding for services that prevent abortions. They want to criticize people who choose to have children out-of-wedlock. They want to say what a woman should do with her body. Nevermind that it makes sense that what a woman does with her body should be up to her and what she has figured out with her doctor to do. Sure, there is a HUGE debt problem, but why is the stuff on the table in cutting talks always something that negatively affects women and the poor as opposed to things such as the defense budget, which got an increase while pretty much everything else got a cut?
And of all things holy, sacred and good, I can’t believe I actually agree with Elisabeth Hasselbeck on something. Generally I find her to be a little “off” (and I’m being polite in what I think of her views in describing them as off) in her opinions, but she did say on The View one day that her fellow Republicans need to figure out exactly what they want in terms of preventing abortions and promoting family values. See, you can’t in one breath say you want to promote families, etc. then cut off funding for services that help achieve those goals. Why is it that a woman’s body can no longer belong to her during the time when she is pregnant? And why is it that if she chooses to have a child and raise it herself, if she needs help, no services are available to help with that goal? And more importantly, why is it when it comes to “being responsible” for the kids that might have been due to poor choices when it comes to birth control (and seriously, I really do not believe abstinence is a real solution) are men never in the equation? It takes two, so two should be in the conversation.
With all of this that has happened recently, I just feel a profound sadness when it comes to where women are in our society. It’s as if some members of society have taken a step backward rather than doing things to promote the so-called “moral” goals. And yes, I call them so-called because the actions surrounding promotion just don’t match up in my opinion. I also have this feeling with sports as well. It amazes me that women STILL have to work extra hard to prove that we “get” sports, understand them and more importantly are knowledgeable about them. I really do long for the day when our society actually starts moving forward again where 435 mostly middle-aged white men aren’t trying to control women and people stop assuming that all women who enjoy sports are doing so because they want to hook up with the players.