No surprise here: the internets can be a hostile space women. Women
who are sports fans and athletes find their fair share of, by turns,
erasure and hostility.
As Salon's Broadsheet points out, you can't even Google "female athlete of the decade" or even "best female athlete of the decade" without be bombarded by "hottest female athlete" paraphernalia that is enough to depress the most passionate
fan. Likewise, paging through the daily coverage of ESPN and Sports Illustrated, you'd be forgiven if you started to wonder if you'd entered some kind of time warp in which such a thing as a "female athlete" or "female sports fan" or, hell, even a "female sportwriter" had not been invented yet.
I assure you, they -- we -- are out there. And not finding the the digital world an especially hospitable space for women who dig sports, gals are creating their own online news networks and communities, filling the void with bright, intelligent, and passionate commentary that is grounded in a belief that women matter.
It might be hard
to find them if you dare to brave Google to track them down, so here's your handy primer on the best of women and sports on the internet. I hope you'll join me there!
I was one of those major theater nerds in high school; my nerd-dom, however, did not usually translate to reading many well-regarded Classics of Theater. I did not read Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie until college, and, looking back, I would have read it much earlier, had such a thing been possible. The Glass Menagerie, written in the early 1940s, is one of Williams' works that continues to get quite a bit of mileage out of the "faded Southern belle" archetype (if I may quote The Simpsons). It is notable also because of its depiction of disability in the character of young Laura Wingfield—who has a limp due to an adolescent bout of pleurisy. Though Laura, as a character, is problematic in some aspects, she is still worth a look because she does not totally conform to many dominant cultural narratives of disability.
I'm not a sports fan because of a guy I'm dating, or as an excuse to tailgate. I admit to exulting a bit when I can dismantle the preconception of who a sports fan is, or who a woman is, simply by talking about sports, which I love anyway. And I love the chance to have my own preconceptions dismantled when we chatter together about sports.With that in mind, the #3 reason why this feminist is a sports fan (and the very FIRST reason I started following the games) is ...
I bring you a collection of songs that represent the spirit of bitchdom; a collection of songs about anger, freedom, violence, jealousy, frustration, fantasy, revenge, pride, individualism and burping; in short, songs about the American Dream.
"Wow, that is so inspiring!" "She has truly overcome her handicap." "You are so brave!"
Do any of these exclamations sound familiar? They might, if you are a person with a disability who has been on the receiving end of "good intentions" that mask an unfortunately pervasive Western trope about disability and people who live with disabilities: Supercrip.
Besides being Operations Director here at Bitch Media, I'm an activist on climate and globalization issues. So needless to say I'm a big fan of author and super-activist Naomi Klein, and have been closely following her dispatches from the UN climate mega-summit in Copenhagen, which has been miserably failing at coming up with a just and scientifically viable post-Kyoto agreement.
I thought I'd share this illuminating (if laryngitis stricken) interview she and french journalist Jade Lindgaard had this morning with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! where she discusses the US position and Hilary Clinton's statement's at the conference this morning.
Poster 4 Tomorrow is a project based out of France that was founded this year to encourage artists to advocate "on behalf of those who don't enjoy the same freedom of expression that you do" by designing posters that pronounce an explicitly political sentiment regarding the universal right to free speech. Right away this struck me as problematic. In order to truly work from a praxis of liberation, one must struggle with not for those who are oppressed, as speaking for the oppressed simply reifies their dehumanization (and by extension one's own) and contributes to the oppressed persons' being prevented from having an autonomous public voice. Replacing one master with another (albeit one who seems well-intended) is not a solution.