Introductions!

Hello! My name is La Macha, and I'll be guest blogging at Bitch for the next bit! Usually I post at Vivir Latino with the unrivaled mami blogger; Maegan "la Mamita Mala" Ortiz. I thank the amazing Debbie for allowing me this opportunity to post here!

While I'm at Bitch, I'll be blogging about sports related 'stuff.' Now, before you roll your eyes and skip over my posts, let me just say--there's a reason that my 'column' will be posted under Team Queer: Movement and Sports Through A Bent Lens. I know that there's a reason so many women don't like sports because on many levels, I am those women myself. So I will be spending a lot of time uncovering (and encouraging YOU to uncover for yourself) reasons that 'sports' in general are a major turn off to women.

Specifically--I am a queer, fat, mother of color that is uncoordinated, can't run worth a shit, has spent a lot of time temporarily disabled by a bad back, has only rarely been able to hit any type of moving ball and is pretty much beyond irritated by people (namely my partner) who insist that watching sports requires total silence, no questions and complete and utter focus on each play as it happens. Oh, and I also have little use for male showboating that makes up 99% of ESPN.

And yet, for some reason, I am inherently attracted to sports culture--even suffering through 3 years of bench warming on my high school soccer team just so I could be around the culture of sports. I love sports, and I am passionate about creating a space where women and girls like me have a respected and honored place in sporting culture--a olace that only marginally involves bench warming. I want the love of movement and sports to be respected above and over the need to win, and I think for that to happen, we have to really examine what makes the sporting community so inherently unpleasant for so many of us.

So--that's what I'll be doing here. Examining the sports community through an intersectional lens--how does racism, queerphobia, sexism, ableism, nationalism, sizeism, ageism etc all intersect with each other to create a culture that is inherently unfriendly and outright violent for so many of us? Is there a way to rework that framework? Is there a way to open a new space? What's working for women who love sports and are in sports? What's not working? Why?

I'm already excited just typing these questions out--there's so much potential just in asking questions! I look forward to attempting to answer those questions along side you!

La Macha

Also, I have a very loose definition of what "sports" are--while football, baseball etc are all covered for me, I also consider less traditional things like biking, dance, spelling bees, and even eating competitions to be 'sports' (or at least sports related) as well!

Comments

4 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Cheerleaders

I'm not turned off at all, as a latina female who loves sports, especially football, I am extremely interested to read what a fellow feminist has to say about it all.

I do have a question.......
As a female that enjoys watching the NFL and especially rooting for the San Diego Chargers, I find myself liking to watch the competition, but not really relating to the male athletes but instead to the Cheerleaders. What turns me off is that the NFL Cheerleaders get paid next to nothing while the football players (in some cases) sign million dollar contracts. Should I not support the NFL? Or instead, how can we get these men that run the league to realize that these women are trained athletes and professional dancers that devote time to practice and promoting their teams, and should be paid what they are worth?

Cheerleading and other dance programs in schools are treated and called "activities" rather then "sports," meaning that the school doesn't need to provide funding. As a former high school cheerleader, I drained my parents bank account asking for money for uniforms and cheer camp and the list goes on, while the basketball players and football players enjoyed new equipment and free travel to rival schools. I know this issue isn't really a big deal, but it is another form of excluding young women from the sports world and perhaps it is one of the reasons women are turned off by sports. How can we get schools to change this?

You bring up *such* a good

You bring up *such* a good point, Diana. Funding really points better than anything else to inequality in sports--as you rightly point out, even if women are essential in drawing viewers (and as such, money) into various leagues, they are never given the credibility or the financial reimbursements that would acknowledge their power.

It makes me wonder if the cheerleaders have a union or have attempted to unionize--if they have, I think rather than boycotting the NFL, we should do everything we can to organize support for the unions. In other words, we should support the women rather than centering the men--if they ask for people to boycott the NFL then we should do it, but otherwise, financially hitting their main employer may actually hurt them, rather than help, you know?

In regard to schools and how they treat young women versus young men--that one, I think the same moral applies--we need to support the needs of girls/young women. What that would look like in terms of organizing in support--I'm not sure. My kids are both young right now, and when I was in high school sports, the girls got equal financial support as the boys. So I'm not really sure how 'the system' works.

I have a feeling, though, that confronting this in schools systems is going to take a huge movement that focuses on multiple 'goals' rather than one major goal like Title IX. Each school is different, each district is different--for example, we can't really demand that underfunded inner city or rural schools give equal funding to all sports when the consequence of that might mean that *nobody* plays. I think it's going to take working with each school individually, and sharing strategies with each other. What works in one place may be a total failure in others, what is a total failure in another place may be what saves a sports program for young women in a different place.

We're going to have to be complicated and pretty tenacious, you know? But that's ok, because that's what we love to be! :-)

La Macha
Editor: Vivir Latino
La Macha on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lamacha

La Macha
Editor: Vivir Latino
La Macha on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lamacha

By the way, I did some

By the way, I did some looking around on google, and I found this article about cheerleaders and unions: http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2007/12/28/the-prelude-week-17-do-nfl-cheerleade...

The author's attitude is pretty condescending, but he gives some good facts and brings up how necessary it is to support cheerleaders because even if they do unionize and start a labor movement, they won't necessarily have the leverage to influence the NFL to change it's mind.

I have to wonder how close to reality his observations are that cheerleaders are just thankful for the job. I mean, we all have/have had shitty jobs that we *say* we're thankful for, but with friends or fam, we complain endlessly about. It makes me wonder what the repercussions would be for the women if they would speak out and break that 'just grateful to be here' front....

La Macha
Editor: Vivir Latino
La Macha on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lamacha

La Macha
Editor: Vivir Latino
La Macha on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lamacha

woo!

I love sports, but I also love reading critic of sports and its culture.

La Macha, come on over to my place to watch a game. Our neighbors always know when the games on cause we aren't quiet. We gather up food, turn on the surround sound and whoop it up. My 5yo daughter loves it...most of the time.

Veronica I. Arreola

http://www.vivalafeminista.com
Also at:
http://www.WIMNonline.org/WIMNsVoicesBlog/
http://www.ChicagoParent.com
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