Posts tagged feminism
Posts tagged feminism
“Their lives are nothing like mine - I’m your standard-issue late-20-something childless overeducated atheist feminist - yet I’m completely obsessed with their blogs. On an average day, I’ll skim through a half-dozen Mormon blogs, looking at Polaroids of dogs in raincoats or kids in bow ties, reading gratitude lists, admiring sewing projects.” Salon article, “Why I can’t stop reading Mormon housewife blogs,” sheds light on a surprisingly universal way of wasting time on the internet.
Red Sox fans have a distinct mentality: always the underdog, eternal hatred for the Yankees, and the fervent belief that “new” fans don’t know what it means to truly suffer like the long-term fans have experienced. We know, because exactly 1/2 of blogic is a die-hard Red Sox fan. The team’s success and elevated national profile over the past decade has challenged that mentality, bringing new fans into the fold and leaving certain fans disgruntled or - in this case - sexist.
In his sports blog post today, “Not pretty in pink,” Matt Gelfand attacks a group that he believes is threatening the legitimacy of Red Sox fanhood: Pink Hats. Calling someone a Pink Hat fan means they are “the ultimate posers. Bandwagon fans.” Temporarily ignoring the obvious reference to (commercialized) femininity, let’s learn more about this particular brand of fan. Matt Gelfand describes them as the “I don’t know how many innings are in a game, but my team is good now so I’ll spend $50 on a stylish hat and tight T’ fans.” In case we missed the words “stylish” and “tight T,” which apparently symbolize women everywhere, Gelfand explains “the pink hats come in all shapes and sizes, but in all likelihood are female with little actual knowledge of the game of baseball.”
Gelfand rightly anticipates outrage from the bleachers and tries to assuage us, writing “the pink-hat controversy isn’t about sexism, as some feminists might argue.” Gelfand even admits that “there are plenty of passionate female Red Sox fans.” But by defining a bad fan as one who wears a Pink Hat, an obvious female/feminine signifier, Gelfand suggests that a) all bandwagon fans are women and b) “real” women fans are the exception, not the rule. At its core, his argument is sexist. Gelfand seems to think that male bandwagon fans aren’t as big of a threat to Red Sox fandom - as if, because of their gender, men have an inherent claim to liking the Red Sox.
Gelfand knew exactly what kind of imagery - and what gender - his Pink Hat reference would bring to mind. Saying that the term “pink hat” fan isn’t gendered and offensive is like saying that the phrase “that’s so gay” isn’t homophobic because in this usage, gay is just a synonym for “stupid” and has nothing to do with sexuality.
This issue goes beyond the Red Sox; it is about who can be a real sports fan, regardless of team affiliation. Ultimately, it is about policing where women - and men - belong. The use of the pink hat as a symbol for newcomers (meaning, female newcomers) is prevalent in Red Sox culture. Like Gelfend’s blog post, this notion is filled with stale stereotypes and unstable assumptions, and says more about one’s feelings toward women than it does about a passion for the Red Sox. And that sentiment doesn’t belong in a sports blog or a baseball park.
As a rule, Blogically Speaking is opposed to all phony marketing ploys directed at women, whether they be ugly, pepto-bismol colored hats or stupid skinny cans.
The San Jose Mercury gives the “list of powerful women” concept a go. This list is in some ways superior to that of a certain other publication—for one thing, the women’s credentials aren’t accompanied by photographs or details on their marital and reproductive status. The article also lists its criteria for ‘powerful’: “size of their company or organization; number of people under their management; and scope of their influence beyond their company.” Certainly better than offering no definition whatsoever (thanks again, Forbes). Yet, O’Brien follows this with “Though in talking with Theresia Gouw Ranzetta, another one of the 10, I realized women might have their own way of defining power that’s very different from men.”
Is this true? While at least one woman on this list supports this theory, does that support his conclusion that women define power as: “helping others succeed or having an impact on their community”? Everyone is hurt by narrow, gendered definitions of power and success. Women who do not fit into the definition O’Brien highlights are often referred to as “bitches” or “ball-busters” (Martha Stewart), and men who do are seen as too weak to be truly powerful.
Even some of the lauded successes are questionably framed: