Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

Dress Rehearsal

I'm going to bury my lead here.  I am about to discuss Ines Sainz.  What she has done has ignited a firestorm about women's rights and feminism (if you don't know, don't worry, I'll explain who she is and what happened soon enough).  The problem being, any time such general concepts are discussed, detractors will seize on anything they can as proof that the speaker has some sort of bias that renders their points worthless, contradictory, or whatever.  The points are not important, finding a reason, ANY reason, to ignore the person is the goal.  I still expect ad hominem attacks, I'm just looking to minimize them as much as I can.

See, the points I wish to make and the ideas I seek to explore are complex.  Not that complex (this ain't the Unified Theory we're talking about here), but everyone advancing opinions so far is keeping them short and simple, like something they can put on a bumper sticker.  It's understandable.  You fall back on a simple absolute because arguing and defending your stance takes work, effort, and investment.  Investment is the tough one, because a lot of things people argue about simply aren't worth the effort.  So I'm going to ask everyone to please keep an eye on the shell with the pea under it.

First, my basic rule.  This is the one that all actions are judged against.  It is not absolute, but when something is done counter to it, that's when it's time to start wondering -- what prompted this deviation from the rule?  And the rule is this:  EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE LEFT ALONE.  Everyone has the right to do what they want when they want as long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else.  Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.  But outside my nose, you are free.  People are free to smoke cigarettes in public, and if I don't like it, I don't go where the smokers are.  People have the right to worship as they see fit, and as long as they aren't violating human rights, all I can do is shrug, maybe make some jokes, but move on and let them do what they want.  People are free to make jokes about me, and as long as I can laugh along or simply ignore them, that's how it should be.

Now, the basic principal of feminism, that a lot of people get wrong, is that women are empowered to do what they want when they want.  But somewhere along the line, "feminism", like the words "liberal" and "conservative," got corrupted into a political shorthand completely at odds with what it is supposed to be.  It was no longer free will.  According to true feminism, if a woman is perfectly happy being a stay-at-home mom, then as long as that is her choice, she is free to be so.  But such women are branded as the enemy.  Feminism has become a label for radicalism and creating a siege mentality.  From the bunker of their own label, women can attach labels to men that reduce them to brain dead gender roles who deserve to be attacked.  In other words, the same treatment they fight, just applied to a target they approve of.  Because it is based on emotional hot buttons for both sides, everyone lashes out, and a fight starts over something that has no business being the basis of a fight.  Because the only thing ultimately settled is who has the right to demean the other, not what is the best way to live and let live.

The fight continues because of a fatal flaw -- both sides are applying general characteristics to an individual.  Any group of people, certain behaviors will come to light.  There is a general behavior of geeks, for example.  But that's only for examining the group at large.  When you attempt to push an individual person through this Play-Doh Fun Factory of sociology, they rebel.  Geeks are supposed to love energy drinks, for example.  I don't.  But no one says I should like them and I am a failure and traitor to my clique if I refuse.  Women and men, as a group, have certain patterns of behavior.  All you have to do is look at Lifetime, TV For Women, and Spike, The First Network For Men.  They both show things that reinforce and celebrate gender stereotypes.  But no one is protesting, and in fact, anything that tries to be different is ignored.  The complaints about generalities don't apply when people subject themselves to them, but when others force those generalities upon them.

Everybody still with me so far?  That's good!

So, let's zoom in on sports and the locker room.  When women reporters won the right by court ruling to cover the locker room, men started screaming about violating the sanctity of manly bonding places.  Women had it tough, putting up with the trolling of male players.  Some women became legends for how they handled it.  A woman reporter famously went into the men's locker room for the first time.  A player in the nude stood in front of her, spread his legs, and pointed down, saying, "Hey, honey!  You know what this is?"  Without batting an eye, she said, "If it was bigger, I'd say it was a penis."  NOBODY fucked with her after that.  Yeah, kind of schoolyard, but it got the job done and was funny as hell.

This isn't helped by the dichotomy of women and sports.  Women are supposed to be just as good as men for covering sports.  Yet, Erin Andrews is promoted for being cute and pretty.  Sport shows feature overweight guys in casual wear or sharp suits while the women wear sexy clothes and play up their looks.  For all the talk about women being just as capable of covering the game, they are still treated like eye candy.  I don't recall a woman providing play by play, only being sideline reporters.  That's not progress, that's the same pandering to the demographic, it's just getting away with being more overt about it, thanks to paying lip service to the notion of equality.

Which brings me to Ines Sainz.  She is a reporter for Mexico's TV Azteca network.  She claimed she felt "discomfort" when she went into the New York Jets locker room, and now a bunch of people are white knighting about how she should be left alone and treated as an equal and all kinds of other things no one has bothered with yet.

Now, remember my first rule.  EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE LEFT ALONE.  That applies to Sainz.  Just because she's a woman in a locker room does not give the players the right to give her a hard time.  Also remember, that means, when exceptions happen, they must be measured against the first rule.  So what might prompt the exception?

During the media day before the 2007 Super Bowl, Sainz was asking Chicago Bears players if they would marry her (this got her an interview with Megan Mawicke on WBBM-Channel 2 news).  That makes it sound to me like she enjoys goofing around, like a Stephen Colbert of sports.  My guess is, she tried her shtick with the Jets, the joke went too far, and she got more than she bargained for.  Someone propositioning football players during a formal press conference is not building a "RESPECT ME AS AN EQUAL, GODDAMMIT!!!" reputation.

I know all the stuff about it being a boys' club in the locker room and women are equal and everything.  But this overlooks that Sainz may have just been a publicity hound who is using people's gender based reactions (protect women vs. "This is our clubhouse, no girls allowed") to get attention.  Everyone is either white knighting or being sexist morons.  All the while overlooking that maybe, just maybe, Sainz brought her treatment on herself.

There are women who want to be seen as equal and capable.  A woman like Sainz who makes them all look like opportunists and weak does them a disservice and sets back the advances they make.  And if you act like an idiot, don't be surprised when people treat you like one.
Tags: important life lessons, news
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded