What We Missed.


Ross Douthat
clearly wanna be startin something, but Amanda calls it all out.
Kenyon Farrow tells us that 40 years after Stonewall: black gays still targeted.
The Wimbledon marginalizes players that are not “attractive.” This is both racist and sexist.
And finally a piece by Amy Sueyoshi for American Sexualities Magazine (a project of the National Sexuality Resource Center) on Inequality in the Marriage Equality Movement.

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21 Comments

  1. gudbuytjane
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Lisa at Questioning Transphobia wrote about the backlash against ‘cisgender’ and the notion of cis privilege at the Pam’s House Blend blog, and the ongoing silencing, banning, and erasure of dissenting comments.

  2. shelilia
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    That is completely unacceptable! The Wimbledon should not be organized by “attractiveness” but skill.

  3. dangerfield
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for bringing up the Wimbledon issue, although I wish it would get full post treatment.
    Sportswriters Bob Ryan and Michael Wilbon at PTI on ESPN actually brought it up on air yesterday and called it disgusting “chauvinism”–a rare unambiguously pro-feminist statement from a male-biased sports show and media outlet. If only the sports media could stand up for women more often.
    It is really sad to see in women’s tennis–perhaps the only major sport where women’s accomplishments get remotely close to the same media coverage, fan attention and endorsement of its men’s counterpart–that the male gaze still so dominates the promotion of the sport (this coming not long after many in the sports media decried the breast reduction of a 17 year old tennis player…). I used to admire Wimbledon’s fierce traditionalism, but this is indefensibly messed up for dozens of reasons.

  4. LalaReina
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    You always represent Samhita you are the saving grace of this site.

  5. gudbuytjane
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    I would love to see a full post on this, too. It is appalling in how clearly the men in the story who made or support this idea are so entitled have NO IDEA AT ALL that they’re being jerks. This makes me sad for the state of tennis.

  6. visibility
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    love the MJ shoutout.

  7. bukowski
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    “This is both racist and sexist.”
    are you implying that non-white players are less attractive?
    please explain how this issue is racist or sexist rather than “looksist”?

  8. abraxas
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    It is simply amazing and i am sure many are going to like it. It is very unfortunate that we have lost the KING of POP.

    Europe trips

  9. inyd
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    This is blatantly sexist because male players are not subjected to the same “lookist” policy.
    However, I’m not too sure about the “racist” part. the Williams sisters are the only non-white, non-Latina players mentioned in the article, and other white players including Safina and Kuznetsova have also received the same treatment. Statistically, I don’t think the examples in this article can be used to conclude that race is a factor. (I’m sure that if Naomi Campbell plays tennis, she’d be on Centre Court. *rolls eyes*)

  10. The Boggart
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I was really enjoying watching Wimbledon – until I heard this…
    It occurs to me that this also discriminates against the viewers as well, according to income level. Not everybody can afford digital television, and often the Centre Court match (as the “most important”) is the only one broadcast on terrestrial television.

  11. uberhausfrau
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    ok, i read douthat’s op-ed and maybe i just havent been awake long enough/had enough coffee but i saw a lot of 10 dollar words, but cant for the life of me figure out what the hell he is saying.
    still working through amanda’s response, my interweb is being full of suck.

  12. LalaReina
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    The dumb part is tennis rating go up when the Williams sisters play and that includes crowds and I know Serena sells posters. Bad taste and bad business. Put the top ten women players in one event and the ones they think attractive in another and let’s follow the crowds. Love the shout.

  13. saintcatherine
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Ross Douthat gave some scanty evidence to suggest that the grad-educated upper classes are more sexually conservative (actually what I think he means is that they are less likely to have lives full of romntic passions).
    Then Amanda, who clearly hates him anyway because he is one of the sex-and-procreation-go-together crowd, tries to rebut by disparaging his almost-non-evidence, but does it only through snarky assertions about Douthat’s political prejudices. Which snarky assertions only the liberal elite will get.
    So it’s a nice tight circle of nothing, I would say. Unless I am missing what Samhita thinks Douthat is “starting”?

  14. Posted July 1, 2009 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I also wrote about this article by Douthat in my blog:
    http://clarissasbox.blogspot.com/2009/06/douthat-comes-up-with-something-half.html

  15. LalaReina
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I love PTI especially when it TK and Mike.

  16. kelseyfro7
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Wow. I love how they had to pick a conventionally unattractive picture of the Williams sister [come on, she's going after the ball. You know, in a tennis match? (And not in a beauty contest?)] for the article, like “See? She’s unattractive here! Who wants to see that?!” Oh, sexism. You’re so unflattering.

  17. dangerfield
    Posted July 2, 2009 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    The reason its racist is because the definition of attractiveness used is appeal to the white-male gaze (not coincidentally the default patriarchal beauty standard for a television audience, especially that of the US, the UK and the european continent–the main media market for wimbledon). It isn’t that Samhita is implying women of color are less attractive, but that the female tennis players being promoted to centre court in spite of their rank fit this artificial definition of beauty–by size, skin color and body type–better than the more talented players they are being selected ahead of (who are still beautiful by many, many standards and to many different audiences).

  18. bukowski
    Posted July 2, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Ok, then let’s compare apples to apples. Serena Williams is much hotter than Venus Williams. Almost everyone would agree. Advertisers agree as well.
    It’s too late now, since Wimbledon is almost over, but what would you say if Serena were chosen to play Centre Court over Venus? If it hasn’t happened in this tournament, it has probably happened in the past.
    You all cry racism, yet there are only 2 non-white, non-Hispanic players that I know of. Latina players (one of the women mentioned with “box office appeal” is from Argentina) get Centre Court if they meet those certain standards.
    Tennis is a business just like any other. In fact, female players benefit from the revenue dollars brought in by those less talented, more attractive players. It increases revenue, advertising, and consequently players’ incomes. So instead of being angry over this development, those less attractive female players should be high-fiving the hotter ones (who would otherwise bring very little marginal revenue to the tournament.) It’s similar to the Tiger Effect in golf where golf tournament payouts increased dramatically because of all the attention Tiger brought to the game; it’s just that women’s tennis gets much more attention because of their short hemlines. Women’s tennis is popular not because of the competition but because people like to see scantily-clad women grunting at each other on the court.
    So women’s tennis players can’t complain, and neither can you all, unless those players want to forgo the benefit of the attention and money they get from the overall “hotness” of women’s tennis. I bet they’d give up their feminist ideals for a higher income anyday.
    http://chuckross.blogspot.com/2009/07/feminists-on-centre-court-serena.html

  19. inyd
    Posted July 3, 2009 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    You all cry racism, yet there are only 2 non-white, non-Hispanic players that I know of. Latina players (one of the women mentioned with “box office appeal” is from Argentina) get Centre Court if they meet those certain standards.
    While I agree with the facts in this statement, I don’t think this is a particularly logical rebuttal of dangerfield’s point. In her post, she points out that these standards themselves are racially discriminatory. You haven’t addressed that at all.
    Tennis is a business just like any other. In fact, female players benefit from the revenue dollars brought in by those less talented, more attractive players. [...] I bet they’d give up their feminist ideals for a higher income anyday.
    In this case, why does women’s tennis “need” this type of promotion to increase revenue? Why do women need to comply with certain male-devised beauty standards to gain popularity? Why are women’s sports in general underfunded comparing to men’s sports? There is sexism in sports, even though some women players do benefit financially from it.

  20. bukowski
    Posted July 3, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    In her post, she points out that these standards themselves are racially discriminatory.
    So, what men happen to find attractive, in general, is racist now? Or perhaps, the women that are put on Centre Court happen to come closest to the model of ideal beauty for men.
    If Rihanna played tennis, or Halle Berry, I’m sure she’d get Centre Stage billing.
    In this case, why does women’s tennis “need” this type of promotion to increase revenue?
    Because if people wanted to watch tennis just for the sake of tennis, they’d be much more interested in men’s matches since those matches feature more skillful players moving at higher speeds. This is one reason that the WNBA has no following.
    Why do women need to comply with certain male-devised beauty standards to gain popularity?
    First off, these aren’t male-devised beauty standards. Why was “Baywatch” so popular across so many countries in the 1990s? Because Pamela Anderson fulfilled some sort of objective beauty ideal. But you all can’t admit that there is an objective standard because your arguments fall on their face.
    So, men are cursed. We can’t help but turn our heads when a pretty woman walks by. We’ll stop clicking the remote if a good looking chick is on the TV screen as well. And women in general benefit from this “curse”.
    Last night, my girlfriend told me a story about how she was in line buying lunch one day. She forgot her debit card and couldn’t pay. A man in line behind her paid her lunch for her. Now, this would never happen mano y mano. Women benefit in *so many* ways from their attractiveness. The sad truth is that ugly women (just like socially passive men) lose out in the rat race. Stop trying to equalize everything for God’s sake. Let nature happen.
    Why are women’s sports in general underfunded comparing to men’s sports?
    Are we talking on the professional level? If so, it’s because women’s sports are less profitable (except for tennis which proves my point). Why watch Anika Sorenstam and Loren Ochoa when you can watch Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods? Why watch Lisa Leslie when you can watch Kobe? Why watch Anna Kournikova and Maria Sharapova instead of Federer or Nadal? Well, because the women are nice to look at, and this has led to parallel funding and revenue for women’s tennis.
    *But*, strip clubs, bordellos, and prostitutes (the female version) are exponentially more well-funded, so you make up for it.

  21. Marcy Webb
    Posted July 4, 2009 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    Well, Serena is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, not to mention a world-class athlete and an all-around class act. Besides, as far as I am concerned, when Serena or Venus aren”t playing, there is really no point in watching. Lots of folks believe this – White and of color.

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