Tag Archive: super-bowl


An annual tradition…superbowl.

Let’s put up an example…a scenario if you will. Let’s pretend (it’s not a far stretch) a young 10-12 year old girl is sitting with her family to watch the supwerbowl. When the following things happen, it’s acceptable and it’s normal.

An annual tradition….sexism at the superbowl. Sexism with the cheerleaders. (Yeah, they are wearing those skimpy clothes to get the fans to cheer. Really?  It’s the superbowl. These are tickets people save for years to get, or do it one time in their life. This isn’t a high school game where nobody is cheering….this is the biggest football game in the US. There’s no excuse for them to be dressed like that except to show off their body parts.) Sexism with the half time show. (Do we really need to show women dancing around in lingerie and strip club gear? Does this have anything to do with entertainment…or does it have to do with showing women as mere body parts again. Plus, women are ok with it…those women are, so it must be acceptable.) Finally sexism in the commercials.

Our friends at the Date safe project have written a post on those commercials:

http://www.datesafeproject.org/2013/sex-tv-commercials-and-the-super-bowl/?inf_contact_key=d4fd3a466116799df8a2b26ea630a68b02c40aa8bb976342113ca380beb5a64d

Check it out.

Now, let’s get back to our 10-12 year old girl.  What did her society, media, parents, youtube, friends, and the news all say….that was a great game, and the performances were unbelievably great.

Girl heard: This is how to be a girl. This is what women do. This is how women dress. This is how women behave. This si what YOU are suppose to do.

Are you ok with that?

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Unless you grew up under or live under a rock, Super Bowl Sunday is likened to a national holiday and whether you celebrate it or not, you can’t help but know it’s coming. You can denounce Super Bowl Sunday all you want, but you can’t escape it. You can even go your entire life without watching one Super Bowl or attending one Super Bowl party, but you still can’t escape from it.  “Back in the day,” if you didn’t want anything to do with the Super Bowl you could just watch another tv station, go out to dinner, go to a movie, or in the most extreme cases barricade yourself in your house turn out the lights and pray that the game would be a complete and utter bore so the neighbors party would end soon and everything would go back to normal. In today’s world, there is no way to escape the Super Bowl even if you want to. With social media, you will get updates whether you want them or not and even be able to watch the commercials the day after.  It is a fact, that you will have friends, neighbors and co-workers who will update you with some trivial piece of information that means nothing in the bigger scope of the world.

Everyone whether they like it or not, can find something they enjoy with the Super Bowl. There are parties, alcohol, fabulous tasting homemade dips and desserts that will take a week on the treadmill just to burn off, and the hilarity of the conversations between friends supporting opposing teams. Then there is the pre-game show, the Star Spangled Banner that no one ever thinks is sung well enough, the half time show, crazy and hilarious commercials, and somewhere in there they play football.  As a woman, I can keep up with the best of them when it comes to calling the game. I’m the woman at the Super Bowl party that is not serving the food or asking the stereotypical girl questions to her boyfriend, “Now tell me again, who is the team in purple?” (As she cocks her head to the right and bats her eyes). As a woman, I can make a room full of men fall silent while they are busy debating what both teams have done wrong and why they basically suck, while I say something brilliant like, “If the quarterback would just take the snap and dive to the left of the center (called a quarterback sneak), then they would get the first down.” I’m also the woman who screams and damns the referee to hell when the foot was clearly in bounds.

sbHere’s the thing, though. I love football, but somehow over the course of time, I’ve learned to hate it and everything it stands for. We all are aware and have been since the beginning of the sport of the male role vs. the female role presented. The women are the cheerleaders and the men play the game. No one is blind to the obvious misogyny in the commercials…just look at this year’s Go Daddy.com commercial. Everyone recognizes the obvious violence in football.  (It’s a sport where people hit each other…that’s a no brainer).  None of that ever really bothered me until a few years ago when we started seeing women as reporters on the sideline. Everyone hailed it as a win for women. I did not. The woman on the sidelines is always beautiful, always thin, almost always blonde, and really just reports on the most recent injuries, the coach’s irritation with his own team, and the “atmosphere” of the crowd in the stadium. The men call the game. The men sit in the booth and report the stats and the men make a lot more money. Football more so than any other sport, is the epitome of violence, misogyny, and ego. It is modern day Rome.

Here’s another thing I learned. Much further away from the stadium, somewhere in someone’s home, is a woman and a man in an unhealthy and unstable relationship. With football comes an increased level of alcohol, gambling, yelling, and increased levels of testosterone. Images of sex and violence wrap the evening in a scene of tension. As it was explained to me once, “You don’t know what it’s like to pray for a team to win, when you really could care less about the outcome, just so he won’t take it out on you if they don’t.” This isn’t about hitting, because we always seem to jump straight to the extreme. This is about using sports as a reason to tear another person down. “My team didn’t win, so the house isn’t clean enough.” (Yeah that makes sense). “My team didn’t win, so we are going to have sex to prove I’m a man.” sb3(ummmm….o.k. like that’s going to change the outcome). “My team didn’t win and because I’m drunk, I’m going to find a reason to make this YOUR fault.” The house isn’t clean. The kids aren’t quiet. Dinner wasn’t good. You never do this, you never do that, you are always making my life miserable. For some, sports is an everything, always, and never proposition.

For some reason in this world of ours, sports is a bi-product of self-esteem. “If my team wins, then I get bragging rights for an entire year.” “If my team doesn’t win, then everything I am is worthless and always has been.” Entire communities will base their reputation on their sports team. We rally around the team and build it up. We will base our entire self-worth on the team we support. We base friendships on sports and billions of dollars dictate our mindset.

sb4I’m not sure I’ll ever completely give up football or some of the other sports I love to watch. I can’t however, close my eyes to the vile amounts of money we spend on them while we ignore our fellow man. I can’t ignore the fact that our world could be different if our priorities shifted to the love of each other vs. the love of a sports team. I absolutely can’t ignore the fact that there are men in this world whose own self-worth is so low, that they base their entire mindset on a 20 something quarterback and a ball. Last night when the 49ers missed the two-point conversion that would have tied the game with less than 10 minutes left, I can’t help but wonder how many cuss words were hurled, walls were hit, sports artifacts were thrown, and how many women sat on the couch praying for that ball to make it into the endzone.

 

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There is now compelling evidence that Domestic Violence education or at least gender equality education is needed for boys who are playing team sports, especially sports that are violent in nature (Rugby, football, lacrosse, etc).

It’s not a coincidence that football players (here in the US), Rugby players (in Australia and England), and LaCrosse players (in many countries – the most prolific case was the killing of Yeardly love in Virgina Tech) are the people are being accused and indicted for sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and attempted sexual assault and battery.

All of the following information comes from this article: http://www.xyonline.net/content/sport-athletes-and-violence-against-women

A few disturbing stats –

Violent sports team player make up less than 2% of the college campus population, but they make up over 20.2% of the sexual assault cases.

Players of violent team sports are 5.5 times more likely to engage in sexual assault activities where they are either part of or intimately know the act is happening.

But the question is why?

The following are cited as risk factors that promote this type of violence:

Male bonding – Although great for the team environment, it also increases the anti-girl view and belief, and a hyper-testosterone view of male and male privileged.

Aggressive sports – the team members are rewarded for their aggressive, “don’t take no for an answer” actions and responses.

Sexualization and subordination of women in sports – Most aggressive sports have women as “eye candy’ and nothing more, and usually in very little clothes depicting a lack of worth as people.  Also, these sports are not seen as “girl sports’ so they are seen as weaker and lack the same value as their male counterparts.

Celebrity Status and entitlement: This idea that you are “great” and should get anything you want because of your talents are translated into everything. It also increases and emphasizes the idea of male privileged.

Drug Abuse: Though it’s not an excuse, increased drug activity is seen as a risk factor for sexual assault and when mixed with the rest of these it is lethal.

Groupie mentality – There are many women who want to engage in sexual activities with these men, therefore all women are seen as these girls.

With education, all spurts teams and men on these teams can be educated that these ideas are wrong and need to remain on the sports field not in real life.

Let us remember – these are the same things that have killed and abused many wives of professional athletes.

Most recently, Kasandra M. Perkins was killed by her husband a Kansas Chiefs player right before he took his own life. As the news reports came out…they blamed the killing on drugs, mental illness, and anger issues – but all related to Domestic Violence, which there were multiple reports of. kasandra

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