While I was at a poker party with some friends on Saturday night, (I came in second place. No big deal.) the conversation turned to the Olympics. I haven't been watching, so I remained fairly silent. But then, one of the guys, who I just met that night, started commenting on the appearance of female athletes. (That's the nicest way I know how talk about the bile, hate and sexism spewing from his mouth.) He was talking about the women competing in judo and how "no one would ever have sex with them." Now these comments came directly after a Facebook rant I had on Friday about the way the media and the public are talking about female Olympians' bodies. So, let's just say, I was more than a little annoyed. (Somehow I thought the people I surround myself with were above such things. Silly me. Sexism is EVERYWHERE!)
So anyway here, in full, is my response... which I so wish I had articulated at the time.
Hey douche bag.
A) Just because these amazing women don't fit into your incredibly narrow idea of what is beautiful, doesn't mean there aren't men or women out there who would gladly take them to bed.
And B) What the hell does how sexually desirable they are have to do with their ability to perform as athletes? Their appearance should count for very little. They aren't competing in a beauty pageant after all. They're at the Olympics! That means that these women are the best in their sport. So, I'm pretty sure when they're out there competing for a medal, their thoughts aren't on the fact that their muscles and strength are turning off men who are too insecure to date women that can beat them to a pulp. No. They're probably focusing on the podium that's within their reach. It's really too bad there isn't a competition for douche bags so you could have a podium to focus on.
And last but not least, C) Who the hell are you to talk about women that way? You're sitting back watching the Olympics from a lazy boy chair with a beer in hand. You're definitely not an Olympic athlete worthy of all the respect in the world. No. You're just a jerk who values women only for their bodies and the sexual satisfaction they can give you. Maybe you should take five seconds to think about the fact that these women might deserve recognition for a little more than their looks. Like, maybe, their strength, their skills and their achievements?
I wish my rant could end here, but as you can see from the photo above, I need to drag the Gabby Douglas haters into this. I don't know if you-all have been paying attention to the social media assault that took place after Gabby won gold, but I have and I'm appalled. Here's the lowdown. Basically, jealous and hateful men and women who only value women for their physical appearance hit Twitter with some hella rude comments about Gabby and her "nappy hair". Yup, that happened. Apparently the public feels that for an athlete to be competing in London, they first need to get their hair did. Actually, scratch that. They think that women do. Because, you know, your ability to perform athletically hinges on how good you look.
Truth be told, I think people care less about a woman's ability to win a medal than they care about what she looks like while doing it. People would rather see swimsuit models (which is often how female Olympians are treated anyway) than women with muscles or women who sweat or women who choose to put their hair in a ponytail. This is just another way for our misogynistic society to hold women back. The more we're tied to what we look like, the less respect we get. And let me tell you, I am sick of it.
The only thing I can say is thank goodness there have been media reports and blog posts slamming this treatment and bringing attention to this blatant sexism.
I just hope that the women being targeted are able to look beyond these hateful comments and relish in their achievements.