Monday, November 19, 2007

A note to Sports Illustrated

Dear Sports Illustrated editors:

Here's a news flash: Justine Henin isn't a sportsman. Neither are Paula Radcliffe, Heather O'Reilly or Lorena Ochoa. They cannot be men because they are women. How difficult is it to say "sportswoman"? What century are you publishing in?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

my cat looks just like ur cat! :O except for a few more white bits.

-Dan

Diane said...

Don't you love torties, Dan? She's my second one--the other one was a brindle.

Velma has the full tortie personality: attitude, very affectionate, spooked over almost anything.

The Tennis Hacker said...

Have you ever heard about epitomology? Historically, certain words have been used to include both men and women. It is not a put-down of women, just a way of speaking.

ken said...

Dear Tennis Hacker,
Ever heard of patriarchy? You know, that's the system all this allegedly neutral language was created under.

The Tennis Hacker said...

A brilliant come-back and thanks for posting, it was worth the laugh. But the point stands: no women are harmed by using the word sportsman. (BTW, does patriachy means my mom can no cook and my father can no longer work?)

Diane said...

Hacker, women and girls are harmed every time we are left out. How would you feel if all sports people were called "sportswomen"? Would you be comfortable with being called a sportswoman? Would you be comfortable with having someone always say "how are you gals doing?" when approaching you and your male buddies?

There are two reasons that terms such as "sportsman" were created to refer to everyone:

1. For centuries, it didn't occur to anyone to believe that a female could participate in sports (or in much of anything), and after that, it was considered improper if she did. It is still considered improper by many, especially those who restrict how a female must "act" is she is to play sports and be "feminine." At any rate, there was no need to have a term for women athletes because they did not exist in the eyes of the ruling culture.

2. Women and girls are sometimes referred to as men (as in "sportsman," "policeman," etc.) because it is understood that there is male priority in all of society's roles and therefore, the term "man" covers everyone.

But it is does not. Because such male priority is not an observable fact; it is the result of generations of bigotry. The same faulty reasoning is used by people who say "Men created most of the world's great art" without considering that women were not allowed to draw or paint or exhibit their work, and if they did, they did so under male names.

Calling me a man does hurt, because I am a woman. More evolved publications would not dream of calling Henin a sportsman. SI is not being historic; it is being sexist.

The Tennis Hacker said...

Please join me in my new campaign against Sports Illustrated: Men should have equal billing as women in the swimsuit issue.

Anonymous said...

sorry...back to the torti cat. I didn't know they all spook easily!?!? I thought that "flufy" (our torti) was just a little "pussy". :P

- Dan

Anonymous said...

that's "fluffy" *typo :)