Friday, June 27, 2008

Didn't we just go through all this with the election?

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post, who originally wrote about Justin Gimelstob's misogynistic radio rant, just cannot figure out why poor Justin is being chastised.

One comment poster at the New York Daily News likened the so-called sanctions (more like a wink and a nudge) to the goings-on of Communist China and the Communist U.S.S.R. against its enemies. Another poster even thought it was disgraceful that the virtue of "honesty" was being destroyed. That one is at least original--almost all of Gimelstob's other defenders insist he did not mean any of what he said.

One woman commented on a blog that she can no longer call herself a feminist (oh, dear) if this is the kind of thing with which feminism concerns itself.

Here are some things to think about for those (including fake feminists) who have obviously never in their lives thought about them before:

"Trash talk" is not harmless; it normalizes hate speech and teaches children that hate speech is acceptable.

Gimelstob, in his original "apology," edited by Tennis Channel, World Team Tennis, etc., made it clear that what he said about Kournikova was not trash talk, anyway--that he really does hate her.

If Gimelstob hates Kournikova, it may be classless for him to talk about it on the radio or it may be exciting, but he could have discussed her personality and failings as a human without hurling a gender insult at her, and without creating a sexually violent metaphor with which to attack her. When you attack a person's gender, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, etc., you are attacking everyone of that gender, race, etc. You are also a bigot. When you display your violent sexual fantasies in public, you are kind of scary.

If you despise someone or have no respect for her, you can find plenty of things to say about her character, her personality, her associations, her history. But no matter how much you hate her, it is still inappropriate to attack her gender.

Pointing out your opinions about WTA players' bodies on a radio program is both sexist and crass.

Suggesting that you consider a woman so much trash but you would receive pleasure from having your brother have sex with her is both sexist and sick. It also implies a strong adherence to the ridiculous sexual double standard (what a surprise), and it reeks of misogyny.

When you have been making sexist comments for years, neither you nor your apologists should be surprised that many women and men finally insist that you stop.

A public figure does not represent only himself, but every organization with which he is involved or who pays him. In Gimelstob's case, that would include Tennis Channel, World Team Tennis, Tennis Warehouse, Wilson, and other entitites. World Team Tennis was founded by Billie Jean King, for god's sake, who risked her entire career to bring about some semblance of gender equality in sports. To be part of the orgainzation she founded and say humiliating things about women is beyond cheeky.

"Jokes" about gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., are usually clumsily masked expressions of hostility.

Taking one small quotation and saying "oh come on, it's not such a big deal," while ignoring the other dozen things Gimelstob said (not to mention years' worth of demeaning comments about women)--not only about Kournikova, but about other members of the tour--is neither rational nor honest.

4 comments:

Noticed said...

Thank you for your coverage of this issue.

It's sad that now Gimelstob's hateful speech is being viewed as positive press for WTT. It goes to show how acceptable misogynist language is in our media.

Diane said...

You're welcome, noticed. Come by any time.

U said...

Diane, can I send you one article on your e-mail?

Diane said...

I'm sorry, U, I only just saw your comment. I no longer have a blog email address because it was just a big spam catch-all. If you have a website or blog that has an email address, post the url here and I'll send you my personal email address at your website or blog. If not, if the article is online, could you just post the url and I'll be sure to read it.

If it isn't online and you were planning to scan it and send it to me, and you don't have a blog or website...one thing you can do is post a secondary email here, and I'll be sure to erase it from the blog asap, after I've copied it.