Sunday, May 30, 2010

And this is the player who's promoting gender equality?

"Some of the tennis girls, they’re sluts. They go with every guy and make such a bad name for themselves--and you don’t want to be known for stuff like that. You want to be more discreet."

Thank you, Laura Robson, for using your considerable public platform to perpetuate the tired patriarchal sexual double standard. Are you also going to give us a lecture on the "tennis guys" who "go with every girl" and are therefore "sluts"?

I didn't think so. And even if you did, that would still be a a boldly judgmental take on the personal preferences of others.

Robson is very young, and one is tempted to say that--when she is older--she will realize what a sexist remark she made. But the odds against such a realization are overwhelming because when it comes to the sexual double standard--nothing has changed since the 1950s. A U.S. study done a few years revealed that  university women who even asked men out were considered "sluts." Robson is a product of her culture, and her culture--like mine--is always ready to label as a "slut" a woman who dares to make sexual choices that men are permitted to make with no fuss.

Robson, with her ready wit, is generally a breath of fresh air. But if she is going to promote gender equality and female empowerment, then she needs to help create a non-sexist culture for girls, not attack them because they don't meet an oppressive cultural standard designed to keep women from making choices about their own lives.


Sunny MS said...

I agree Diane. Men's choices and what they are called are more neutral than women. Apparently we are still in a culture where women should behave a certain way but men are free to do as they please. But be it men or women they are free to make their own lifestyle choices. Robson's judgement is not just sexist, but it drags down the WTA tour which has enough problems just focusing on the women as athletes.

Anonymous said...

Robson has her own views and chose to express them publicly. That's her choice. You seem to be saying that if she supports female empowerment, she needs to forsake HER views and adopt YOURS. That doesn't sound very empowering to me. In fact, it sounds pretty oppressive.

Sunny MS said...

Yeah, people are free to say what they want but you did the same thing you accused me of doing. You made a judgement about what I said, saying it was oppressive. I made a judgement about what Robson said-no difference. My problem is the possible consequences to what Robson said. Empowerment, feminism or whatever, should empower actions and speech. Robson's speech did not empower the actions of women vis a vis men and the choices either makes. But yeah, she has the right to say whatever she wants. THe only thing else I would say is that there does exist a pretty good consensus on what is female empowerment. I fail to see how you empower women by limiting their choices of lifestyle.

Diane said...

There is no way on Earth that supporting the double sexual standard "empowers" women. Robson can't say she's empowering females when--out of the other side of her mouth--she's oppressing them.

Again, Robson is very young and not expected to say mature things. But those who are more mature than Robson are also quite content to judge the sexual choices of women differently than they do the sexual choices of men, and that never seems to change. No one talks about the "sluts" on the ATP tour; those individuals are called "studs." (And I repeat, I don't think anyone's sexual choices are ever "wrong" unless they hurt others or involve children.) What difference does it make if uncommitted adults choose to have varied experiences?

If it's "oppressive" to point out completely contradictory messages (I'm softening this because Robson is so young), then I'm happy to be "oppressive."

Anonymous said...

So glad you've highlighted Laura Robson's hugely sexist comments. I found myself feeling so angry reading this in a newspaper this morning - a mouthy teenager being given a platform to drag down the wta tour and alienate a large chunk of her female fans. Perhaps someone can explain to her what 'gender equality' actually means seeing as she's supposedly promoting it.
She's really embarrassed herself here.

Sunny nine (formerly known as Sunny MS formerly known as Sunny-I still find people on other blogs with the same name) said...

Thanks for what you said. You said it better than I tried to. I was upset and didn't want that emotion to come across in the wrong way.

Sunny nine said...

I've changed my moniker because I found another Sunny MS so on we go to my third moniker.

Diane said...

You're welcome, Sunny; I understand.

The thing is, I totally adore Laura Robson's mouth. When her handlers were telling her to shut it, I thought "no, no!" And I still feel that way. Most of the things she has said are quite witty, or at least deliciously silly. I don't want her to change her personality; I just want her--as Anon says--to get her consciousness raised. (Then maybe she could use her mouth to help the tour raise it's consciousness.)

Anonymous said...

I'm probably just echoing other's thoughts, but it's not surprising that some world class athletes have world class libidos.

Maybe the bigger question might be what is wrong with laura robinson to provoke this comment on other people's personal lives.