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I think the dilemma in the #metoo era over Kobe Bryant’s reputation is a very interesting one. I think we can offer him redemption for the mistakes he’s made. I think we can see that he asked for forgiveness and that he loved his daughters and supported them with all his heart.
I think men can be victims of rape culture and kind of unknowingly commit acts of transgression on others. I think this has been a consequence of the patriarchal world we live in. Men have felt entitled to do as they please without concern for the ‘lesser’ for literally most of history.
As a bartender at a neighborhood sports bar, I get asked pretty often if I enjoy watching sports. I can’t say I hate them. I think the human spirit and the strength and agility that comes into being a professional athlete is immense and to be respected. I also think the football players’ butts are cute and the ladies’ tennis outfits are adorable.
However, I also think about several other things when I watch sports. (Usually what is on television at the bar are male dominated sports…but aren’t all sports male dominated?).
These men get paid so much damn money. What women and how many of them get anything near what these guys make? Sure, women are making incredible strides, but they have to work so much harder to make a name for themselves.
These men are physically sacrificing themselves for their sport and for the love of the game and for their financial gain. How much are they sacrificing mentally or emotionally? Aaron Hernandez sacrificed his education, his mental health, and his romantic and platonic relationships because the game was more important.
What good do these men do for society besides offering a source of entertainment and ultimately fluff when it comes to the commoner’s day-to-day? Is that a problem or not? Is that good enough?
Do these men do any charity for their community? Do they do enough? Are they inspiring young athletes and the poorest of the poor to go after their dreams?
Is there a corollary between the physical prostitution of professional sports and the physical pawnage of the military?
When people ask if I like sports, I usually ask them in return if they really want to know what I think about when I watch sports….
If men can, so to speak, prostitute themselves, physically sacrificing themselves for entertainment or the advantage of weaponry, and be respected and honored for it, then why can a woman not strip or offer her sexual services to men for exorbitant amounts of money and get respect and honor for it? Or get paid outright for having children and ultimately giving birth to these able bodied men? Yes, maybe that’s what alimony is, but we shouldn’t have to divorce a man to be taken care of financially. If a man makes extreme amounts of money for sacrificing his body, why can’t a woman? Why is she shamed for 1. not wanting to be a mother and making money from her sexy appearance? 2. using her head and not her sexy appearance to her advantage? Even men when using their bodies for their sexual appeal are more respected than women who do it. Look at drag queens. Women can’t strut on stage in the same manner as a gay man without being slightly judged. Burlesque is becoming more accepted but it’s always had a slightly seedy reputation. Why?
The patriarchy wants to be in control over how we use our sexuality to our advantage, and it usually ends up ultimately being to our disadvantage.
This is what I think about when I watch sports.