Tag Archives: respect
August 21, 2008 I’m not sure how comfortable I am with a white guy telling Usain Bolt to have ‘more respect’
So I’m no expert, but I watched Usain Bolt’s 200m race today. Fucking sensational. The man was victorious, yes, there was dancing, revelling, gesturing, “I am number one” into the camera that sort of thing. I read it as utter joy.
Then I look at the SMH and see the IOC Chief Jacques Rogge is telling the media that Bolt is a great athlete, yes, but needs to “learn to show more respect”. I don’t think he was disrespectful at all, victorious, yes, and “Hell YEAH I’m awesome” – but he is. Fuck, did you SEE HIM???
And I don’t like the message it sends when a white dude, the head of the IOC comes out telling the world that Bolt ought not to enjoy his victory quite so much, that he should have performed humility better, that he ought to “show more respect”. I’m just not sure why he felt it necessary to say this at all, or in a public way rather than in person to Bolt if he thought it was that necessary. Have there been similar remarks to the male white swimmers known for their “Grrrrr! Gonna EAT YA in my victory, could smash ya HEAD IN if I wanted to?” poses and posturing? What makes Bolt’s behaviour so different that it warranted a public wrist smack? It just reeks from where I’m sitting of idiotic white paternalism and insensitivity.
I don’t like the message it sends today to tell children of colour – any children – that a black athlete in their moment of glory ought to show the level of humility judged appropriate by old white dudes.
So over at Hoyden About Town, there’s been a comment thread relating to this post on the discrepancies between the male and female uniforms for many Olympic sports. It discusses the fact that it cannot be reduced to performance issues if the men do not wear similarly small and tight fitting attire. It also began by discussing the cropping of the image of a Brazillian beach volleyball player (female of course) so that the picture in the Sydney Morning Herald was of this players arse…almost up it you might say giving us the chance to study exactly how well she’d taken care of her ‘Brazilian’ waxing.
So before you all get sidetracked into “clearly Fuckpoliteness you have a problem with the human body” and such claptrap – the point of this post, AND of that over at Hoydens is NOT that bodies are a problem, is NOT that nudity, or near nudity is a problem, it is the fact that this is *required* of female athletes in contrast to what is required of male athletes. That world class female athletes due only to the fact that they are female are *required* by the dress codes to subject themselves to the male gaze, to submit to being seen as a sex object first and an athlete second (bikinis are *required* to be no more than the maximum allowable fabric thankyou) purely in order to play the sport at which they are the best in the world. Ok? So if we’re going to argue, let’s argue about *that* and not some imaginary scenario where it’s about prudishness. I like bums, boobs and bodies in general just as much as the next person.
So. Some of the comments went into the ‘personal choice’ and ‘personal freedom’ arguments. Like “you should be GLAD you are ALLOWED to wear skimpy stuff”. First, we are not talking about being allowed to, we are talking about being required to. There is a big difference. As tig tog noted in her comment on the thread at Hoyden, Indian beach volleyball players refused to wear the bikinis - but the only reason these women could refuse the lycra and play in loose clothing like the men is because the rules allow “a change in the dress code out of respect for the religious, cultural and ethical sentiments of participating countries”. Not the women themselves mind you, only their country. So you can’t just say “No thanks, I’d like a pair of baggy shorts as I can’t be arsed with the waxing and I’m sick of sand wedgies”. As one commenter at Hoydens said cheekily
So if I’m a professional athlete, I can’t get out of wearing sexy clothes unless I’m religious?
“sky daddy says I can’t wear revealing outfits” is the only excuse to get out of it??
So there is no individual choice at stake here when the rules require it and the only way you can get out of it without being disqualified is if your *country* has certain beliefs about the appropriateness of the teeny tiny bikinis and therefore the *whole* team objects. If you have a problem – tough shit. Suck it up my friend, if you didn’t want to be ogled and wanked over, you shouldn’t have tried to play sport…what do you think you are, a man? And if you’re gonna keep whinging, well guess what, you’re off the team, just like that. You could be the shit hottest of the shit hot, but if you won’t do the bikini then you don’t get to play.
Further there is some discussion of the fact that women’s sports are being told that to ensure an audience sufficient to keep them on the tele, they need to sex it on up cos (so the logic goes) (hetero) men watch the sport, (gay men and women apparently lack the Sport Appreciation Gene) and (hetero) men like the tits and arse and require that ALL (with the exception of any they deem to be ew yuck) tits and arse be on display at ALL times, ergo, since (hetero) men are apparently all unrefined apes, we simply must combine the mandated twin (hetero) male passions of SPORT SPORT SPORT and FHM models into one, and (hetero) men might continue to watch you enough that we can lower ourselves to keep your silly “pretending at sports” on tele. Of course no one bothers question whether or not men are in fact not all great neanderthals who must must must have their beer, steak, misogyny and rough-house sportwatching all together at once. No one bothers to say to those neanderthals who DO think all this is A-OK with THEM (and who are only concerned with their own happiness) “Hey dudes, women playing sport? It’s not about your cocks”. No no, women will give way and accomodate…that’s what they’re supposed to do right? So where were we?? Oh yeah, that’s right, it’s all down to the individual choices of the individual women.
You know even if you could get me soundbites of every friggin beach volleyball player ever to say “I LOVE the bikini”, given it’s mandated, given women know the marketing pressure they’re under, given that women were little girls who learned VERY quickly that no matter what they do in their life nothing will win them quite as much glory as being deemed Teh Hot Chik and they are allowed to be acknowledged as excelling when and only when they’re hot enough to excuse their audacity – I don’t buy that it’s all explained away and made ok by recourse to the mantra of ”individual choice”.
Because even where individual players are ok with the bikini wearing it doesn’t *stop there* does it? Have you heard the commentators? Continual comments on the looks and vulnerability of the female athletes, on their social lives, calling them ‘girls’, talking about how when their mums aren’t there you just wanna give them a hug. Not only are female athletes *required* to dress to display every part of their body, but they are apprehended as ‘sweet pretty girls’ first and athletes second. (Bring on the counter examples of the weightlifters, I defy you…you know that counterexamples where you mock a woman’s *lack* of acceptable femininity don’t disprove that the commentary of women as decoration, objects of vulnerability, bearers of warm smiles that light up the nations hearts, the continual commenting on appearance, and *judging* femininity favourably or unfavorably and calling grown women, athletes top of their field ‘girls’ is an issue right?)
THEN we have the issue of EVEN if individual athletes are ok, even happy with being rated and assessed and often demeaned in such ways (please see Gold Diggers picture on my previous post – women who kick the arse of prior world record holders don’t win/achieve/earn gold…they do what women do and they DIG IT) what of the rest of society and the effects it has on us to keep reinforcing that women are for our visual appreciation/children/SEXAYYYY first, and anything else much much later…I mean really….what of the fact that every other woman (in fact every other man woman and child) in Australia is currently being subjected to the salivating lewd boring comments designed to signal one manly man to another how WELL you perform your manly masculinity over “Heheh…beach volleyball…hehe…hi five hot chicks for us…shall we wank to a porn video later” style comments.
I mean fucking REALLY??? Wow, you are just so UNIQUE for noticing and appreciating the oh so rare sight of young thin hairfree chicks in bikinis. It’s not just that you dig this image, I don’t give a good goddamn flying fuck what gets you off. Really. It’s that you think it’s ok to subject these and all other women to it, it’s that you don’t acknowledge that women are every day subjected to your bonehead assessing and ranking over where they fall ACCORDING TO YOU on the I’d Bone Her Scale.
You appear here not to be *getting* the difference – that you don’t have to perform and be judged in these same ways, not getting the links between this pervocracy and sexual violence against women, so where a woman performs the HOTNESS she is required to perform to a sufficient standard – if she actually does what is required of her – then if she gets raped it’s kind of *her fault* for provoking the dude, you don’t seem to get for a moment that you can wear as much or as little clothing as you like without thinking for a second that should YOU bare skin YOU would be considered to have been ‘asking’ to be raped).
I mean we have to deal with this every friggin day ANYWAY (see discussions HERE at Hoyden regarding the social pressures on women to look ‘good’ if they don’t want to be ignored in every aspect of their life) and we have to put up with bullshit double standards/harrasments/whatever reaction men *feel like* having to every woman who walks past/dares to exist. And NOW we have to sit around as if we’re not there while you bond with one another in our presence over how hot *those chicks* are, (all the rest being invisible and not worth worrying about offending) how awesome it is for you that their sport means more perving for you, how *mmm mm mmmmm nekkid chicks are ALL for me*…anyway. I’m tired now.
If you can’t have any goddamned respect for the athletes, or for the women in your life/at your workplace just COS they’re women, nay because they are living breathing humans, let’s indulge in the age old “imagine it’s your daughter” routine…imagine a/ your daughters being commented on like that, imagine b/ what it does to your daughter to hear others, or indeed you audibly objectifying/rating/comparing and swapping women and your Great Shared Ladder of Bonability in front of them…imagine what you’re doing to your sons…oh fuck. Just stop being such dicks and have a think about it for once eh?
[See also this discussion at Larvatus, the post is great, and is being engaged with/dismissed out of hand to varying degrees depending on the commentor]
So for a long time now I’ve been thinking about doing this kind of blog, political rants and arguments, hopefully amusing.
One of the things that put me off (apart from my aforementioned laziness) was the issue of safety. A friend of a friend had a left wing blog/website, and was copping some pretty nasty death threats from Neo Nazi groups. There were a few stories in the media about arrests of Neo Nazis and death threats they’d made to left wing writers.
Now on the one hand I don’t flatter myself that my writing is of any particular significance. On the other hand – these dudes appear to be crazy and I don’t think they weigh things up on a rational basis…before deciding you should die.
So – anyway, one of my concerns was keeping my anonymity. Which I think I may already have blown. But this is beside the point. It got me to thinking…left wing people are always portrayed as radical and dangerous, and yet – and feel free to contradict me with some evidence – you so rarely hear of left wing death threats against right wing writings.
And also there’s something about how left or right wing the writings need to be before attracting threats of violence. A left wing blog joking around and taking the piss out of current politics, and advocating zany ideas like “Hey kids, discrimination ain’t cool” garners significant numbers of scary loonies making nasty threats. A similar level of “right wing-ness” to me would be most mainstream news articles whereby anyone claiming that there has been a whitewash of history is derided as being a lunatic, as deluded…or am I crazy?
Actually, you know that’s even *more* right wing. The left wing argument that everyone should have access to fundamental services and be treated with respect is, it would appear to me, rational, inoffensive and doesn’t harm anyone. The right wing news article slamming anyone who contests official history is offensive to those writers/academics who have challenged the dominant view (in that they are being called stupid/ignorant/deluded etc), and more importantly is massively disrespectful to the stories of those people challenging the dominant stories of history, who are asking to be heard, and for their experiences to be recognized.
So…getting back to the point…take these two as equivalent (even thought they are not equivalent in their impact and offensiveness and the reach of their ideas, and that’s another point worthy of its own post)… there are death threats leveled at the left wing group. But when’s the last time you heard of one of the many, many right wing “opinions” columnists or “historians” (ahem) – who slag off those daring to challenge the dominant stories of national history – being bombarded with death threats by a left wing group?
Now I’m sure there are isolated incidences, but it seems that right wing groups are much more interested in menace as a tactic, than left wing groups. And yet everyone panics at a left wing protest.
So to take a reasonable point and reduce it to a smart arse one liner – is this the evidence we’ve all been waiting for? That right wing=crazy fuckers?? Are they, as a group statistically more inclined to be a little bit ‘insane in the membrane’? Well, sorry kids, I’ve got no conclusion. Just like starting arguments. For that to happen I’d actually have to have a reader or two. Perhaps I should alert the nearest Neo Nazi group. Anyway, on a completely unrelated and tangential note:(the LOTR reference in the title is the link) check out the link below if you’re interested. A vid of Legolas and Aragorn set to “Hungry Eyes” - so, so good. It’s a romance meant to be. Epic. Oh boy, now that would be a vid worth watching. Gonna go ponder that some more and leave you to check it out (or not) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbstkXowlAc Hope the link works, as previously mentioned, not great with tech stuff