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August 17, 2012

Pigskin Feminism??? Not in New York (or Sunnyvale, CA)

So I read this today, and I’m not sure that I came away from it with the same thing everyone else did.

The article, in short for those not interested in reading it, talks about LSU’s “Honey Badger” (Tyrann Mathieu), his dismissal from the football program and a former LSU players attempts to mentor (and later, even reach) him in an effort to help him get his life together.

The article turned, for me, when LaRon Landry (the former Tiger and currently playing for the NFL’s New York Jets describe his feelings for being ignored as follows:

“Don’t treat me like a female.”

Clearly, this is not what I (or, I suspect, most of my regular readers) would call “good form.” Connotatively speaking, denotatively speaking… any old “atively” speaking this is offensive, unevolved and (depending on the intent of the speaker) entering into the realm of misogyny.

This piece might turn, for you, with what I am about to say… because while I don’t hold harmless LaRon Landry, I choose to focus my attention and disappointment on Yahoo Sports and the articles author Eric Adelson.

I can completely see where, why and how that comment could come out of Mr Landry’s mouth. Fact of the matter is, I’m a bit (pleasantly) surprised the last word was what it was. Again, that is not to condone it. If I were to send a message directly to LaRon it would be along the lines of:

“clean up your own back yard before you worry about that of your neighbor. If you can’t be bothered to speak respectfully about half the world… I’m pretty sure I don’t want you trying to influence *ANYONE* let alone someone who is already clearly struggling with his role in society.”

… but that doesn’t prevent me from understanding the world he lives in and how there might not be an automatic filter that says “oh wait… I shouldn’t say that” let alone a base mind set the precludes even having the thought.

Yahoo and Mr. Adelson enjoy no such quarter from me. They not only should know better, they not only have staff editors etc. that should also know better (an entire system built around massaging their message to the point that it is maximized for profit), but they are, as members of a mass media outlet, a big part of the reason we have these types of stereotypes in the first place.

I spent a good part of this year traveling back and forth to Wickenberg Arizona where a family member was an in-patient resident of a eating disorder treatment center. Why? Partly because our society… our media… shapes the images our children have of themselves and the people around them.

What does “Don’t treat me like a female” say, if not, “I am a man and therefore deserve better treatment” “this would be fine if I were an inferior woman, but i’m not and therefore it is not” etc. etc. etc. Once more, I do not believe Landry meant it that way (or at least to that degree), but that’s still what it says (and if you read the article, and it didn’t cause you a moments pause, congratulations… you too have been indoctrinated into societies little game).

Back to Yahoo, Eric and the article. I have read it about three times now in full (more after to pull out the quote etc.) and what is abundantly clear to me is that while saying that may have added meaning and aided understanding regarding Mr Landry’s position during the interview process… it added nothing of value to the article. go back and read it again (or for the first time), omitting that sentence/paragraph. Guess what…nothing about the article changes…other than its (un?)witting assault on women.

Yet, they, the fine literary minds at Yahoo, elected to keep it in there, and kick that can just a little further down the road. Inexcusable.

It might not be a hate crime, but for a professional media outlet I would hope there would be a higher bar than “not outright misogyny.”

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