Msnowe's Blog

Rise and Shine…

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on November 1, 2010

The Icebox is pissed

Approximate conversation from this weekend (while watching World Series Game 4):

Dude Friend: “You girls claim not to, but you sure do talk a lot about the appearance and attractiveness of sports players.”

Other Dude friend: “Yeah.”

Me: “But, that’s because we’re of the opposite sex. If we were watching women play sports, I bet–”

Dude friend: “Ha, ‘women playing sports.’ The only sports I watch with women in them are mud wrestling and gymnastics. ”

Me: [Sigh]

Which brings us to this new online magazine for high-school aged kids, created by ESPN. Oh, and don’t forget, they have a “girl” version too.

The regular ESPN Rise magazine has a lot of content–but most of the stories center around sports profiles of athletes (high school up to pro), conditioning best practices, training, recruitment tips, and other items of that ilk. The girl’s website has some of that, targeted at girls, but it also has stories like this one:

“The Choice Is Yours: Mope or Motivate”


“Battling it all: taking on a former teammate can be tricky, especially when she happens to be your friend. You can keep the tension to a minimum by staying focused on your side of the net.”

No where that msnowe could find on the “regular” Rise site was a story about staying besties with opposing team members. Are girls so uninformed and catty that they need this kind of advice? Apparently. msnowe played a shit ton of sports in high school, and not once did she worry about “friends” on the opposing team. You play fair, but hard, and there’s nothing to worry about –they aren’t your friend on the field. Duh.

But this story is just a sliver of the root of the problem with these websites. Like my friends and I watching “sports” on Sunday, men and women gather to watch professional sports, say the World Series. But, of course, we are watching men play. Although sports channels assume mostly men are watching, women watch, are knowledgable, and care about the games too. Largely, this is accepted (though made fun of through jokes about how women do not truly appreciate sports). Most women who love sports have learned to ignore this somewhat stereotypical chiding, and have risen above it (we even have some announcers now, and SportsCenter has some blond chick!).

BUT, women’s sports? If any of them are even professional, men aren’t supposed to want to watch them. They aren’t “for” them. They’re for other women, and perhaps effeminate men (which is the worst possible kind of man to homophobic sportsjerks). And so women are given their own space, but one notably devoid of men. msnowe isn’t saying that a male audience would legitimize female sports (they’re already legitimate), but it only seems fair that if women watch and consume male sports, males should be willing to support female sports (and not just the ones where they’re in bikinis or covered in mud). Women, to some extent, are nobler than men in this respect–they view sports (male and female) as such, and although they may comment on a man in terms of his viability as a sexual partner, they see these men first and foremost as athletes. Men, on the other hand, if made to watch, for example, softball or soccer, would (most likely) immediately sexualize the players, and any athletic talent would be a side comment to their jocular comments on bra size.

Which leads msnowe’s rant back to these two “separate but equal” web magazines. Fuck that, they’re not equal. And we can see that even by their very names. ESPN Rise, verses ESPN Rise GIRL. Basically, what that tells me and my fellow lady sports fans is–hey, you could read either, but this one is more for the fluffy stuff you care about that aren’t real sports topics; and it’s telling boys that they need not concern themselves with female sports. The fact that msnowe has to type “female” before sports pisses her off.  We’re happy that ESPN recognizes there are girls playing and caring about sports out there–we just think they’re using Title IX the wrong way.