Sunday, July 03, 2005

Softball players--the marrying kind?

I tuned in briefly last night to watch a taped game between the US national softball team and team Australia. I probably watched only 2-3 innings total but in that time I found out about half of the team's marriage/dating status. Every time a married or dating USA player came up to bat, we were informed of their heterosexuality in various ways: anniversaries, famous male partners (one who plays for the White Sox), fabulous weddings, etc.
We all know the stereotypes surrounding softball players, but most of us also know that straight women make excellent softball players too. But USA softball and the media that cover it seem very concerned that softball become just as heteronormative as the rest of the world and they are doing so by highlighting the love lives of their stars, most notably pitcher Jennie Finch. Are they trying to give softball an image overhaul like the LPGA did a while back when they had some their prominent golfers pose in bathing suits on a golf course? Trying to lose some kind of perceived homosexual stigma only further marginalizes gay athletes.

1 comment:

EBuz said...

ken, I agree that those responsible for the lesbian erasure in women's softball (hmmm, article title?) are, as you say "USA softball and the media that cover it." It's a vicious cycle: media coverage sends the message that indicia of heterosexuality is important, so the players responde by overemphasizing their femininity. Every single player in the Women's College World Series had hair down their back. Many wore makeup. Some teams (Texas) wore ridiculously short shorts. The media can be blamed for giving marriage stats the same prominence as batting averages, but the players certainly don't resist this treatment.