Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Nice tribute, but...

A local Utah paper has a nice feature on a man, Grant Cottam, who has supported girls' sports since the 1960s. Back then he attended a high school basketball game with his wife who had pressured him to go with her. While he went reluctantly, he was impressed immediately and became a lifelong fan of not only basketball but volleyball, track, and soccer. He travels to find good games and follow strong teams--though does not have a favorite.
I am pleased there is such a devoted supporter in Utah, but is this really newsworthy? I was actually more interested in how his wife became a fan herself in a pre-Title IX era. Or what exactly it was that Cottam saw in the girls' game that he found so compelling. Why is it so interesting that a now 80-year old man is a fan of girls' sports?
The writer didn't do a good enough job framing the story to convince me that this man was remarkable in any way besides the fact that she chose to write about his fandom. But a man's following of girls' sports should not be presented as remarkable and, by extension, unusual. It only serves to reify the position of girls' sports as second-best.

1 comment:

Diane said...

I couldn't agree more, but the average reader just doesn't get it that these "isn't that nice?" and "aren't they cute?" features contribute as much to sexism as anything else. Quite obviously, the writers don't get it, either.