Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What a lovely tradition

I read the NY Times article about the "tradition" of sexually harassing female fans at halftime during Jets games yesterday afternoon. And in that time of processing I have felt a myriad of things: general disgust, a certain level of despondency, and validation from peers and colleagues about how atrocious this practice is. But I think, in the end, one of the most disturbing things about this news of men who line up on the spiral ramps and harass women below encouraging them to flash their breasts (and security guards and police who do nothing about it!), is that it isn't news at all. It's been going on for a long time; years apparently.
Hard to believe that no one knew about it or thought to report on it before now. I mean, there are You Tube clips of this halftime event. Not much of a secret, I would say.
What happens now that the Times has brought it into a little brighter light remains to be seen. What has been done thus far is absolutely nothing--tacit acceptance is too innocuous a phrase to describe the attitude towards the chants, and whistles, and throwing of money (and then bottles if breasts do not make an appearance) by those who are supposed to be in some kind of position of authority.
Security guards just watch. Police won't come in unless an arrestable offense occurs. You know, because this is a free speech issue. (Until a reporter asks for comments and is hauled away and has his tape recorder taken.) And really, those public decency laws don't apply to women who want to bare their breasts. The one woman the writer saw comply with the men's desires was warned before she went on her merry way having done her public service and so very proud of her body (she and Amanda Beard should hang out). [Note the contradiction: women who show breasts in public for male enjoyment are barely slapped on the wrist but women who are revealing far less usually when they breastfeed in public are harassed in an entirely different way.]
No one from the Jets would comment but I don't think they'll be able to keep that position for long. Because ending this practice is as easy as owner Woody Johnson saying, "no more." And if he doesn't he's going to have to come up with something better than "free speech" to justify the continued practice of sexual harassment in his stadium.

1 comment:

Diane said...

Oh my god...that's disgusting. But I am not one bit surprised. And I won't be surprised if it continues. Because there will be a protest, but there will be more people who think it is just fine, thank you, and the Jets people know that.

It's a bit sickening to come across this after I have spent the last few days on a very literary, intellectual board, reading comments from men who have found every reason imaginable to carefully, intelligently, slyly attack feminism.