Thursday, March 03, 2011

It's March: Let the ghettoization begin!

I've probably mentioned one of my favorite quotations before. But I find this morning an appropriate time to say it again. So from one of my favorite radical feminist groups, the Guerrilla Girls, this question:

Why the cynical attitude on this only the third day of the month I, an avowed feminist (see Dr. LaVoi's recent post about what a feminist is), is supposed to revel in? Well I found this on this morning. Why is ESPN doing a piece on Title IX?, I wondered. It isn't the anniversary. There has not been any outstanding Title IX news of late.

It's in honor of women's history month, Suzy Kolber, who is hosting these videos (this was just the first of three), tells me as she sits next to a group of women ready to discuss all that Title IX has done--and of course mention the controversy it has engendered.

Last week I wrote briefly about the perceived excitement level in women's sports and its supposed connection to viewership. Well, this piece wasn't coverage of women's sports per se, but it certainly was boring.

I felt bad for a second there when I wondered if I really should be soooo cynical about ESPN's efforts here. If maybe I shouldn't be looking the proverbial gift horse in the mouth.

And then I thought "eff that!" Because at this juncture, I expect more. I expect more than the obligatory happy-happy Title IX piece in March. I expect a more nuanced understanding of the history of women's sports; one that doesn't attribute the opportunity to play AAU basketball to Title IX. I want something that doesn't flash pictures of Billie Jean King thus implying that her success had something to do with Title IX. The common denominator between BJK and Title IX is feminism. I want programs that don't avoid the word all together. And when the pictures of Venus and Serena Williams are shown as a measure of women's success in sports, you should have a discussion of discrimination in women's sport generally (even if February is over!) and even how Title IX (though again it has nothing to do with professional tennis players) has not benefited Black women the way it has White women.

March is the month that comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. I've got the lion part down. But we shouldn't stop roaring when the month is done.

Here's hoping parts two and three of the ESPN series go a little deeper, that part one was just a primer.

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