Friday, March 19, 2010

These people at Smuckers are just f&*%^ers

I know that this story is already out there but it deserves more discourse. Plus it allows me to think again about the Olympics which seem so far away now, especially in this very odd 60+ degree pre-spring weather I am experiencing.
So the story is that Johnny Weir was not asked to participate in the Stars on Ice Tour sponsored by Smuckers and the Discover card and organized by Scott Hamilton. Party line is that there is not room for him--which we all know is a crock of [low-quality, sweetened-with-high-fructose-corn-sugar jelly].
The allegedly family-friendly show is more worried about Weir's unabashed flamboyance. Apparently Weir has been trying to get into the show for years, but keeps being turned down. Smuckers denies the allegations which have been taken up by GLADD, too.
Stars on Ice has been deemed one of the more conservative shows as compared to, for example, Champions on Ice, in which openly gay skater Rudy Galindo once performed seemingly without issue.
Note that Weir chooses not to label/reveal/explain his sexuality. Poor guy wants to be postmodern, post-identity politics and he's stuck in one of the most conservative, reactionary sports. I feel the skating powers-that-be so closely police gender because skating has so much potential to be gender-bending. You cannot, if you are a woman, be too feminine, as Tonya Harding knows and, if you are a man, you cannot be too masculine--a paradigm Evan Lysacek has clearly benefited from.
It's all so ridiculous. Smuckers is just another schoolyard bully hiding behind a corporate logo. They are punishing a male-bodied individual for not being masculine (enough). They are sending a message by not including Weir that only certain types of men are acceptable. (I find this somewhat ironic given the fey little boy in their commercials who goes around smelling the fruit.) Also they are affecting his livelihood because he chooses not to conform to certain norms, especially the rigid ones around gender established by the figure skating community. It is well known that Weir provides significant financial support to his family. Now, in what is likely a post-competitive career, Weir will be earning money from events like skating shows. And he should be able to make a boatload because he is extremely popular and an excellent performer--and he has a great agent. But his perceived sexuality and his performance of gender is already clearly having a negative effect. Who's not being family-friendly now?

No comments: