First of all let’s get one thing clear, the athletic spectacle that has been going on in Canada for the past month is called the World Cup. It’s no more the Women’s World Cup, than it is the Men’s Super Bowl every February or the Women’s and Men’s and Gay Men’s Tony Awards every spring. To call it the Women’s World Cup every time you refer to it is a classic case of patriarchal othering that has no place in modern sports.
Even though I am a man, I feel that it’s my responsibility to correct people over and over again every time someone calls it the Women’s World Cup. Because I care about women and I’m sick of women’s sports taking a back seat to men’s sports. They should be on equal playing field. In other words, women’s sports should be virtually indistinguishable from men’s sports.
Now, a little bit about myself. I’m a 22 year old undergrad at Bryn Mawr. You might be saying “But Bryn Mawr is a women’s college and you’re a man.” When I started looking at potential colleges to go to I never once considered any college a WOMEN’S college or a MEN’S college. I simply chose the best academic institution to attend, applied to that institution, and then spent 3 years and $100,000 in legal fees to appeal my exclusion to the place simply because of my gender.
And I’m a huge sports fan. Not men’s sports or women’s sports. Just sports. I watch everything: Soccer, etc. And I love athletic achievement whether the athlete is sporting a pony tail, a buzz cut, a french braid, or a genderless bob. Of course, I prefer athletes to have a genderless bob because it makes it hard to tell if a man or a woman is playing the game, which is the type of equality that the sports world should be gunning for.
Say I’m tuning into ESPN on a Sunday afternoon and I see a quick, skilled, forward breaking toward the goal, genderless bob haircut bouncing and wagging in the wind. The player shoots and scores and I cheer! Then I turn the TV off and guess what happened: I enjoyed it even though I had no clue if that phenomenal play was made by a man or a woman. I also didn’t know what teams were playing, any context about the stakes of the game or the goal whatsoever, and heck, I didn’t even know if the game was live or 20 years old. But the point is that I didn’t say “what a great women’s soccer play,” I said “what a great soccer play.” And that makes all the difference.
And while we’re on the subject of aesthetics, it’s insane to me that female and male sports have different uniforms. In a number of sports, female athletes are expected to wear slightly tighter fitting shorts and jerseys. That’s bullshit. I think women should wear as baggy a uniform as they want. In fact, their uniforms should be even baggier than the mens to hide their feminine figures so that it, once again, is hard for me to tell if I am watching men or women play sports. My dream is to turn on Sportscenter one day and see all the Top 10 plays performed by gender ambiguous athletes wearing gigantic garbage bags from head to toe.
And, really, this should extend to the rest of society. When I walk around campus at Bryn Mawr I don’t see no men or just women. In fact, I don’t see anything because since a month ago I live my life completely blindfolded so that I can’t tell the difference between the soft skin, ample hips, and heaving bosom of a healthy woman and the strong jawline, narrow hips, and chiseled forearms of your average man.
“Do I have a girlfriend?” you ask. I don’t understand the question.
Did you mean “Do I have a friend”? Well I do if you count the likes of Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, and some people I talk to in the Jezebel comments.
But, romantically, one day I hope to find someone that I can be pretty sure is a human and wears a garbage bag and has a gender neutral voice that has the same kind of principles and ideals as me. And is willing to give me a hand job. Damn, I’d love a hand job.