It may seem extreme to some to compare the "spoof" on the idea of a WNBA Live game with things like that, but....
Below we have a man in lesbian-drag (the straight guy's acceptable form of black-face), playing at being a WNBA star, introducing his bored friends to the new game - an abject out-dated and comically slow moving "virtual" basketball game, in which a lone female stick figure limps across the scene and makes a bad shot. The player then falls over, "injured" when she gets a "yeast infection."
There is, it turns out, a whole subgenre of youtube videos mocking the WNBA - not because the authors of these videos have a problem with the organization, but because they can't get over the idea that women play basketball, and that there are people who want to watch them. This came as a total shock to me. And not just because I love watching the LA Sparks in action (and think they were robbed in the playoffs). I just spent a year in England getting acquainted with Old World sexist attitudes there about women playing soccer. Silly me - I'd felt a certain national pride in the way that Americans seemed to at least not hate the idea of women athletes.
That was a really naive fantasy. Apparently, most (not all) guys here can handle women playing soccer (sport of girls and immigrants). But basketball? Professionally? Youtube hosts a range of these just plain offensive diatribes. These are made by guys who are so full of hate for this idea, they produce homophobic and just plain moronic pieces about how boring women's basketball is, how badly women play, how ludicrous it is that anyone should try to get anyone to watch WNBA games.
A few months ago I posted a comment to neXib's youtube video, which features goal keeping "errors" in the 2007 Women's World Cup. I expressed my outrage and pointed to Nadine Angerer's amazing record and highlights. He responded "that's because she's a shemale." And closed the comments.
The comments to neXib's "Female Goalkeepers" (which is often the first youtube video to come up under the search "female goalkeepers") do include a lot of angry fans of the women's game. Some highlights from NeXib and his cohort, as they field that outrage:
To another user (who wrote in agreement with the spirit of his video), neXib wrote:
"Well it has been like that for a long time. Maybe they are afraid of getting some balls in their face :P "One of his fans:
"women shud take care of kids..these gals luk like half males due to heavy football play"Other comments:
"Why are these women attempting to do something that they clearly do not have the physical or mental capabilities for? They are only embarrassing themselves."
"ha ha girls suck at football lol " and, from another: "soccer is for men.sorry."
"honestly... I think they should just get rid of women's keepers, and just let guys from the under 15 national teams play GK instead."The video, which presents itself as evidence of how women keepers "are rubbish", features footage of the three keepers in one tournament (one loses out to Marta - FIFA's Female World Footballer of the Year twice over), and presents itself as a statement of both the women's game and women's abilities.
NeXib disabled the comments not because his video solicited the above sexist remarks from youtube users, but because, in his view, the women and men writing in to point out the sexism of the video had "no sense of humor".
I'm proud to have been the one to have sent him over the edge.
There's a line between videos showing "lowlights" of a sport, and videos which show such things in the service of a statement motivated by prejudice. You would not see youtube hosting videos that singled out errors made by black or latino male players (of any sport), in a manifesto about how no one wants to see them play professionally, because "they can't." And believe me, there was once a moment when people held those ideas and made those arguments - and they would have found criticism of their position humorless, too.
Why is it acceptable to post youtube videos like this about women? Why is that OK? (There is good writing about women & goal keeping see, for example, David James's "Keeping Up with Part-Time Rachel").
In any case, here is youtube's community guideline regarding hate-motivated material:
"But we don't permit hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity)."How is a video which clearly singles out a few errors made by women goalies in early rounds of the 2007 FIFA world cup in the explicit service of an argument that women are physically incapable of playing soccer not an "attack" that "demeans" "a group based on...gender"?
Sports Illustrated links to the WNBA spoof with no comment. The comments on youtube largely react to its humor, with only a few tentative voices pointing to the offensiveness of the content of the joke and the comments it invites, like:
LOFL you dumb twat, its also about ball handling, jump shooting, defense, a post game, and alot of other things (none of which those dykes do well).Why aren't those videos censored for violating the standards of hate speech defined above? This kind of "humor" supports world-wide active and often violent suppression of women's interest in athletics - in no small part because it's a fast route to empowerment. If guys HATE the idea that women play basketball, soccer, whatever, it's because they HATE the idea that women might be strong, competitive, fearless, and aggressive. The video I've posted here (reluctantly) is, in my view, a clever and socially acceptable act of hate speech.
LOL@ even trying to compare the WNBA to the NBA. I bet the team I played on back in JR High could beat the womens olympic team.
And I wish a joyless future of ineffectial layups on all the dudes involved with its production.