Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sexism: More Popular Than Soccer

            If you must send your child alone on a plane trip, you want to make sure he or she does not have to endure the terrifying ordeal of sitting next to a man.

            That’s why you should choose British Airways, which, as corporate policy, does not allow men to sit next to unattended children.

            Women, as everyone knows, are always benevolent, nurturing souls. They are free to sit next to children, or even on top of them, should they require warmth.

            Men, on the other hand, are creatures of violence and ill-intent, almost universally. Evidence: Mr. Rodgers, The Wiggles, and whoever created Barney.

            Like most everything else that targets a particular segment of the population, this airline policy does not go far enough.           

            Statistically, children are much more likely to be victimized by a parent or relative. Airlines should take the next logical step of prohibiting parents from sitting next to their children.

            And, since one out of every three women is sexually assaulted at least once in her lifetime, usually by a male, it would make sense to ensure that men don’t sit next to women, either.

            Come to think of it, we should keep men off airplanes altogether, I think, since the vast majority of violent acts are perpetrated by men.

            You never hear about any female suicide bombers, right?

            Of course, some will cry sexism. Sexism is a fact of life. Men and women are not identical. The differences will inevitably result in behavior that is not always fair.

            As a teacher, I see my female colleagues frequently call students “honey” and “sweetheart” in a quasi-maternal manner. The day I try this will be the day I earn a harassment lawsuit for my school district.

            Then you have your World Cup, an international soccer tournament our sports media spends a lot of time trying to convince us we should enjoy. ESPN even televises some of the games and gets all worked up when there’s controversy.

            The French team quit over a coaching kerfuffle, a scandal that spread through the media like herpes in a harem.

            And when U.S.A. striker Landon Donovan scored his game-winning goal against – was it Argentina or Algeria? – the whole country erupted in a giant, deafening “huh.”

            No one respects soccer, and that will never change, but at least the men’s game gets some hype.

            The women’s World Cup (yes, there is one) might as well take place in a cave in Afghanistan, as much as our media pays attention to it.

            The last one occurred in 2007 in China. Germany claimed the title, but not before an amazing match in which one of the players… HEY! Wait! Don’t stop reading now! I’ll switch to basketball, okay?

            The WNBA offers further evidence of sexism by selling space on team jerseys to corporations. The Phoenix Mercury uniforms do not say “Phoenix” or “Mercury,” but instead feature the logo of Lifelock, an identity theft protection company. They should start calling themselves the Phoenix Lifelock, since Mercury is a stupid name, anyway.

            (The ladies certainly don’t help themselves by using team nicknames like Mercury, Fever, Shock, Storm… is this basketball or menopause?)

            Though sponsorship on uniforms is common internationally, we don’t do it here, except with nine-year-olds. Not even the National Hockey League does it. Ouch.

            So there you have it. We're not identical, and we never will be. Just keep the bad people away from the good ones, and everything will be okay.


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