December 20th, 2006

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05:13 pm - on my fight against sexism...

The Best Sport Ever!
Yes, max1975, you're welcome
So I was talking to the lovely and talented, beststephi the other day and trying to make a rational for why discrimination was sometimes ok. My argument was that, for all the rhetoric about people being equal – men and women, blacks and whites, christians and jews – there are just some differences between people that sometimes can't (and shouldn't) be ignored.

My reasoning was the WNBA. Should women be allowed to play basketball? Of course they should. Should they be allowed to play in the men's NBA? Some would say yes, but if they are, then why can't men play in the WNBA? Maybe I want to be a pro-basketball player, but my skills aren't quite up to par with Shaq's. But maybe I can hold my own against Sheryl Swoopes. Ok, who am I kidding? She'd kick my ass. But I bet I could kick ass in the special olympics. Why should I be penalzed simply because I don't happen to be mentally challenged. I'm challenged in other ways. I'm challenged by being too short for the NBA. I think the discrimination keeping me out of the special olympics is just awful.

I remember when they first started hiring women to be sideline/lockerroom reporters at football games a few years ago and it was a big deal because the women said it was discrimantory not to allow them to do it, while the men complained because they didn't really want women in the lockerroom. You know, where they're changing, and showering and banging cheerleaders. Ok, I guess some women were ok.

I can think of other examples, I don't think a black guy should be able to claim discrimination for not being hired to play George Washington in a play, and I don't think a jew should be able to sue the Catholic church for not allowing him to be a priest.

Then there's really interesting cases. What about transsexuals? If you're the transsexual, you clearly want to argue that you should be treated in all ways like the destination gender, however what about people like Renee Richards. For those who don't know, she was a female tennis player who started life as Richard Raskind, a male tennis player. After her gender reassignment, she fought to be allowed to play on the women's circuit and the New York Supreme Court eventually found in her favor and allowed her to play, despite the fact that presumedly she had male traits that would have given her an unfair advantage. Isn't that why there are separate leagues in the first place, or does your ability to play tennis really get affected all that much by whether you pee standing up or sitting down?

So I guess we could make the exemption that certain jobs require certain physical traits no present in certain people. At the end of the day, I'm not female. The reason the NBA doesn't want me is because I'm short and really not all that good at basketball. But if Sheryl Swoopes wanted to switch leagues should she be allowed to? And if so, then how come Labron James can't go down to the WNBA and dominate it?

And if we allow exemptions in sports and acting, why not other things? Steph has always had a problem with Hooters because they don't hire male wait-staff. Her argument being (I believe and I'm sure she'll correct me if I'm wrong) that a man can wait tables just as easily as a woman. However, I'd argue that the job of the Hooters waitress isn't simply to deliver food but to provide a certain atmosphere and image that one can't provide if they're male, or ugly or fat. We can't sue Victoria's Secret for not hiring ugly models. Why should Hooters have stricter policies?

So I'm curious about people's thoughts on this. And hopefully some of you have some interesting ideas. Because I was just thinking how much I'd like to quit my job, change careers and join the women's beach volleyball circuit. It is the best sport ever. Men's beach volleyball pales in comparison.

Current Music: Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) by Marvin Gaye

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: December 21st, 2006 - 12:30 am (Link)
Hooray for early birthday presents!
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 21st, 2006 - 03:14 pm (Link)
yep... happy birthday. I can keep your real present now.
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: December 21st, 2006 - 01:14 am (Link)
Oh, and sorry, but you would totally ruin the sport of women's beach volleyball.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 21st, 2006 - 03:15 pm (Link)
I prefer to think I would make it better... well, for me anyway.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 21st, 2006 - 07:34 pm (Link)
No, cuz once they let you in, they'd have to let in all sorts of dudes. Before long half your matches would be against dudes. You'd have destroyed one of the finest things in the world for yourself and everyone else.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 21st, 2006 - 07:50 pm (Link)
no, I think they should just let me in... fuck the rest of you.
[User Picture]From: suicideking Date: December 21st, 2006 - 01:17 am (Link)
I am surprised you didn't bring up the inherent sexism in the porn industry...
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 21st, 2006 - 03:38 pm (Link)
so I was thinking about that last night after reading your comment and discussing it with Steph and a couple friends. I don't think it fits quite as well. The porn studios will totally hire men or women for any role. A man can be hired to fuck a woman or a man. A woman can be hired to fuck a woman or a man. You want to do a gang bang. You want to do a fetish video. There's always someone who will accomodate you. The sexism comes into play on pay scale, but I'd argue that the pay scale is dependent on your draw. Guys draw less than girls. Fat chicks draw less than skinny chicks. More fame draws more than a newcomer. So I think its a different issue.

Or were you referring to something else?
[User Picture]From: marsinthestars Date: December 21st, 2006 - 10:39 am (Link)
–verb (used without object)
1. to make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class, or category to which the person or thing belongs rather than according to actual merit; show partiality: The new law discriminates against foreigners. He discriminates in favor of his relatives.
2. to note or observe a difference; distinguish accurately: to discriminate between things.
–verb (used with object)
3. to make or constitute a distinction in or between; differentiate: a mark that discriminates the original from the copy.
4. to note or distinguish as different: He can discriminate minute variations in tone.

compliments of

Discrimination in and of itself (to note a distinction) is not bad or wrong; the problem is when discrimination becomes based on subjective rather than objective features of a person as related to their job (ie "we don't hire women because they don't work as hard" instead of "we don't hire women because the job requires them to enter a men-only locker room."

But in an effort to define where something changes from objective to subjective (such as the example I used - what if the men got over the need for a men-only locker room? would there still be an issue?) there are of course 100,000 opinions and issues coming into play.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 21st, 2006 - 03:44 pm (Link)
sure, but I'd argue that sometimes you are hiring people to do a subjective job. Like say as an actor or a Hooters waitress. Does gender matter when you need someone to serve a burger at McDonalds? Not at all. But it totally matters when you need someone to serve a burger at Hooters. And that doesn't at all address the needs of having seperate basketball leagues for men and women.

You probably don't remember it really well, since you are younger and wouldn't have been terribly interested in it at the time anyway, but during the lockerroom thing, men took a pretty bad rap. "Oh, the reporters are professional, they should totally be allowed in the lockerroom." But I've always been against the forcing of it. Should the Laker Girls or Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders be forced to allow Marv Albert in their lockerroom? If women would just "get over it" we wouldn't need separate lockerrooms at all, right?
[User Picture]From: jameel Date: December 21st, 2006 - 01:17 pm (Link)
There's men's beach volleyball? MADNESS!
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: December 21st, 2006 - 03:45 pm (Link)
yeah... its a sexist sport that only exists because women like looking at shirtless guys. That's why I'm boycotting it and want to join the women's league.
[User Picture]From: marsinthestars Date: January 9th, 2007 - 07:21 pm (Link)
Apparently some comment on this post is so heinous this school computer won't let me see it, though I am allowed to see the rest of your site. This amuses me.

Anyhow, I was just going to (finally) respond to your response to my comment. To say: I wasn't arguing. I am agreeing that they are jobs that don't allow for certain genders or body types, etc. But I would use different language - I don't think that makes is subjective; I think the trick is, for example, in making your specifications for Hooters waitresses "females between 5'8" and 6' with breasts of a size C or larger, blonds only" or whatever, rather than "hot women" because then no one can say you're being subjective on who's attractive. No one ever says model jobs are subjective. They descriminate to certain heights and weights as necessary (though actually totally bogus) and it's acceptable because it's official.

And on the lockerroom issue: first of all, theater people got over that ages ago. Everyone lusts in secret or not-secret after everyone else, but everyone's naked in front of everyone in the dressing rooms anyhow. And second of all, I'm the person who argues that skinny dipping can be non-sexual, so I'm the last person who would disagree with you on the reporters in locker rooms thing.

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