Look out parents, a new cultural phenomenon is coming after your girls. It is called "brawling for dollars" and it is coming to a field near you! Here is how it works.
Brawling: Good For Business?
Professional sports association's are businesses and have an insatiable need and greed for making money. I'm a business person myself so I don't begrudge a business needing to make money but exploiting people to do it is another thing all together.
According to the recent publicity concerning the bench clearing brawl at a WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association) game earlier this week, the brawl between the Detroit Shock and the LA Sparks and the replaying of it actually led to a small spike in television ratings of WNBA games later in the week. It was reported that viewers responded favorably to the reality TV effect of the brawl. Hmmm...let's put this together... if women athletes throw a few more punches during their games more money will be made? Evidently so.
Female Athletes Aren't as Passionate as Male Athletes?
In a recent column Barry Horn of The Dallas Morning News equated the brawl to the proving of passion, saying that what the skirmish proved was that there "is passion in the women's game." Horn claims that, "For many, the WNBA is a below-the-basket game played by the old girls club. The brawl has revealed the players to be competitive athletes who would not be more at home on the Ladies PGA Tour. No one is advocating turning the WNBA into the WWE, but an outpouring of pure emotion is never bad for a sport."
That's funny Barry, I have watched many women's games played passionately without violence and have participated in a few myself in my younger days. Do we really want to equate violent behavior to passion? Does that mean if violence is absent there is no passion? I'm passionate about this topic but it doesn't mean I'm going to look you up and punch you in the face for your views.
Violence as Progress in Girls Sports?
In his column John Jeansonne of Newsday also saw the violence as having a beneficial effect, and in support of his argument quoted ESPN.comcommentator Jemele Hill: "ESPN.com commentator Jemele Hill wrote that it 'proved women can be just as boneheaded as men in the thick of intense athletic competition.' Yet Hill classified the incident as 'progress' and 'a revelation' in women's sports. 'The fight ... showed that squaring up isn't a man thing,' he wrote. 'It's a sports thing. It's an athlete thing.' "
That's funny Jemele, I thought violent behavior is the result of our most primitive human instinct. It is the the lowest form of response to intense situations and has limited usefulness for anything other than human survival. When I think of progress, I think of things getting better not worse. How can increased violence be seen as progress for women sports? Title IX is my idea of progress for women in sport. Equal opportunity to play the sports we love. No offense guys, but I don't see women acting like men as being a sign of progress.
Parents beware! The media machine has begun. It will weave its little spell and in no time you will begin to believe - if you haven't begun to believe already - that: 1) Professional women's sports will get more attention and funding if they fight more during the games; therefore, we need to teach our girls to be more violent to fit the culture; 2) passion equals violence; and 3) violence is progress for girls.
The culture of sports violence already has a tight grip on our boys and those of you who are sports parents know how difficult it is to overcome a cultural bias once it gets a full head of steam. Let's get passionate and prevent this "brawling for dollars" mentality of professional sports from getting a firm hold on girls youth sports too. In the process we can show the world, and more importantly, our kids that we don't have to punch someone out to express that passion!