Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sexism in Baseball

"There's no sexism in baseball!" Except, along with crying, there apparently is. At least, in baseball reporting. Or, to be even more accurate, in reporting matters that vaguely pertain to baseball, so they can be used to fluff up sports sections across the country instead of gathering real sports news. I'm speaking of, of course, the (in)famous rumor that A-Rod and Madonna are a couple. Maybe they are, and maybe they aren't. But with headlines like "A-Rod's Wife Says Madonna Brainwashed Her Husband", a charming bit of news that popped up on my Yahoo! homepage, the blame sure is on the right head: Madonna's. My newspaper also had a lovely bit of commentary, claiming that while "Derek Jeter dates Brazilian supermodels, Tom Brady has Giselle, and somehow the best that Alex Rodriguez, the greatest ballplayer of our generation, can do is hook up with the anti-ingenue". See what he did there? He made sure everyone knew that Madonna was old.

Reporting later on that "Mrs. Rodriguez jets off to Paris to seek comfort in the arms of celebrated rock guitarist Lenny Kravitz", Joe Palladino's real concern is the idea that there is something "inherently debilitating about being able to hit a baseball a long way". Because getting Madonna, or wanting Madonna, when A-Rod could be out getting the young hotties is wrong. In fact, it is so wrong that it is comparable to Babe Ruth's and Mickey Mantle's alcoholism -and Ted Williams' tendency to spit at fans. Yikes.

And instead of focusing the attention where it should be, that being on a bunch of grown ups playing Musical Spouses (with Guy Ritchie apparently being the poor schmuck without a new partner) in the public eye before any of their divorces are finalized, the media is focusing on the age question. And it is sexist, along with ridiculous, for commentators and sports reporters to cheer Jeter on while he blows through those "Brazilian models" and then scoff at A-Rod for dating -or possibly dating, at this point- someone "old enough to be his mother"; or according to one paper, his grandmother. I wouldn't trust their math.

And, of course, Madonna's old troupe of known paramours is paraded out, as an example of... ...something. How old she is? How unclean she is? Ignoring the fact that we've celebrated guys like Hugh Hefner for years, and that guys are considered studs for dating (and sleeping with) a lot of women, is par for the course. Because she's a woman (by the way, pick up Jessica Valenti's He's a Stud, She's a Slut...; I haven't read it yet, but I really enjoyed Full Frontal Feminism). And because women are held to different standards. So instead of cheering Madonna on in the same way they do Derek Jeter ("Go you! You've got a young one!") or congratulating A-Rod on dating someone who is still putting youngsters to shame with her toned abs and mad musical skillz or, hell, just criticizing them both for reneging on their marriage vows and ignoring that they've both got kids at home, A-Rod is criticized for not cheating on his wife with a younger woman. And Madonna is, as usual, made out to be some she-devil.


MediaMaven said...

You need to stop reading Yahoo. Whatever "news" they put up is shallow and inevitably anger-inducing; I get annoyed every time I go on their site. I haven't even heard this viewpoint on this ridiculous story; leave it up to Yahoo to champion the worst and most irrelevant viewpoint in the entire saga.

petpluto said...

I go there to get my mail and the ridiculousness pops out at me. The sad thing is that the ideas Yahoo! news highlights aren't really that far from the mainstream. Google news Madonna and/or A-Rod and you'll find a whole host of news stories just like that.