Well folks, after a year of media saturation, unrelenting spectacle, and ridiculous hype…the Miami Heat Basketball Club still lost the NBA Title to the Dallas Mavericks last night! I was watching The Tony Awards Show instead (which was fabulous, by the way…best awards show on television, hands down!) but was also active on Facebook and had a running commentary about the game on my News Feed.
When the game ended, the bulk of my Friends’ posts included digs at Heat player LeBron James, who abandoned the Cleveland Cavaliers in an effort to “bring his talents to Miami.” This dude didn’t just set up a press conference or two to address his departure from Cleveland; he garnered himself an entire half-hour show to inform the public. Because clearly in his mind, we all cared enough about him to want to hear him discuss this issue for 30 minutes. Long story short, he hyped himself up then (apparently, from what I have been reading) delivered an incredibly disappointing performance in the championship series. After that…well, he’s gotta take his lumps. I get that. He’s getting his ego checked, and he asked for that. So when I started seeing all of the anti-LBJ commentary flooding my News Feed last night, I felt it was the proverbial Chickens Coming Home To Roost for James.
And then I started seeing a smattering of links and pictures posted to Facebook, four of which I will present here. The first three were created to mock LeBron James and the Miami Heat; the last was created to celebrate Dallas Mavericks’ player Dirk Nowitzki. [Note: Due to technological difficulties, I could not insert two of these links directly into my blog…please cut & paste these links into a new field to quickly view them while I work out this glitch in The Matrix.] Please note the prevailing theme of all three:
And This One:
Now Check Out This Link: http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_llu79iQuYa1qerjlgo1_400.gif
Followed By This Link: http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn176/kidconfucius/dirk-dance-o.gif
So here we go, People. The Miami Heat in Drag. LeBron James as a Cover Girl. The Miami Heat as Beyoncé and her “Put A Ring On It” dancers. Dirk Nowitzki surrounded by and dancing with scantily clad women (who look like teenage girls…IJS). The messages are clear: The Heat have been feminized by their loss. They are no better than women, or worse – men in drag. LeBron James has been bitchified. And I can hear the men: “I don’t think of Beyoncé as a bitch!” No…but you do think that a man who would dress up/dance/or be presented like Beyoncé is a bitch. These are the penalties for LOSERS in the NBA. And then we have Dirk Nowitzki. Getting his dance on (in a manly and heterosexual manner, of course) surrounded by scantily clad young women. This is the reward for WINNERS in the NBA. Losers are drag queens, bitches, and gay men. (I won’t even post some of the more overtly homophobic links I have seen). Winners are manly and heterosexual, surrounded by a gaggle of willing women upon which to unleash their post-championship passions.
Yeah, I know…I’m being a bit dramatic(al). Eh, I just watched the Tonys. *Shrug* But the truth is not so far removed from my description here. In fact, there are very few instances of men being clowned, ego-checked, or otherwise disparaged without either women or gay men being invoked to place that final Cherry of Diss atop the Shit Sundae. Prove me wrong about this…please.
In fact, I would like to issue a challenge: Attempt to create and perpetuate ways of ego-checking men without making any kind of reference, allusion, or connection to women, girls, womanhood, femininity, gay men, effeminacy, or emasculation. I’d like to see how many men are capable of taking LeBron James to task – even comically – without somehow invoking any of the items listed above. I’m imagining that this may be difficult, because using images of women and gay men to degrade (allegedly) straight men is absolutely The Norm in our culture.
I’ve heard men make light of these representations in many ways. The most commonly used excuse that I have heard is that they are not degrading women…they are degrading men who ACT like women. I’m too tired today to go into the deep-seated misogyny and homophobia associated with this mindset, so I will need to tackle this topic in another blog. The bottom line is that if the worst thing a man can be compared to is a woman (or gay man), then this tells us what we truly believe about women and womanhood, femininity, effeminacy, and homosexuality in our culture. I don’t know a man today who could have stepped to either Harriet Tubman or Sojourner Truth and come out of that meeting alive…but whatever. People continue to align behaviors like gossiping and emotionality with women, regardless of what they may have seen in their own homes. I’m tired of men speaking about women in stereotypical ways, then discussing how strong all of the women in their lives happen to be. Really?!? Then why do you still perpetuate the idea that womanhood and femininity are weak?!?
I’m going to wrap this up by saying that as Women’s Rights are currently under Full-Fledged ASSAULT in this country, I will be using my blog to RAGE about the various ways that we engage in disrespecting and devaluing women in our culture. And using women to clown NBA Losers – or to reward NBA Winners – is one of these ways. So check yourself.
And, as always…#grin&bareit