I Am Male… I do not need to worry about being objectified during athletic competition.
Homecoming is usually an exciting time at any high school. Although my school substitutes a sense of school pride with class rivalries, there remains a general buzz of excitement throughout the week. Homecoming always culminates in a pepfest on Friday which serves to crown Homecoming royalty and promote that evening’s football game.
Two years ago, one of the student emcees was tasked with introducing the school dance team. With a booming voice, he declared, “Hope you’re not wearing sweatpants, guys! Here comes the dance team!”
Rejected introductions presumably included “Try to keep your boners in check! Here’s a bunch of women in tight clothes!” and “Don’t jerk off until you get home, boys! Here’s some things that exist only for your sexual gratification! Meat! Meat! Meat! Meat!”
I never had to worry about this when I was in high school, and not just because I had yet to develop my glorious beard. No matter the game, men can play sports without the fear of objectification.
For women, it’s clearly not the case, regardless of level of competition. High school dance teams are obvious. Beach volleyball players play in bikinis. Indoor volleyball players have those volleyball shorts (It would be inappropriate and hypocritical for me to shout “Damn!” right now, right?). Even female mixed-martial artists have no chance for national exposure unless they possess Gina Carano levels of attractiveness. Bertha the Destroyer doesn’t sell pay-per-views.
Let’s talk about football.
Football players wear giant pads that accentuate strong chests and broad shoulders. Football players wear skin-tight pants. Football players wear a protective cup that transforms any dude into Protruding Junk Man; athlete by day, crotch bulging vigilante by night.
This is not only the most homoerotic description of football ever, but great evidence that football players should be very easy to sexually objectify. I’m a straight dude and I’m flying half-mast right now.
Still, it doesn’t happen. Can you picture a woman saying, “HOLD ON TO YOUR VAGINAS, LADIES! HERE COMES THE FOOTBALL TEAM!”
I can’t. It’s unimaginable to me. And that’s the point. It’s my privilege as an American male to not have to worry about it.