Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Erin Andrews and Sports Culture

Here's a few related articles on the cultural context of the Erin Andrews peephole controversy.

At U.S. News, readers respond to Bonnie Erbe's recent comments. See, "Erin Andrews and Sports Culture."

Newsbusters responded earlier. See, "Erbe: Erin Andrews Incident the Fault of Women Who Promote ‘Sports Culture’ ":

The key issue here is not the "sports culture" which both American men and women celebrate, it is the decency of men and women in our society.

By blaming anything or anyone other than the culprit, the person(s) who video taped Andrews and placed the video online, in a sense Erbe blames the victim, something to which she is not new.

Keep the Newsbusters piece in mind while reading this one from the American Prospect, "Sports Misogyny and the Court of Public Opinon":

In mid July, a Harrah's hotel worker accused Pittsburgh Steelers star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of raping her, and her employer of covering it up. And then, as reliably as thunder follows lightning, the sports misogyny apologists boomed onto the scene ....

They're an essential ingredient in the modern sports culture that protects and lionizes male athletes at all costs. And when we allow them to ramble on unchecked, when we laugh at them or roll our eyes or simply ignore them, we give them tacit permission to keep using women's bodies as payment ....

The apologists drink from a potent cocktail of hero-worship, almost military levels of team solidarity, and old-fashioned "boys will be boys" gender essentialism. And they would just be offensive if they weren't such an integral part of the larger culture of misogyny in sports -- a culture that makes it possible for there to be so many henious acts to defend, minimize and deny in the first place. As is, they're downright dangerous, writing a blank check for athletes' behavior that too many athletes are happy to cash ....

All of which makes the initial reactions to the Roethlisberger case pretty hard to swallow. It hasn't even been two weeks since the charges were filed, and already we've seen ESPN try to make the whole thing disappear by issuing a "do not report" memo to its entire staff, while gossip blogs like Perez Hilton and TMZ led the charge of accusing the woman of being a "lying golddigger." Legions of apologist fans followed suit, charging anyone who allows that the alleged victim might be telling the truth with "obstructing justice" and inventing their own facts right and left. (My favorite is the story that a woman invented a fictional husband for the alleged victim to have an online affair with, and then fictionally shipped him off to Iraq and had him killed there. This purportedly led the alleged victim to seek therapy before she ever met Roethlisberger, which somehow calls into question her mental stability. Leaving aside the question of why some random woman would do this, or even how it could happen, this is somehow supposed to prove the alleged victim is crazy?)

The alleged victim is already suing Harrah's, her employer, for telling her that "most girls would feel lucky to get to have sex with someone like Ben Roethlisberger" and trying to cover up the whole incident. Would that she could sue ESPN, Perez, and their millions of nameless sycophants, too. She can't, but that doesn't mean those parties should face no consequences for their crimes against the safety of all women. While she's arguing her case out in court, it falls to each of us to cross-examine sports misogyny apologists -- wherever and whenever we find them -- in the court of public opinion. If we do it with even half as much fervor as they have when they rush to their heroes' defense, we have a real chance of changing the verdict.

See also my earlier post, "Erin Andrews' 911 Call: 'I'm Being Treated Like F***ing Britney Spears and It Sucks'."

Also, check
the link here for my previous coverage of the controversy.


Elmo said...

Dude! Alright already!!! Fine, you are jacking constantly to the Erin Andrews video...keep your scab dick to yourself.

There is more to life than this story...

Greywolfe said...

Not to fall into the furry commentor's camp above, but I have to be honest. I'm getting about as tired of posts here and other places about this chic as I am of the continuing coverage of the Pervert Child Molester's death. Let's move on already and let this woman fade back into her niche.