Thursday, April 26, 2007

Blog Post #5

One of the more prevalent topics in news has been Don Imus, his remarks, and his firing. Imus is one of the many shock jocks that inundate the radio frequencies today; in his case, however, I should revise that statement as past tense. He was ultimately fired because of his reference to the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team as being “nappy headed hos”. This statement charged with racist and sexist undertones is the main reason this has come to the forefront in the news.

Nappy Headed Hos. In order to fully understand this statement we’re going to have to break it down. Nappy - in small tight curls, kinky; Headed – this coupled with nappy makes a reference to a person’s hair; and Hos – yes, that is slang for whore, slut, etc. Put them all together and we have ourselves one very condemnatory statement. Beyond that statement, Don Imus and Sid Rosenberg tag teamed to refer to the Rutgers Women’s Team as being “hardcore hos”, “rough girls” with tattoos, and even referred to them as looking like a men’s basketball team (Toronto Raptors).

I don’t know what the Rutgers girls did to deserve these words. Does it matter that they are predominantly African-American; does it make it okay to says these kind of words about them. In this exchange between Imus and Rosenberg, Imus refers to the Tennessee team as being cute; I took a close look at the team roster, and the teams look very similar, one team just happens to wear red and the other orange. Maybe orange is more attractive, I don’t know. Also, as far as Rutgers being predominantly African American (8 out of 10), well Tennessee has about the same ratio (8 out of 11). Imus must just have something against New Jersey.

“You doin ho activities/ With ho tendencies/ Hos are your friends, hoes are your enemies/ With ho energy to do whacha do/ Blew whacha blew/ Screw whacha screw” Those are lyrics from Ludacris’ song entitled “Ho”. This CD went triple platinum, coupled with songs like “Move Bitch” and (I’ve got hos in different) “Area Codes”. I do believe what Imus said was wrong, but correct if I’m wrong, but aren’t Ludacris’ lyrics just as incensing and degrading towards women. But in one case Imus is fired, but in the other Ludacris continues to succeed in the music business (3 more platinum CDs) and has even branched out into the movie realm. The only one to raise a finger and question Ludacris about his lyrics was Oprah who stated that his lyrics “marginalized women”. I didn’t know certain people can degrade women, and certain people cannot. To me this seems like hegemony working: because to society Ludacris is seen as an artist who makes good music, and therefore it is socially accepted for him to say what he wants in his songs; Imus on the other hand has been known to society as being a racist shock jock. Ultimately society’s view of these two men, who speak about women in the same way, decided their respective fates.

Blog Post #2

A couple of weeks ago radio show host Don Imus, who’s show aired on MSNBC, made some derogatory remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Amid a discussion of the team, he called the women “nappy-headed ho’s.” This slanderous statement is a knock both to the ethnicity and the gender of these players, and it has no place in professional journalism or sports casting. After a plethora of complaints were filed, Imus finally offered up an apology and the show was suspended for two weeks as punishment. CBS radio fired Imus last Thursday following a strong public outcry against him and dwindling support from many of the show's sponsors.

As a young woman and sports fan, it’s very disappointing to be reminded once again that the world of sports is still dominated by men who seem to think that they can make such remarks without repercussions. Many in my generation reacted only with a sigh of resignation at the fact that this is the world we live in and comments like these are commonplace, especially in sports. I do not sigh with resignation, rather I get angry and frustrated by the lack of outrage.

My Comments:
It is unfortunate that the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Team ended, not with celebration, but which so much controversy. It is unfortunate, but comments like those that Don Imus made have become a common place in everyday language. Imus met his fate and was ultimately fired, but what is being done to the myriad of others using there words that degrade women?

I do not believe that censoring everyone is the answer to all our problems; as Americans we should all value our right to freedom of speech. It is unfortunate though, that society essentially picks and chooses what they find offensive, often based on who is saying it. Rappers such as Ludacris, 50 Cent, and Snoop Dogg have been using the term ho for years and they have lauded for their lyrical prowess. Howard Stern often views women as merely sex objects, but he is seen as being revolutional in what he speaks about; he was selected to be part of Time Magazine's "Time 100: The People who shape our world".

I am not condoning what Imus said, it was riddled with racism and sexism; I do believe however that in dealing with these situations, there should be a sort of precedent set. This, of course, will never happen because society will continue to applaud what they like, and be offended by what they feel is offensive.

Blog Post #3

The topic I am covering is Gender Issues in Sports. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for this blog thing; in all honesty I didn’t really know what a blog was until this course. I could not thing of a topic at all; I really didn’t think I could link this course and the blog to something I was interested in. Then, one day I was watching ESPN’s SportsCenter (something I do everyday), and there was a special on Tim Hardaway and his remarks regarding John Amaechi and homosexuals in general. At this point it all made sense to me and I would have to do something more than just read/hear about the stats and standings; I decided I would analyze sports and its gender issues.

One example as to why this is an important topic in popular culture, is the fact that there is a law regarding the inequality in sports. Title IX states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." This law prompted schools to have an equal amount of “male” and “female” sports.

Despite this law society itself has discriminated based on sex. During March madness the focus is on the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament; there was even two hours worth of coverage on the selection of the teams for the men’s tournament. After watching Sports Center I noticed that the scores of the women’s games were merely mentioned, but the analysis of the men’s game was so in depth.

Beyond the high school and collegiate game there is much more sexual discrimination. Quick… name three men’s professional leagues. (MLB, NBA, NFL, MLS, etc) Now do the same for women’s professional sports. WNBA… ??? I watch lots of sports and that’s the only women’s league I can think of off the top of my head. It is obvious that coverage is lacking in regards to these sports, but when looking at their salaries the disparity becomes even more egregious. The average NBA player makes 4 million dollars per year; the average WNBA salary is barely more than 1/100th of that at around 46,000 dollars. This means that some NBA players make more money playing in just one game, than most WNBA players make in one season. Clearly, there is a huge disparity that needs to be changed there.

I personally never really delved much deeper than SportsCenter took me. This course opened another side of sports to me, a side that unfortunately is an ugly side. Everyone thinks that sports are for entertainment, and some use it as an escape from the real world; in reality, sports are a microcosm of all the issues that are prevalent in our society today.