Thoughts on Sexism (from a Consolation Prize)

FOOTBALL! BEER! WOMEN!

That’s what guys like, right?

If you watched the BCS National Championship last night (or if you’ve been on the Internet at all today), you witnessed Brent Musburger’s creepy fixation with Alabama QB A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb (a.k.a. Miss Alabama). But if you didn’t see it, I’ll summarize. As the camera honed in on Webb, Musburger gushed:

“Now when you are a quarterback at Alabama, you see that lovely lady there, she does go to Auburn, I want to admit that, but she’s also Miss Alabama and that’s AJ McCarron’s girlfriend, okay. Wow, I’m telling you, quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman.”

The woman is exactly 50 years younger than he is, and he ogled her like the sloppy old men who used to sit at my bar at Texas Roadhouse. It was unprofessional. It was over the top. But THAT comment wasn’t what bothered me. It was his next one:

“So if you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting a football out and throwing around the backyard with pops!”

…and then Twitter went boom. Here’s a few comments from my timeline:

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Don’t worry. ESPN apologized. Spokesman Mike Soltys offered this statement:

“We always try to capture interesting storylines and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.”

I don’t think Musburger meant to sound like a sexist creep. He probably thought he was simply complimenting a beautiful woman. In fact, that’s what a lot of men thought.

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It is not a broadcaster’s job to echo the prurient thoughts of you and your buddies sharing pitchers of beer at the bar. It is the broadcaster’s job to call the game in a professional and appropriate manner.

I’m not one for hypothetical situations, but I can’t help but think of how this situation would differ if it were a female broadcaster commenting on a good-looking male athlete. Imagine a woman in the booth falling all over herself and telling America how much she loves to watch Joe Lineman bend over in his three-point stance. Not only would she probably be fired, but she’d also be berated as someone who can’t be taken seriously – used as proof that women aren’t qualified to talk about sports.

But that double standard is a whole different animal, and we’ll get to that another day.

What truly bothered me about Musburger’s comment is his perpetuation of the theory that women are some sort of trophy to be won as a result of your athletic ability. Athletic prowess equals sexual conquest. Telling little boys they should go throw a football so that they can have a beautiful woman. Essentially telling little girls they are nothing but a prize. Football players get knock-out gorgeous beauty queens. The rest of you guys… well… you get the normal women. Women like me. The consolation prizes.

Am I outraged? No. Have I started an aggressive letter writing campaign to have Musburger fired? Not at all. I’m not defending Katherine Webb, either. I’m sure she will be fine (especially since Musburger single-handedly skyrocketed her career). I’m simply letting you guys know that – despite your justification – sometimes we women are offended by sexist banter while we’re trying to watch a football game.

I watch a lot of “Mankind: The History of All of Us” on the History Channel (nerd alert). This series taught me that, in ancient times, men used to paint their bodies and fight each other to determine who would win the female’s affection. Wild animals still do this. Hell, why don’t you all head up to the Rockies and ram each other in the head like bighorn sheep until you decide who can date Miss America?

And guys – You can say whatever you want about that hot babe in the bikini. But if you actually want to date her, here’s some advice: Shut your mouth, stop drooling, and act like you’ve seen a woman before.

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2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Sexism (from a Consolation Prize)

  1. Charlotte Ferrill says:

    At my age, I’m never going to look like Miss America. I’m sure she’s used to being ogled and desired. Brent Musburger was over-the-top on his comments. The part that became offensive is when he alluded that women are merely a prize to be won by the best jock around. Who’s going to inform Musburger we also have voting rights now?

  2. creepcv says:

    Though I agree with you 100%, Amber, I must say, this issue is clearly an American girl thing. ha.. I’ve been living in Jamaica for over a year and a half now, and I can’t even tell you the number of “old” men that have asked me to marry them. Marry them to get to the States as well as marry them and stay here. Men in JA treat women like this all the time. We’re nothing but “breeders” still. I guess it’s the whole “developing country” idea. Americans have [for the most part] gotten passed the whole idea of a woman staying at home cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the kids; however I’m not sure other countries got it as yet. We’re not a “prize” to keep at home or even show off. We are human beings with lives to live. Some men just can’t/won’t ever understand equality.

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