Friday, February 22, 2008

Women Behaving Normally

Today is the last day of the last week of class before "spring vacation," or "winter break," or "reading week," or whetever the fuck it's called when it happens at the end of February.

So I'm "relaxing."

Last night we went to watch the women's basketball team here at UMich in a home game against the Purdue Boilermakers. It was pretty awesome. Here's a picture of one of their stars, Krista Phillips, who is like, well over 6 feet tall.

I was never into sports of any kind as a kid, and I don't play any sports now, so it's surprising that when it comes to feminism, and women's equality, and yada yada yada, almost nothing gets me more emotional than watching women play serious sports.

I love it. I think there are a few reasons. Serious sports means serious competition, which requires a kind of psycho-physical fearlessness I've never had. I mean, I can compete with some guy on a math exam, sitting quietly alone in my chair, but I hate engaging in open combat of any kind. So the fact that these women just want to go out there and do that, it's so cool.

Then, too, the women and girls who play sports always seem so into what they're doing, in such an ordinary, every day, nonspecial way. They just like it. It's cool.

Another thing, I have to say, has to to do with the way female athletes are often large and strong female physical presences. It sounds so cliched, to say that somehow being physically strong and large is a kind of statement for feminism, but I'm often kind of bowled over by how true it is. The pressure not to take up physical space, to not intrude on anyone, is so great, and here these women are, you know, not really fucking worrying about that at all.

It's kind of brought home to you at the game because, of course, these games also have cheerleaders. The cheerleaders are of both sexes, but while the guys are just regular-looking guys, the girls are super-cute, super-tiny things that can bounce up onto a guy's shoulders and wave around, and perch on teensy mats while the game is going on.

Honestly, when I was young, I was dying to be a cheerleader. My school didn't have cheerleading, which is probably a good thing, but really, the urge to bounce and perch and shake my curls comes way more naturally to me than the urge to elbow my opponents and make a couple of baskets.

It's not bad, I figure, the cheerleader thing. The only scary bad thing is when it's all perchers and no elbowers. Then every girl has to be a percher. That's why I'm so into these women athletes, doing their thing, having a good time.

I'd like to be some kind of actual fan, like follow some WNBA team or something, but in fact, I'm so not into sports that whenever I try something like that I just lose interest. Weird, I know, since it's not like checking scores on the web and going to the bar to watch a game are, like, trying, or difficult activities.

Whatever. In the meantime, and while I'm here, Go Blue!


jackpot said...

Watching women's bball in person is so much different than on TV. When me and the Captain went to Oral Roberts to watch a game I fell in love with some ridiculously tall girl to the point where I was actively cheering for Oral Roberts University (!) - yes, the one with the giant statue of praying hands. Tall girls, I tell you.

Captain Colossal said...

Dude, I was totally going to mention that, but then I thought that it was a private and personal love, and your choice whether to share it or not. She was pretty awesome, that girl.

jackpot said...

Claudia Louis. She was from Baton Rouge. And according to the ORU website, she was only 5'11". Whatever - she was tall. I will publicly declare my love for all tall girls to the world. The world!

Noko Marie said...

I totally agree that watching in person is its own, special, cool thing. Why is that?

And tall girls, yeah, totally. I'm 5'6" and my whole life I've wanted to be really tall.

I guess this means the thing to do is... get my ass down to Detroit during the WNBA season for a home game. Starts in May, right? OK, I'll get to work on it!