It’s Just Semantics ‘Til Someone Gets Punched in the Face

Jouissens on Feministing posted this incredibly thoughtful examination of the many issues that arise when NBC commentators call women skiers like Lindsey Vonn girls yet refer to their peers with penises as men.

Yeah. What she said. Not that I’m surprised by sexism at the Olympics—women’s ski jumping, anyone?—but right on for continuing to call the idiots out on it.

Oh, sling your arrows. Go ahead. Call me PC. Call me an uptight feminist. Call me short-sighted for talking semantics when people are starving in the streets of Haiti.

But if you are wont to call women PC, uptight, short-sighted, or anything else for insisting that women be called women, here is my challenge to you.

Walk up to Spike Lee, Cornel West, Jesse Jackson, or Muhammad Ali, and call any one of them a boy. Then tell me language doesn’t matter.

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2 Responses to It’s Just Semantics ‘Til Someone Gets Punched in the Face

  1. Anneliese says:

    YES! I watched the downhill skiing and thought exactly the same thing. I mean, Lindsey Vonn crossed the finish line ON ONE SKI because of her injury – you don’t get much tougher. I also just read the Sports Illustrated profile of Vonn, where the writer waxes poetic about the tears that will drip down her alabaster cheeks (yes, he said “alabaster”) when she wins, and the headline trumpeted the emotional toll her father’s dislike of her husband has taken on her. Oh yeah, and the 70 mph crash she had just before the Turin Olympics might have had some kind of impact, too.

  2. Bill Shirley says:

    What I’d call women on this one is “at fault”. The women commentators that is. *Every* time I heard a woman commentator (mostly in curling, but also in other areas) speaking, she said “girl”, never “women”.

    In the case of curling, I got the feeling that the “older” female commentator wasn’t comfortable calling many of the 18 and 19 year olds “women”. She once referred to the 40+ curler as a woman.

    The women commentators don’t need to call out their male partners, but they need to switch over the terminology which will make the difference much more obvious. The men will follow, if the women lead.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t help that some of the athletes /are/ girls. I.E. 16 and younger.

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