I have been very bothered recently by a video that’s been going around of sorority women at a baseball game.
The women are not really paying attention to the game. They are looking at their phones, taking selfies, and posing for pictures with each other. And the announcers are making fun of them. “Oh, does this one look better than the other 300 that I’ve taken?” an announcer mocks. They also finish announcing a play, pan to the girls and say “And nobody noticed!” They also make comments about how they should take away their phones and not give them back until the end of the game.
The number of people that have shared this mocking the women makes me infuriated. And I’ll tell you why. I’m assuming that people think this video is a representation of a. That these girls don’t care about sports. b. They are selfish, too into themselves and their beauty and c. They should not be there if they are not paying attention to the game. and d. They are a billboard for “this generation” and it is “horrible.”
What I don’t understand is that obviously there was not much going on important in the game, otherwise THE CAMERA WOULD BE ON THE GAME AND NOT THE GIRLS. So why are people so angry? If there’s a lull in the action, why wouldn’t they check their phones?
And hey, have you ever gone to a concert and taken a selfie with your friends during the concert? Have you ever gone to an event and had a few adult beverages and now can’t remember exactly what happened? Have you ever answered your phone while you’ve been out with friends? Have you ever taken a picture of yourself IN GENERAL? Then technically you’re doing the same exact thing that the women were doing, and you should not be shaming them for that. And you know what? The women were paying customers. That means they get to do WHATEVER THEY WANT during the game. If they choose not to pay attention, so be it. Maybe they wanted to experience the atmosphere and not necessarily watch the game. But they should be able to do that. Because they PAID to.
I guess what bothers me most is this video and the comments that people are making perpetuates stereotypes. “Girls don’t understand sports. Girls love taking selfies. Girls shouldn’t be able to go to a game and not pay attention. Sorority girls are dumb. This generation cares about nothing other than themselves.”
In case you can’t read the photo, it states, “…(We do) not condone the sexist and misogynistic comments made towards the women in the Panhellenic community…We support the women of Alpha Chi Omega who have been subjected to inappropriate an inexcusable media attention. We believe the comments are undermining women’s confidence, projecting negative stereotypes intended to demean and diminish the worth of our fellow sorority women and ASU students, and continue to promote a sexist environment within professional sports.” It then goes on to list the many accomplishments of the women in the sorority and the great things that they have done. The final paragraph states, “We cannot sit silent nor idle as our fellow women are treated in such a chauvinistic way. We want to take this opportunity to educate all those who have participated in these negative comments on the importance of respecting women and how their words have a greater impact on breaking the glass ceiling of women’s rights.”
I found this response on Facebook posted under the video of the women, and thought it was perfect. Apparently other people did not though, and went so far as to question why you “can’t call a girl a girl these days.”
FIRST of all, they are not “girls”, they are women. SECOND of all, things that perpetuate stereotypes like these or even jokes made about women that are “not harmful” are actually indeed harmful. These ideas contribute to an environment where people think it is okay to think these things about women and continue to escalate the cycle of privilege and oppression. So to some people, I’m sure I’m “overreacting.” But I’m tired of hearing that women are vain. I’m tired of hearing they can’t be into “manly things” such as sports. I am tired of hearing that this generation is doomed because we are glued to technology. Because you know what? It’s not just this generation that’s glued into technology; Everyone contributes to a society where technology is so valued as it is today.
I am grateful that I work with college students, because although I do have to deal with negative situations, I also deal with extremely positive ones. I have watched students help each other. I have watched students fight for their rights and the rights of others. I have watched a group of women in a sorority put on events that are philanthropic in nature and contribute positively to society. I have watched a group of young black men hold an event to talk about stereotypes and share their voice in order to break the cycle of oppression. I witness sisterhood. I witness brotherhood. I witness random acts of kindness. And I get to see these things every day. So I may be privileged in that regard, because I don’t think this generation is doomed. It may be, though, if people continue to spread things that demean others and continue to hold them back. But I won’t sit idly by and watch it happen, because I know we can do better.