International Women’s Day is marked on March 8th every year. It is a major day for the global celebration of women. In different regions the focus ranges from a general celebration of respect, appreciation and love toward women, to a celebration of women’s social, economic and political achievements.
I’ve been reading articles about the hardships that women face in many different parts of the world; the social, religious and economic oppression, as well as the physical abuse that calls itself “cultural tradition” – the mutilation of women’s genitals at the hands of their own families.
I have also just finished reading Portia de Rossi’s book Unbearable Lightness, about her struggles with anorexia and bulimia in an attempt to mold her already beautiful body into the form that was “acceptable” to the entertainment and fashion industry. At her worst she weighed 82lbs – this is an adult woman – and yet was still being asked to do “fashion” spreads because she looked so good.
Below is a picture of Lara Flynn Boyle, also famous for being the “skinniest” actress of her time. It’s horrific that anyone, anywhere, could find this attractive and not only encourage, but demand that women literally starve themselves to death to obtain this “perfect” look. And so many people go along with the fiction that they are “just naturally skinny” and that these woman are not starving themselves to maintain this look. Portia wrote that she was eating under 300 calories a day to maintain her weight under 100lbs. 300 calories – that is a starvation diet.
So where am I going with this little rant, and how does it relate to sports fans and groupies? Women, and the men who choose to support them, can take up the cause for equality not only in the big issues, but also in the many small, culturally ingrained slights that we might not even notice. Misogyny is defined in Wikipedia as
“. . . a cultural attitude of hatred for females because they are female, it is a central part of sexist prejudice and ideology and, as such, is an important basis for the oppression of females in male-dominated societies. Misogyny is manifested in many different ways, from jokes to pornography to violence to the self-contempt women may be taught to feel for their own bodies”