September 5, 2017
In this week's edition:
- Being a Male Ally for Gender Equity (2/4)
- NEW! The Upline Cut interviews Georgia Bosscher
- Oh Yes She Did! Amy Zhou of Washington Scandal is fast
Being a Male Ally for Gender Equity (2/4)
Response to the Wind Chill & Radicals showcase game
This was the beginning to a very long thread about gender equity on reddit, posted by user tonyleonardo. This is the thought process that I want everyone to be able to have. Being able to put yourself in others shoes, even just a little bit, is an incredible step toward becoming an ally in the fight for gender equity.
Let’s backtrack a bit, though. One day prior, this statement from Pop Ultimate was posted on Upwind Ultimate and was then placed on Reddit.
For those who haven’t read it, I will attempt to summarize: Pop Ultimate was disappointed with the fact that the Minnesota Wind Chill would be scrimmaging the Madison Radicals at the half of a Minnesota Vikings preseason game. The primary reason for their disappointment was the fact that there would be no women involved in this showcase. The showcase was a perfect opportunity to display a high level mixed game, which would be much better for the equity movement.
While I and many others fully supported Pop in this statement, there were many others on Reddit who took issue with it. Some were confused by it, some just disagreed, some didn’t understand, and some were just ignorant about it like user just_a_viewer who said this, “These authors should be ashamed for such a statement.”
That’s the type of comment that is incredibly harmful to the equity movement. Their comment seemed like it came from a place of insecurity or anger. They’re the exact type of person who should read the quote at the top of this column. Try to think of what it could be like to be oppressed for your entire life.
I want to shift directions a bit now, though. I want to take a minute to talk to those who don’t understand why having a men’s game instead of mixed is harmful to the gender equity movement. The simplest way I can think to put it is by saying this, we don’t all survive when only one side of the boat floats. Meaning, if we only promote men’s ultimate, then women will suffer. Those who disagree should look no further than ALL OF EVERYTHING EVER.
Living in a society and world where women are looked at as less than men is something that I’m still learning about. There are things I notice every day that are oppressive, that I would have never noticed until I was actively attempting to understand the struggles faced by women. There’s the obviously oppressive, such as women earning only 70% of what men earn. Then there’s the more complicated, such as men being given more opportunities in ultimate than women.
There are similar situations in every sport. However, let’s look at basketball and the NBA which is often looked at as one of the most progressive leagues in all of sports. To the NBA’s credit, it is very progressive especially when compared to the patriarchal white supremacy scene in the NFL, NHL, and MLB. There is still, however, much work to be done. The WNBA is a league that is by no means thriving, and a lot of this stems from a lack of equal opportunity. This is what the ultimate community, I at least like to think, is attempting to avoid. While ultimate may never be as popular as basketball, I find it very important that we strive to be the sport that is fighting the most for equity. By having a men-only showcase game we risk having our sport grow at the same trajectory as basketball and the NBA. I should note that there is a new basketball league, Global Mixed Gender Basketball, who is currently fighting for equality. The New Orleans team, for example, has already brought in some big names like Dylan Gonzalez, Dakota Gonzalez, Lisa Leslie, Glen Davis, and Metta World Peace.
I digress. I have two main points that I wanted to get across in this post. One, we need more men to read that quote at the top of this article. It’s a perfect example of someone learning about privilege. As someone who is aspiring to be an ally to women I find it very important to give up your male privilege in order to give women an equal opportunity in this wonderful sport of ultimate. The other one, and this is incredibly important, listen to women when they believe they are being oppressed. As men it is very rare that we face oppression, unless of course you are a minority. So living in a situation where you have never been oppressed it can be very difficult to identify when others are being oppressed. So, in short, if a large majority of women feel as if they’re being oppressed, the odds are that they are. Sports are a place where women have been regularly oppressed, and as ultimate players we should strive to fix that and set a precedent.
Written by Lucas Johnson, co-host of The Upline Cut and plays for Providence Breakers in Providence, RI.
The Upline Cut interviews Georgia Bosscher
The Upline Cut is back with Team USA World Games captain, Georgia Bosscher. We get the inside look to her training routine, her tournament prep, and her adventures with World Games teammate and former Wisconsin Bella Donna, Sandy Jorgensen. BONUS: You can find us now on the iTunes Podcast app!