Um, so the response to Elizabeth Lambert’s ponytail-yanking incident isn’t sexist or anything…

Elizabeth Lambert, a University of New Mexico football player (that’s soccer, to my fellow Americans – I think “soccer” is a stupid word and try to use it as little as possible, OK?), was involved in a pretty violent incident on the pitch and it wound up on YouTube. She was suspended from the team, and is seeking counseling. Now people are saying that she needs to be raped. And publishing her parents’ home phone number. I’m not kidding. Read the NYT piece on this.

Am I missing something here? Mike Tyson took a bite out of Evander Holyfield, and no one said he needed a good raping to make up for it. Wayne Rooney was seen practically stomping on Ricardo Carvalho’s balls, and no one said “hey everyone, let’s go harass Rooney’s family now.”

The truth is, bizarre, violent incidents take place in men’s sports all the time. I’m not saying that this is a good thing, I’m just saying that it happens. When you are feeling incredibly competitive, and are pumped up on adrenaline, you can lose control. Elizabeth Lambert lost control. And if she had been a dude, she would most likely not be getting crucified in public.

A woman’s public image must be demure. Or at least gentle. Or soft. Or beguiling. Or some crap like that. A woman who allows herself to get angry is a crazy bitch and needs to be taught a lesson. Anger is considered “unnatural” for women. It’s seen as an icky aberration. It must be corrected.

Remember the dude in “The Shining”? Talking about how he “corrected” his daughters? Yeah, it’s something like that. Only it’s real.

Do I think Elizabeth Lambert is a great feminist hero for doing what she did? No. It was a awful thing to do, and I realize it, and she realizes it, and everyone else realizes it too. Steps have been taken to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, and hopefully they’ll work. I don’t envy Lambert’s coach, because if and when this girl gets reinstated, there will be a tough trial period that inevitably follows as it is determined whether or not Lambert has her anger under control now. The miasma of bad publicity will hang over the team for a while, fairly or unfairly.

And yet, the people sending horrible insults and threats Lambert’s way don’t even have the half-excuse of sweating through a rough game. And if they want Lambert to examine her actions, they would do well to take a moment and examine their own. Let’s face it, aside from poor sportsmanship, Lambert is being criticized for not performing femininity correctly. She looks like she’d be really tough to handle. And that scares some people enough to bust out the torches and pitchforks.

Thanks to Alex for the link.

12 thoughts on “Um, so the response to Elizabeth Lambert’s ponytail-yanking incident isn’t sexist or anything…

  1. Elizabeth Lambert is a junior at the University of New Mexico, and plays for their soccer team the Lobos originally from California (too bad for California). So, this loser knows they are going in to a game that they will most likely lose and since they do not have the talent to score they resort to this kind of play, it has very minor thought to it than let’s say passisng the ball through your opponents defense and scoring a goal.

    The other issue is the where were the referees, were they all older white men with their tongues out, enamored and unable to call the game objectively (this game had so many penalties that did not get called), I mean what are they getting paid to do. Who has paid these guys off? Do we have to change the game where only women referees can call women games. After watching the video someone was paid off, that is my conclusion.

    And Lizzy, watch you back and please stay out of soccer (you real should be banned, the game does not need people like you in it), so many will be gunning for you now. Who knows maybe you were just drumming up business for your “Occupational Therapy practice”, yah good luck with that, I doubt your bed side manner is any different from your sportsmanship.

  2. I actually debated saying soccer or football to you when I was talking to you about it. I guess I chose poorly 😉

  3. Count me amongst those who just don’t get the reaction to this at all. Elizabeth Lambert is an athlete, playing at a very high level, in a very intense situation against a skilled opponent. She definitely crossed the line, but someone always does in those circumstances when the refs do a poor job of keeping the game under control. As someone who’s watched and played plenty of ice hockey, I seen (and occasionally participated in) a lot worse.

  4. If you ask me …

    She should be charged with battery.
    Tyson should have been charged with battery.
    I’m not familiar with the Wayne Rooney incident, but it sounds like assault and/or battery.

    Though to be fair, I don’t play any of the involved sports and didn’t see any of the context leading up to the incidents and am not an expert in any aspect of it. But people lose control all the time, and the law comes down on them. And not being an expert, I wouldn’t actually expect the law to ask me.

    As for people saying she needs a good raping, 1) the people saying this are jerks at best and 2) I’ll bet somebody said that about Tyson too (again, don’t know anything about Wayne.) Perhaps he could get his nice raping in jail, where he belonged after that incident (again, IMHO – the jail, not the raping) ?

    But sure, take the extreme, anonymous views from a few jerks who say she needs a good raping, who publish her parents phone number and extrapolate that into society saying things about a woman’s image needing to be demure?

    The few, anonymous (anonymity is key here) people with these extreme views do not represent society.

  5. I honestly don’t know how anonymous the internet is anymore. In fact, it really isn’t. Maybe most people still don’t realize that, but somehow, I doubt it.

    And it’s true that whenever a woman acts like “a bitch” it’s considered unnatural and worthy of punishment, in a way that male anger just isn’t. Look at how annoyed everyone was with Kate Gosselin. And she was nothing out of the ordinary. Or look at how Hillary was chided for having “an outburst” when she rightly told someone at a Q & A session that she, not her husband, is the Secretary of State, and what her husband thinks is irrelevant to the discussion.

    I’m sure that plenty of people said that Mike Tyson deserved to be raped in jail, considering his own history with sexual assault. Which is another story, or maybe it isn’t, considering how we trivialize rape – prison rape in particular.

  6. I think Lambert should be raped, Mike Tyson should be raped too… and so should George W. Bush be raped over and over and over again too… no sexism here.. they should all be raped then brutally killed. We should legalize public raping against convicted child molesters too.. all in favor say ‘aye’.

  7. Interesting take on the incident, however I wholly disagree. Ms. Lambert’s actions cannot be viewed in a vacuum. Her victims were women athletes who certainly do not expect to be assaulted in a futbol match. If the victims were men, there would probably have been less of a furor, but they were women. Male athletes expect more contact and potentially agressive and even violent behavior from other male athletes. I don’t think her actions are being vilified so much because she is not acting feminine enough, I truly believe we have progessed beyond that for female athletes. And her actions were beyond loss of control during a physical athletic competition. They were criminal. And oh, by the way, to Jon L. . . . can we start with you, you creep.

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