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.