Week 14 Prompt Two-Helling

abby wambach

Marketing any new professional sports league is a difficult undertaking. There are powerful traditions and habits in place that drive people’s behavior. Adding on the fact that it’s a women’s league and the game being played is soccer, and you are going to have a rough go of it in the United States. I am not sure that without some massive cultural shifts, it will ever work financially. Of course, without attempts at making those cultural shifts occur, it would probably never happen. The strategy for this must be a winning one, because those involved have already been spotted a huge deficit before the game even begins.
Joanna Lohman is a player in the newest attempt at a women’s professional soccer league. She writes an essay about her opinion at what the marketing strategy should be for the new league. In response to Lohman’s essay, an article was penned by Kevin Parker in rebuttal of many of Lohman’s ideas. There is one huge fact that both voices have completely avoided in their arguments, and that is that the main source of revenue for the big boys is not fans.
Major League Baseball, the NBA, NFL and NHL all get the largest piece of their revenue pies from broadcasting contracts. Ticket sales, concessions takes, merchandise royalties all add into that pie, but the biggest slice comes from selling broadcasting rights. If you took away the money these leagues get from media outlets which pay to broadcast the games, the leagues would be a shell of what they are now. The main point is that even the all-powerful NFL could not survive on the scale it has reached solely on the wallets of its fans.
So how should a women’s professional soccer league market itself? The real money is in convincing TV networks and radio groups that your product is worth buying. You have to convince them that if they broadcast your games, they will get enough of a market share to take those numbers and sell it to potential advertisers. That’s the golden ticket.
How the proponents of this women’s professional soccer league will compete for limited resources such as sports broadcast dollars when facing such obstacles such as gender ideology, the heterosexual matrix and even an American exceptionalism anti-soccer bias in sports is a difficult question to answer in a positive way. If ever a women’s professional soccer league is sustainable in the United States, they will have hurdled major obstacles to get to that point.

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Week 14 Prompt One-Helling

South_Brunswick_High_School_Athletes_1

Amanda Levitt writes the blog, Fat Body Politics. In a post dated October 6th of this year and entitled “Bullying it’s Not Just for Kids,” Levitt explains how she sees the ideology that bullying stops when people become of a certain age and that adults don’t have to deal with the problem as an issue in our society.
The most interesting point that Levitt made was her argument that if society called bullying by more specific terms such as racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. that we could more directly address the problem instead of sweeping under the all-encompassing rug of bullying. Levitt argues that children should be taught about each of these issues individually.
My question in response to that is more logistical than philosophical. I agree with Levitt in theory. There are many questions to be asked about at what age children/youth could adequately grasp these concepts and how best to instruct them about the issues. Teaching them about these dynamics of power lines in society at an age too young would be futile, too old could be too late. If educators have ineffective methods, even if given at the right age, then the lessons once again might not get the job of broadening minds done.
The other criticism I have to offer in connection to this idea is that if we deliberately teach children tolerance, we also run the risk of too narrowly defining the roles that people of varying gender expressions, sexualities and racial identities must fit into. We say that if someone looks or acts a certain way, then they must be (insert label), so don’t make fun of them for that. We end up perpetuating the system of categorization and rigid roles.
This is similar to Adams, Franklin and Schmitke wrote about in their article “Tomboys, Dykes and Girly Girls: Interrogating the Subjectivities of Adolescent Female Athletes.” In the article, Adams et al. write that teenage female athletes present themselves in a certain way because they have been taught it is necessary to be read in society as heterosexual women. No one has to enforce these norms with these young ladies, but rather, “the regulation of the female body is accomplished through a variety of self-regulatory mechanisms, such as the adherence to ideals of beauty that require women to maim and deface their bodies, control their food intake, and take up as little space as possible.”
In the same way Adams et al. argue female adolescents regulate themselves to appear heterosexually female, we could create a culture in which other groups similarly regulate. If we present a list of characteristics to watch out for, we send a couple messages. First, that adolescents whom wish to identify themselves in like manners must adhere to those behaviors and secondly that all those whom exhibit those behaviors must wish to identify with those labels. Both messages could be potentially harmful.

Tristan Meade Prompt: 3

I believe that there is a large difference between Men and women’s sports when it comes to homophobia and heterosexism. Men are looked at in society in such a way that they are “the bread winners” or “the protectors”.  They are supposed to look and act a certain way and this image just becomes more magnified in men’s sports.  Because of this pressure to conform to how society views male athletes, men are more cautious about coming out to their fellow teammates.

Female athletes are perceived in a more masculine way, causing society to associate certain terms such as “dyke”, “lesbian”, “butch”,  and “masculine”.  Women in society are excepted to look beautiful, skinny, tan and fit in order to fit into society and that has caused a lot of younger women to put a huge chip on their shoulders to look and act a certain way.  Because of the pressures of society male and female athletes are being pressured to keep their sexual orientation quite, especially if it goes against the “social norm”.

Male athletes feel that they need to play their role in their sport.  If a male plays a sport he feels as though he is supposed to be a heterosexual male, who is strong, fit and good at what he does.  Also the factor of being attractive to the public eye is a huge deal.  Men especially in sports such as football haven’t come out because of the fact that society see’s football players as the most masculine and heterosexual athletes, and these athletes have to fulfill that role in society.  No athlete wants to be the first to come out in their sport either.

Women have come out and addressed their sexuality publicly and dealt with the media in a very tame manor.  These women feel like they needed to stand up for themselves and their sports and let other people know that it is ok to express yourself and your feelings about your sexuality.

Because men have always been seen as the greater sex, they feel as if they can not come out especially in more masculine sports such as football.  Men feel like the consequences of coming out publicly especially being on a professional team would put too much attention on them and some are even afraid of the backlash that they will get if they do come out.  Looking at these facts I believe that male sports are definitely more homophobic then women’s sports, just because a lot more women have come out, and feel comfortable in their own skin to do so.

These women know that there will be backlash and a lot of publicity with their announcement but because of the support system that they have they aren’t afraid to come out.  Whether you are a homosexual or not people need to realize that everyone is an individual and that everyone is different.  Just because someone is gay doesn’t mean that they are more or less weak than they would be if they are heterosexual.  And the fact that people can not accept the fact that people like other people of the same sex just boggles my mind because our society has come so far in accepting certain aspects of life and the fact that people can not accept these people for how they feel just saddens me.