To Men Who Talk About Women’s Ultimate
Dear Men Who Talk About Women’s Ultimate,
It is making me completely insane that every time you talk about women’s ultimate not being worse than men’s ultimate you get a gold star. I’m picking useless Twitter fights, getting called out on r/ultimate for “ruining a good thing,” and venting to everyone who will listen.
I am happy to welcome men to conversations about women’s issues. We need men to get on board! We need you! It’s essential that men and women work together toward gender equity. I like you. Sometimes.
But when men are proud enough of themselves to publicly proclaim, “well, I watch women’s ultimate and I have personally discovered that women are not human-shaped sacks of mayonnaise getting in our way, but are actually skilled and passionate athletes with talent and spirit,” I lose my freaking mind.
Men, I need you to operate from the assumption that women’s ultimate is dope from the get-go. Opi is a great women’s player. Please stop using her as one of your three token examples of how women can be good at frisbee.
The answer to gender equity isn’t pointing out that women are skilled. Men are also skilled. Women’s ultimate is worth watching because it is a beautiful sport played by human beings who are worthy people, who demonstrate the awesome values of our sport. You like ultimate? You’ll like women’s. It’s that simple.
Stop trying to use talent to prove to me that women’s ultimate is worth watching, worth playing, and worth your time. I already inherently know that it is. All women know this. We’re already operating on this basic assumption.
Men, you don’t get a medal for telling me what I already know. You can maybe have a cookie if you point out solutions to equity, declare yourself an ally, and work to create equity by giving women opportunities in the spotlight. Don’t do it because some women are born tall or coordinated or able to leap tall defenders in a single bound, but because both genders are equal and deserving of opportunities to shine.
The language you use matters. You need to step up to make sure you’re supportive but not patronizing. This is hard, but it’s important. If you choose not to do this because it’s not easy, fine. But I will call your ass out on Twitter every time I see it.
P.S. Men Who Talk About Women’s Ultimate, if you shut out another woman from participating in a discussion because she hurts your feelings, I wish the deepest turf burn on you at your next tournament. Like the kind that those little black rubber things from the turf get into and get scabbed over so they are a permanent addition to your body. Reddit and Twitter are echo chambers for male ultimate players to pat themselves on the back for being the tiniest bit progressive in issues of racism and sexism. If you have enough of a forum that people are listening and responding, it’s your responsibility to engage, as well as your responsibility to accept that it’s a public forum and you are not perfect. If someone calls you out, it’s because you are a part of the problem. And just to reiterate that: You are part of the problem. Don’t be defensive. Figure your shit out and apologize, then do better.