3 reasons why being a woman must be frustrating, Part 1
Super Bowl Halftime Show, Art Briles, and an accident
This week, there was buzz about the dozens of female Representatives showing up at the State of the Union Address in white. The message, apparently, was that they they were “fighting for the economic security of women & families.”
I am not in solidarity with those Representatives. They don’t care about women or anyone but themselves. Just like others in Congress, male and female, Democratic and Republican, they want power. They want more regulations and more taxes, policies that only destroy opportunities and make life more expensive for women and families (and men, too).
Regardless of politics, however, three other events this week reminded me how it must be damn frustrating to be a woman:
The first was Adam Levine’s performance at the 2019 Super Bowl Halftime Show in which he took off his shirt. It provoked strong social media reaction from those who remember the Halftime Show 15 years earlier in which one of Janet Jackson’s breasts was exposed.
That caused an uproar; the FCC fined CBS, which had broadcast that Super Bowl, a record amount. The FCC lost in federal court, but broadcast television has been reluctant to push nudity boundaries ever since.
As it still remains, men can go topless in public. Women can’t, either by local ordinances or by social expectations, no matter how uncomfortable they may feel. My preference is that the standards were equal. I’d rather see neither sex go topless in regular public areas, but I wouldn’t pass laws about it. I’d also prefer that it was socially acceptable for both sexes to go topless at beaches and swimming pools; to force women to cover up is to provoke men to over-fetishize that body part to unnatural degrees.
The second event was that Southern Mississippi interviewed Art Briles to be their Offensive Coordinator. The Biloxi Sun Herald cluelessly published this headline: “Fans react strongly to USM interviewing Art Briles, coach who was fired amid sex scandal.”
Art Briles did none of those things. His wasn’t a sex scandal, it was a sexual assault scandal. During his tenure at head coach at Baylor, “the school acknowledged 17 women had reported sexual or domestic assaults involving 19 players, including four alleged gang rapes. A 2017 lawsuit alleged 31 players committed 52 acts of rape.” An independent investigation faulted Briles for violating NCAA rules and federal law (Title IX) for failing to report these crimes and fostering a culture that allowed them to happen.
Fortunately for its own reputation, the SMU Administration says it never permitted this job interview and put a kibosh on the hire, over the objections of head coach Jay Hopson. Hopson said, “I believe he is a man who does love the Lord and deserves a second chance.”
Really, Coach? It shouldn’t make any difference, but I do have to ask: what if your daughter attended Baylor and one of Briles’ players raped her and got away with it?
Whether forgiven by others or by God, or not, no one ever “deserves” a second chance. The flip side by using “deserves” is that an institution or business is morally obligated to hire someone with a toxic reputation.
Hopson’s own attitude is not unusual in conservative Christian circles: when women are victimized, worry about the redemption of the man responsible. I just hope the victims of Briles’ Baylor program are getting the help they need to recover.
The good news is that Southern Miss knew the national reaction would be too negative against hiring Briles. It’s a sign of progress for the nation, but it’s also evidence that some segments of society are still out of touch with the seriousness of sexual violence.
The third incident involves a Facebook friend. (Name withheld, and it looks like she pulled her post.) Her dogs ran up from behind and knocked her down some stairs. She got a black eye and bruised ribs. She wrote that she won’t be leaving home, to protect her husband’s reputation.
After all, if she’s asked, “what happened?” and she tells the truth, people won’t believe her and will suspect her husband beat her.
Whereas if I fell down the stairs and tell people, “I fell down the stairs,” they’d believe me.
Women aren’t treated equally even when they fall down the stairs.
That must be frustrating.