Women’s sports have truly arrived so give up the ‘yas queen’

Women’s college hoops have fully arrived on the big stage and some are surprised it’s not a soft focus, Dove soap announces.

The cries of sexism, and then the chronic need to racialize the sport, created an ugly sideshow of identity politics.

This week, an LA Times article caused an uproar when the writer used the phrase “dirty debutantes” to describe LSU’s women’s team before playing UCLA.

Writer Ben Bolch wrote: “Do you prefer America’s sweethearts or its dirty debutantes? Milk and biscuits or Louisiana hot sauce.

If you put it that way, LSU all the way. UCLA looks like a nap.

Bolch apologized, saying he was “trying to be clever” by using the alliteration and had no idea of ​​any bad connotations, which are apparently of the pornographic variety. I had no idea either, but I also saw people challenging the whole “good versus evil” narrative.

LSU coach Kim Mulkey, who was recently profiled by the Washington Post, was probably happy to have another media outlet as a distraction. She said it was sexist. LSU guard Hailey Van Lith called him racist.

Colorful LSU coach Kim Mulkey called out the sexism in the UCLA writer’s article. Getty Images
LSU guard Hailey Van Lith took issue with the LA Times article, calling it racist. P.A.

I read Bolch’s intention to treat this match like a cinematic blockbuster. Not a 99 cent DVD lying around in the bin at a Walgreen’s, the way women’s hoops had been treated before.

Of course, Bolch could have sniffed at the alliteration.

But behind this outcry lies a certain part of the women’s sports world which believes that female athletes should only be presented as Cleopatra in a golden chair: yas queen journalism.

Any harsh take goes into the bucket of “ism,” equated with bigotry.

LA Times writer Ben Bolch has issued an apology for his article previewing the LSU-UCLA game. This has been called sexist and racist. @latbbolch/Twitter

Good versus evil, villains, heroes and heels are familiar tropes in men’s sports.

There was a Notre Dame-Miami “Catholics versus Convicts” matchup in 1988. Or look at Duke, constantly portrayed as the dark force in academic circles. They made a “30 for 30” entitled “I Hate Christian Laetner”.

Maybe – just maybe – these pointed takes simply treat women like their male counterparts, who know there is a dark side to this visibility. Tom Brady, LeBron James, the list goes on – they are no strangers to ad hominem attacks as much as valid criticism.

Writer Jemele Hill complained that Caitlin Clark received so much media coverage because she was white. Getty Images

The current focus on women’s sports is exciting, but it inherently brings more heat, more drama, more hatred. And yes, more love and after NIL, more cashola. But nothing is free.

More visibility and a bigger stage means no more kid gloves, because that’s also equality.

Female athletes, like their male peers, should not be mistreated or targeted. But they don’t need to be coddled either.

Mulkey’s profile in the Washington Post (which she attacked even before it was published) was blasted by Nancy Armor of USA Today, who argued that a male coach would never have faced such a level of scrutiny staff.

An enduring presence in the game, Mulkey parades the sidelines dressing and acting like a “Righteous Gemstone” villain.

Iowa star Caitlin Clark has become the face of women’s hoops. Getty Images

She is a lightning rod for attention, excitement and controversy in the sport. Bobby Knight in sequins. There was nothing extraordinary about creating a more complete portrait of a complex character.

But while crying racism and sexism on the one hand, there is a chronic habit of racializing sports to an obsessive degree.

Three weeks ago, USA Today’s Lindsay Schnell, who happens to be white, wrote a column saying that faces in the game should be black.

She wrote this regressive claim: “In a game built by black women, it is important that the faces of the future look like those of the past. »

Kim Mulkey was the subject of a Washington Post profile that she lambasted before publication. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

By this measure, women can’t cover sports because the faces in the press box in the past were men, so please hand your press card to Bob over there. THANKS.

Then Jemele Hill complained that Caitlin Clark, a generational talent, gets so much media coverage because she’s white.

In a recent Atlantic article, Hill argued that Clark’s fans were missing something: “A broader conversation about how many Black female athletes have been marginalized in the sport, despite their invaluable contributions.” »

LSU coach Kim Mulkey hugs Angel Reese, who is one of the sports stars. P.A.

Caitlin Clark is transcendent. She is filling houses, attracting an impressive number of viewers and she lost 41 points last night.

We don’t need to strip these women of their personality, courage, and edge and reduce them to just their unchanging characteristics.

Women’s hoops is at an exciting time and at a crossroads. But we must decide how sport and athletes will be treated: as gladiators on the field giving us an unforgettable spectacle or as meek women in need of bubble wrap.

New York Post

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