Communications and Society blog: By and for students in Marist COM 201

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Boys Will Be Boys

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I cringed last week when my Strategies and Research Methods professor assigned a seventeen page, single spaced article to read.  I thought that I would struggle to stay awake and retain it’s content.  I have just completed the article about Katie Hnida, the first female Division I football player, and am bursting with so much outrage that I simply can not wait until my next Research and Methods class to discuss the atrocious crimes against females by certain media outlets.

Katie Hnida was a walk-on place kicker for Colorado University’s football team in 1999.  Two years later she came forth and claimed to be verbally and sexually abused by her team mates.  Regardless if women should be allowed to play in perceived ‘male’ sports and regardless if her allegations against her team mates were truthful is irrelevant.  In the circus which surrounded these incidents, the media continually justified general sexually aggressive male behavior.

I am ashamed to say that one of these media elite is from my hometown of Pittsburgh.  Mark Madden is a nationally recognized sports reporter.  The term ‘shock jock’ best represents his type of reporting.  In the aftermath of Hnida’s allegations Madden wrote “Hnida had the right to be on Colorado’s football team if she was good enough. She wasn’t.  So she didn’t belong there.  And if she’s not there nothing traumatic happens to her. That’s not to excuse anything that allegedly happened to Hnida.  But she should not have been on the team in the first place.”  Madden says he is not making excuses for any inappropriate and illegal behavior committed by Colorado’s male players, but that is exactly what he was doing.  Hnida’s presence on the team didn’t magically turn her male teammates into rapists.  That kind of aggression, disrespect, and violent behavior is a glaring character flaw in those men, arguably perpetuated by societal gender stereotypes, which would have manifested its self eventually in another sexually violent act.   How would Madden justify one of these young men raping a girl that they met in a college class instead of on the football field?  To justify one of these situations is to justify them all.

One of Madden’s colleagues, E. A. Watkins, said that Hnida’s team mates were only exhibiting “expected male behavior“.  Being sexually violent, however, is not expected male behavior.  Take for example two recent sports figures who have been in the media for their sexual escapades; Golf Hero, Tiger Woods, and two-time Super Bowl Champ, Ben Roethlisberger.  Whether it is right or wrong, men are expected be grossly sexually active, like Woods.  Woods cheated on his wife with over fifteen women, many of whom came forth to the media.  But none of Woods’ girlfriends claimed that he acted sexually aggressive towards them.  Most had only good things to say of the super star athlete.  Roethlisberger, who seems to have far less sexual conquests, is subject to three rape chargers.  Whether it be right or wrong, it is Woods’ behavior which is “expected male behavior”, where as the Roethlisberger’s sexual aggression must be deemed as criminal and unacceptable.

I am not a bra-burning feminist, nor am I sure how I feel about women, like Hnida, playing football.  But I do believe that women should be treated with dignity and respect.  When Media elites, like Madden and Watkins, make excuses for sexually violent crimes it only makes for a society which perpetuates an environment that condones rape.


Written by stephsheff

May 10, 2011 at 1:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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