I's Tuesday night, and I'm waiting for my 10 year old daughter to finish her homework so we can watch the NCAA women's basketball championship game between UConn and Notre Dame. Both teams are undefeated, having gone a combined 68-0 this year. Neither team has lost in more a calendar year--and each team's last loss was to the other. The players don't like each other much. The coaches don't either. It stands to be a brilliant game.
So as I was sitting around waiting to start watching, I decided to check my Twitter feed.
And now I'm depressed. Here's what the responses are to ESPN's tweet of
Both UConn and Notre Dame have not lost in more than a calendar year (!!). And each team's last loss was to the other. Talk about a RIVALRY.
Here are the respoonses:
@SportsCenter lebrons a pussy tho.
@SportsCenter i send NUDES to my new FOLLOWERS FAV if you want them
@SportsCenter who cares honestly?
@SportsCenter nobody cares about womens basketball
@SportsCenter Sound fraud but it's not
@SportsCenter yet again, a cooking and cleaning national championship needs to be on HGTV, not ESPN
@SportsCenter no one gives a fuk
@SportsCenter just stop
@SportsCenter Too bad IDGAF
@SportsCenter that's crazy shit
@SportsCenter Who watches women's basketball? 100 people?
@SportsCenter ya you would think, but it's not cuz it's women's basketball
That’s the first THIRTEEN responses. And it starts young (my daughter’s friends scorn her Liberty tickets from FIFTH grade, even though she can take most of them in a game of 1 on 1.) Just pathetic.
And then I think about the terrific lunch I had today with a young editor—a guy—who’s building a list. He was talking about the frustration he feels when he receives “guy books” because he’s the new young male editor, despite the fact that he is uninterested in pigeonholing himself as the bro-diter (not his term, but it works). I talked about the fact that I say over and over that I am looking for badass women and strong girls and historical fiction, but it’s taken a long time for that to stick.
Fundamentally, we live in a gendered society with particular expectations and assumptions about us. That’s nothing new. But there are times that I sit in my apartment in Manhattan, with my highly empowered daughters and my son who’s as likely to wear his Liberty shirt to school as his Punisher hoodie, and I forget what a long, long way we have to go. And unfortunately, all I need to do is look at Twitter before arguably the best athletic contest—men or women—of the year, and I’m reminded of the distance we need to bridge before we can just look at each other as people, with talent and skill and game. I think the game is about to start. And I hope Jakobee and Bigg Poppa give it a try.