Yesterday I wrote a long post reacting to one way people have talked about Griner possibly trying out for the NBA: that it is unfair to compare women to men because that diminishes women’s accomplishments. I also went in a bit on sports media.
Today I have my second article at The Guardian, this one about the misogynistic and transphobic response to idea of Griner trying out for the NBA [trigger warning for this article]. Here is an excerpt:
With an irony not apparent to these commentators, the belief that Griner is “not manly enough” to play in the NBA is flatly opposed by the other offensive method people used to insult her: that she is a man. This is aclassic transphobic trope, or a fear that her gender presentation does not “match” the sex she was assigned at birth. For example: “she possesses man parts, so why not?”; “Griner has a penis and would fit right in”; “She looks and sounds like a man.” For much more, if you need it, in this vein, just check out the hashtag.
These transphobic jokes, like the misogynistic ones, devalue Griner because we live in a society that denigrates trans people in general and chafes whenever confronted by someone who does not fit into a neat box of “feminine woman” or “masculine man”. Because athletes are seen as “masculine”, female athletes, by being athletic, are no longer feminine.
I had a really hard writing The Guardian piece. I want to publicly thank Claire Gherini and T. F. Charlton for getting onto Google Drive, where I was writing the piece, and literally going over sentences and then larger ideas.
When working on a piece like this, I google the topic, bookmark a lot of it, and then print out the pieces I think I’ll use. Here is the list of my sources for this piece (some are actually linked in it, some not):
- Travis Waldron at Think Progress: Brittney Griner Deserves A Real NBA Tryout, Not A Publicity Stunt
- Monica Roberts at TransGriot: What’s The Black ‘Unwoman’ Meme?
- Dave Zirin at The Nation: Nine-Year-Old Girl Plays Football, Kicks Ass and Maybe Changes the World
- Dave Zirin’s Game Over
- Jemele Hill at ESPN: The false promise of the NBA
- Kate Fagan at ESPN: No woman, not even Griner, could play in NBA
- Kate Fagan at ESPN: What Brittney Griner Says About Us
- Sam Blum at The Guardian: Dallas Mavericks’ Mark Cuban ‘may draft’ women’s star Brittney Griner
- Roundtable at ESPN: Could Brittney Griner play in NBA?
- Keith Wagstaff at The Week: Why Brittney Griner should not try to become the first woman in the NBA
- Sean Gregory at TIME: Can a Woman Play In the NBA?
- LA Times: What would happen if Mark Cuban actually drafted Brittney Griner?
- Kevin Sherrington at Dallas Morning News: Brittney Griner is the ‘greatest women’s player ever,’ but here’s why she wouldn’t make it in the NBA
- Shehan Jeyarajah at Bleacher Report: Brittney Griner: How Would the Baylor Star Fare Playing Men’s or NBA Basketball?
- Marc Stein at ESPN: Lieberman to Griner: Go for it
- Kelly Whiteside at USA Today: Talk of Brittney Griner in NBA sparks debate
- Sean Highkin at USA Today: Women’s coach tells Mark Cuban not to draft Brittney Griner (related: Geno Auriemma should go walk around on some legos)
- @graceishuman at Storify: Training Rules (Livetweet)