Here we go again. Bernie Ecclestone, chief executive of Formula One Group and the leader of men who don’t know when to shut up, has just dropped a doozy during an interview claiming that female drivers “won’t be taken seriously in Formula One“. He also dropped gems such as how he doesn’t think women can handle the physicality of it (makes sense because women definitely cannot handle any physical distress. I’ve heard childbirth is a cakewalk).
So I started this essay with the best of intentions. I wanted to write something original and searing about how women in sports have to deal with extreme sexism. I wanted to talk about how time and again they suffer from not having access to resources and are gravely underfunded. I wanted to lay out examples of women who have actually excelled in the very field that Ecclestone claims they won’t be taken seriously. I wanted to write a thoughtful and path breaking article about how we need to put sexism to rest.
But much like constipation, nothing came out. Because I am done. I seem to have nothing new to add. I think this entire thing is insane. People, we can’t keep doing this. Over and over again. Every single time. Every time some misogynist (who also happens to be in a position of power) comes out to say something very obviously misogynistic. We write articles about how wrong they are and we hope they understand why they are wrong (because they happen to be in positions of power and their understanding is sadly critical). We furnish them with mountains of facts and data about how wrong they are. And then we wait for women who actually excel in sports to come and defend their own excellence and I am sure those women are tired too. If we are lucky, we get half-baked apologies. And then we wait until someone else (again in a positon of power) says something sexist to start the cycle all over again.
Also read: Chris Gayle, Lad Culture And What I’m Learning As An Online Sports Journalist
It’s exhausting. But more importantly, it’s insulting. Not only to the women who play sport and kick ass but women in general. It’s insulting that there is even a need for people like me to have to sit down and explain to men why women are just as worthy as they are. It’s insulting that we still have to talk about why women in sports deserve just as much remuneration as the men who play the same sport. It’s demeaning because why should we still have to demand equal pay for equal amount of job done? How is it fair that this is still something we are grappling with in the 21st century? Why should we have to keep begging the patriarchal world to see that we are worthy?
We shouldn’t have to justify why women exist in spaces that have traditionally been occupied by men. Yes. We were literally kept from entering the playing field. But we’re here now. Get used to us. We are human and we would like to be treated as well as one would treat other humans who happen to be men. This is so logical, that it pains me to have to spell it out.
And I am done. I am done trying to patiently explain to everyone and their sexist brother that running like a girl is not a bad thing. That throwing like a girl is not an insult. I am done having to write the millionth article on how women are not afforded their due in sports. The evidence is piling. You can see it everywhere you look.
And it’s so annoying that I can’t be done. Because unfortunately this won’t be the last time I clench my fists reading yet another sexist opinion of yet another gatekeeper who demeans and underestimates women. This won’t be the last time I furiously type a response about how very obviously they are wrong (only to be told by men who occupy online spaces to ‘just chill’). And this won’t be the last time I will find this cycle utterly insulting to every single woman and man who has fought for equality.
Also read: What The 2016 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Means For Feminism
God, this is exhausting.
Well, I shall sign off for now.
Oh and Ecclestone? You can shove your opinions where the Sun doesn’t shine.
*For those who didn’t grow up in the 90s or earlier, a tape recorder was what we used to listen to music. You can Google it for a better explanation. Will be great if you Googled sexism in sport while you’re at it as well.