Friday, May 14, 2010
I was all set to ask my TGIF sexy survey questions to you all when I heard a rather ignorant statement made on the train this morning. Two girls were discussing their weekend plans, and one mentioned going to see Just Wright, the new romantic comedy starring Queen Latifah and Common...with his sexy self ;-)
The girls agreed that Common was the draw, but said they didn't believe there'd be any real chemistry between a guy who's supposed to be a basketball player and a "tomboyish" woman like Dana Owens. The one argued that perhaps it was her character's love of basketball that would draw him to her.
- "Nah, I doubt it...cuz only lesbians love basketball like that, and what man thinks THAT'S sexy?!"
What did she just say?
On what planet does that even make sense? All I could think of was all the women I knew growing up, and the women I know now, who LOVE sports - basketball, football, even hockey - who are FAR from lesbians. And what does sexuality have to do with loving, or NOT loving, sports? I know just as many "manly" men who have no interest in sports, or who have less knowledge of sports than I do. I don't consider them any less of a man because of it, even though society would probably tell you different. Strange? Perhaps. But less of a man? No.
Growing up, I can say I was what most would consider to be a tomboy. I scorned my sister's dolls, didn't walk around in my mom's heels, and I never tried to smear makeup on my face. I was interested in racing boys down the street, doing flips on monkey bars and going for rebounds while I scraped up my knees. I've had jammed fingers, a broken wrist, a hairline fracture in my right ankle and arthroscopic surgery on my left knee - all sports injuries. Sure, I'd jump double dutch and play jacks, but that was the extent of my "girlie" activities. For a brief stint, I had an obsession about doing my hair - which quickly gave way to me pulling it back into a ponytail everyday. And dresses? Forget it. Jeans and sneakers were my daily wardrobe choices - and unless it was the fourth Sunday of the month when I had to sing in my church's choir, you'd never catch me in a skirt. EVER.
My mom would say, "Can't you just wear a dress to school...just one day...for me?" And I'd say no, because "I hated pantyhose." She'd ask me to "dress up," and I'd refuse saying I wasn't comfortable in "frilly" clothes. The only times I felt the need to look like a "girl" were during my piano recitals, church, and the three proms I went on. And when I wore a dress...I WORE a dress. I still think I looked like Beyonce in my senior prom stunning, glittery, sexy dress...but I digress.
But "lesbian" never crossed anyone's mind when it came to me. I still had crushes on boys, told anyone who would listen that I was going to marry Michael Jackson, and all the members of New Edition were my boyfriends. My mother never worried about if I was going to be a lesbian simply because I loved sports. She never looked at me as the little doll she wanted to dress up in pretty pink outfits. She was proud of me and my sister just the way we were - and we were QUITE opposite. Nicole was the "girlie girl" who named all of her Cabbage Patch Kids (which I thought was totally lame) and who'd put on my mom's jewelry and dream of her wedding day. Me? Not so much.
If anything, I think my mother sort of admired my "boyish" pursuits. I was fearless, and had lots of energy because I was so active in sports. And I was also confident and ULTRA competitive, which carried over into all aspects of my life. I never did, and still don't, like to lose. EVER. My mother encourage that in me. All the adults in my life did. And not once was I made to feel weird about it. I never had trouble finding like-minded female friends. Boys respected (and feared) me, and not ONCE was my sexuality ever called into question.
So why on earth would these girls on the train make such an obtuse statement about only lesbians liking basketball? I can only imagine that they believe women engaging in "masculine" activities were somehow "harder" or "tougher" and not "soft" and "feminine." Maybe they believe that only "girlie girls" get the guy, and any signs of strength were too "manly."
Or maybe they just think Queen Latifah is a lesbian...who knows. But either way, who cares? And what does that have to do with liking basketball...or any other sport?
It has nothing to do with it.
Most folks are a bit more relaxed when it comes to women being tomboys. I think girls who have that label growing up ultimately find their photo placed under the "most likely to succeed" banner in their high school year book - I know I did. They're considered go-getters - competent, competitive, tough, smart, over-achievers who lead active lifestyles.
Men, on the other hand, who engage in or who have "feminine" interests, don't get that same benefit of the doubt. They make their parents, and those around them...nervous. It's the same homophobia that makes us cringe when we see a little boy playing with dolls that allows young ladies on the train to say all lesbians love basketball. We're more concerned with boys who seem feminine because the social stigma is much bigger. These boys are at risk of being bullied at school, or labeled and ridiculed for being gay even when they're not - simply because they love art and music more than they love football. All of which makes no sense at all.
Who knows where that ignorant statement came from the girl on the train today. The source of one's ignorance can come from many things - upbringing, peer pressure, the dreaded "media." Thankfully, I never heard such things from my parents or peers growing up. I was a tomboy, and no one cared. No one thought it was weird. No one thought I was a lesbian...and there would be nothing wrong with me even if I were. I didn't care about clothes, or hair, or being a "girl" - even though I will admit that to this day, I still wish I had learned how to apply makeup a little better (something my sister is an EXPERT at). Oh well, I can still learn right?
No, none of that was important to me. Being the best left wing on my field hockey team was all that mattered to me. Scoring 20 points and grabbing 15 rebounds was my mission. Upping my personal best in the high jump was my obsession. I didn't have time to worry if my shoes were cute, or if I left the house with earrings or lip gloss on. I was too busy preparing for my next track meet or basketball game...while wondering if any cute boys were gonna show up to cheer me on. Sure, I was a tomboy, but I still liked boys...and wearing sneakers and climbing trees didn't mean that there wasn't a girl lurking within. Not at all. The girl in me just had a better
jumpshot than you ;-)