- April 15, 2015
- 7:00 pm
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Football is the most popular sport in the country, and one of our most popular forms of entertainment, period. Like it or not, football culture has an enormous influence on our ideas about what it means to be a man, and what it means to be a woman. In Football World, real men are strong and fast and exert their power through dominance. Women are their trophies. Women can be cheerleaders, they can be cute girls in the stands for the camera to linger on while male commentators talk, or they can be girlfriends and wives, as long as they don't get out of line.
It's no wonder, then, that research suggests that male football fans are more likely to do violence to their partners when a home team suffers an upset loss. We're being sold a deeply toxic version of masculinity, one that defines itself not only in opposition to female-ness, but as inherently superior, drawing its strength from dominance over women's "weakness," and creating men who are happy to deliberately undermine women's power; it is only in opposition to female vulnerability that it can be strong. Or, as former NFL quarterback Don McPherson recently put it, "We don't raise boys to be men. We raise them not to be women, or gay men."
None of this is inevitable. The media (and the NFL is included in that category, as producers of entertainment) can only sell us the status quo as long as we keep buying it. If you value women as fully equal human beings at least as much as you value your home team, the next play is yours.
Jaclyn Friedman is a writer, performer, and activist, and the editor of the hit book Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape (one of Ms. Magazine's Top 100 Feminist Non-fiction books of All Time). Her latest book is What You Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety.
As a college undergraduate, Jaclyn thought she was too smart to become a victim of sexual assault - until another student proved her wrong. That experience eventually led her to become a student and instructor of IMPACT safety training. At IMPACT, she helped bring safety skills to the communities which most need them, including gang-involved high school student and women transitioning out of abusive relationships.
Jaclyn's article "Drinking and Rape: Let's Wise Up About It," originally published by Women's eNews in February 2007, was reprinted in several major online outlets and has become a popular reference for new thinking about preventing rape without shaming or blaming women. The article - and the public response to it - was the inspiration for Yes Means Yes.
Named one of UTNE Reader's "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World", Dave Zirin writes about the politics of sports for The Nation magazine. He is their first sports writer in 150 years of existence. Winner of Sport in Society and Northeastern University School of Journalism's 'Excellence in Sports Journalism' Award, Zirin is also the host of Sirius XM Radio's weekly show, Edge of Sports Radio. He co-hosts the radio program The Collision: Sports and Politics with Etan Thomas & Dave Zirin.
He has written Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports, with a foreword by the immortal Chuck D. Sports Illustrated wrote that Terrordome is "a provocative, sometimes chilling, look at sports and society right now." His first book, What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States has entered its third printing.
Zirin has debated FOX Sports president Ed Goren on college football's Bowl Championship Series for National Public Radio, Bridgestone Firestone President Dan Adomitis in the pages of the Los Angeles Times on whether his company should be the "official tire of the Super Bowl" while in court for using child labor in Liberia, and the issue of steroids in sports with Jose Canseco and John Rocker.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
CIIS Main Building
$20 pre-registered/$25 at the door
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Dave Zirin photo by Michele Bollinger
Jaclyn Friedman photo by Lindsay Beyerstein