Friday, January 11, 2008

Misogyny at Work - Marion Jones is going to Prison - OJ still Free but not on the loose

When I was a girl my mother made it a point to briefly articulate the difference between jail and prison (yep, just one of those moments of maternal bonding). Jail being a temporary, few days to years, holding area. People in jail are a bit happier and less squirrelly. Prison being a long term facility with "lifers" and with all it's emoluments (new vocab word for me - thanks Cobalt Blue). Jail is a tolerable place, while prison intolerable. At least according to my mother who, as far as I know, has never been interred in either. Notice how I left myself out of that line of logic ;-)

Marion Jones, the world-class champion track and field athlete was just sentenced to prison for 6 months for lying to Federal Prosecutors about taking steroids. Read about it here on CNN. This is after being stripped of all of her Olympic Gold Medals (I agree with this) and receiving hate mail and death threats from her relay team members who were also stripped of their once-in-a-lifetime gold medals. I recommend watching the video of her announcing her guilt. Gosh darn it, I believe her! She's sorry! And not in a whimpering "I don't wanna go to prison" sort of way.

Now, I am not a big fan of Marion. She's been walking around with her snout in the air. Fiercely and vociferously denying her use of steroids or the euphemism "performance enhancing drugs". Whhhhhutever! She lost her neck a few years ago and that had to be the sure sign of the 'roids. Now, she's guilty of lying and is paying for it. I should be happy that justice is served. But is it?

Hmmmff. How many MALE athletes have legally "been brought to justice". How many have even been pursued? I think that Marion Jones is being used as an example. Not as a poster-child for anti-lying campaigns or anti-drug initiatives. The message I'm hearing, loud and clear is:
"LADIES, if you must be awesome athletes putting even men to
shame, you had better walk the path of the straight and narrow.
Otherwise, a judge in White Plaines, NY is gonna lock
yo' ass up and smack
you down".
I think my, unintentional, reaction is due to a personal experience. I was a college volleyball player, on a scholarship no less (I did not take steroids--hehe). Not an athletic superstar. More like the Little Engine that Could. As a team we traveled all over Southern CA in cars and vans and had a $5 meal stipend. The football team, however, had a "no cut policy". They got driven around in air conditioned mega buses and got a stipend of $20. They could get fries with the shake. Or more like it, a baked potato and dessert with that steak. This was in 1989. Any boy could play football and get a good meal out of the deal. There were 12 women on the volleyball squad - with a winning record (in 1991, the team was 3rd nationally in the NAIA). I'm sure the administration had heard of Title IX but it wasn't enforced. I recall writing letters to the athletic director and President of the University to no avail (ignored actually). The boys just got a better deal. No, they did not pack the stadium with paid spectators (in case you wanted to argue that point). Heck, we usually had more people at the women's volleyball games than the football team. I'm sure it was our uniform bottoms, aptly named "bunners".

So now Marion Jones is going to prison. She's guilty, no doubt. Her career as a professional athlete is completely over. She lied, she took steroids. She threw hissy fits about being innocent and the chick is guilty. Dumbass. I should be happy. I'm not. For some reason this just smacks of misogyny. I hate that I'm thinking like this because a crime was committed and prosecuted - end of story. I think all the male professional athletes who skated by their steroid charges should pay "maintenance" to Marion Jones and her kids as penance.

I'll say this tho. Marion's apology seemed very heart-felt and convinced me - a jaded ol' salt. She will rise from the ashes like a Phoenix. Furthermore, I want her to. Everyone loves a sincerely contrite wrong-doer. A repentant sinner. We all want and need redemption for various things (parking tickets, lying, cheating, ignoring a request for help, etc). Now that Marion has a solid helping of humble pie, she should learn to express her self truthfully... just like my 18 month old "I don't know". BTW, I don't take bribes but if you want to give me a baked potato and a steak I will adjust that balance misogyny and female manipulation. Hey a girl's gotta eat. Especially a hungry one.

2 explorers in an expanding universe:

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Roxanne said...

she was on Oprah this AM, also the articel you sent was very interesting, seems to simply these issues too much though for me. these things are deeply embedded in AMerican and we need to continue (or perhaps really start) the dicussion.