Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Confirmation of Women Becoming Brutish: a WNBA Story

A few quick hits today:

1) I hope the teaching-as-ministry blogs were encouraging to some of you out there. My own mother is a teacher in a public school, and it warms my heart to think of all the quiet ministry she's done for students. Mrs. Strachan is an exceptional librarian, and I'm proud to know my sweet, kind mother has long been a witness to the countless hurting souls found in our public schools. For her, and for the many others of you out there who are striving to be a witness in a dark place, I give my prayers, and I encourage readers of this blog to do the same. Don't just pray for evangelical ministries or churches. Pray for Christians in specific vocations, that they'll honor Christ by their work and witness. I would also encourage you to pray for many more Christians to join believers already ministering in schools. May many more Christians who are not called to pastoral ministry see teaching as an incredible ministry opportunity, and invest and spend themselves accordingly.

2) I did a series last week on women becoming brutish through athletic competition. I hope the series at least made you think a bit. A story in yesterday's New York Times on the way Bill Laimbeer coaches his Detroit WNBA team affirmed my general point, I think. Here are a few quotations from the article that support my argument:

Quotation 1: "The Bad Boys now coach the Bad Girls, who are aggressive in a way that Pistons fans of the late 1980s would find familiar — scuffling and relentless on defense, voracious on the boards."

Quotation 2 (especially enlightening):
As Cash did a day earlier, Reeve mentioned “the dark side.”
“It’s the edge, a place a lot of women don’t have,” Reeve said of Laimbeer. “We have competitive sides, but he brings you to that edge, competing with a sense of urgency, all out.”
Washington was winless and vulnerable but desperate, Laimbeer said during the videotape session. If the Mystics kept resorting to moving screens, he offered a suggestion from the Bad Boy playbook: “Hit them in the biceps with an elbow. That’ll stop it.”
On the court for the morning shootaround, the mood lightened. Latta had taken a hit in the face at a recent practice, and the coaches joked about her nose. “Y’all better leave her alone,” Ford said. “Y’all already made her cry four or five times.”

Egalitarianism shows it ugliness with very little assistance from outside voices. It is clear as you read the above quotations that Laimbeer is doing with his team what most coaches do with their girls' teams: he's trying to make them manly. He seeks to make them tough and hard-nosed and vicious. It's funny to see gender, however, intrude on the transforming process--in no NBA practice would a player even think to restrain coaches from making a player cry. Women aren't made like men are, not physically, not socially, and not emotionally. They weren't made to "go to war," "hit women in the biceps," and be "voracious" in any sense. This is a revision of femininity. Sadly, many Christians have bought into it, and actually encourage--no, push--their daughters to discard aspects of their gender and adopt masculine traits. This is gross, wrong, and will bear unfortunate results.

The accompanying photos of the team show the realization of this vision. The Detroit players are big, strong, and unfeminine. Articles like this really enforce my point that contact sports rob women of their femininity and encourage them to adopt behaviors and bodies that are decidedly masculine. Christians should avoid such blurring of the gender lines and mold their boys to be strong, courageous, and aggressively assertive and their women to be gentle, beautiful, and sweet-spirited. Egalitarianism is never pretty, whether manifesting itself socially, psychologically, or physically. The Bible's picture of femininity, on the other hand, is altogether lovely and worthy of our pursuit and attention. That, not a WNBA championship, is what we should seek for our girls.


Blogger Jed said...

NB Too many http:// on the link to my blog in your 'links' section.

Also, have you read our friend Fanny's astute comments about egalitarianism/complementarianism in the comments section to my post on the topic?

11:50 AM  
Blogger Adam Winters said...

I wish the Detroit men's team could have been a little more agressive on offense and defense this season. How about disbanding the WNBA and sending Lambier to coach the Pistons? Now that would be something grand to see! I'll bet he could keep "Weed" Wallace in line too.

By the way, interesting thoughts overall, Owen. I have an awkward experience about co-ed sports but I'm too embarrassed to talk about it. That's why I hear your concerns loud and clear.

1:02 PM  

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