A Note on Sexism in Sports Blogging

Edit (Sunday, Aug. 3, 1:12 am): Daymonster, the author of the post that prompted this post and much other discussion, has resigned from Alright Hamilton!. While some people might think that is the end of the “controversy,”  it is just the end of this one instance. Sexism is very real in the world, on the Internet, and in the sports world. For anyone to shrug and say, “Well, sure glad that is over,” would be to miss the point. People need to acknowledge what happened here and then continue on. More later.

I just became aware of a rather scuzzy post over on Alright Hamilton! (which I have since removed from the ol’ blogroll) where poster daymonster decided to draw a line between what he considers legitimate Twins blogging and what he considers to be, well, not. I’m sorry to tell all you guys that I think I fail his test, since I don’t know very damn much about sabremetrics and tend to hate conventional wisdom. I also think relying too much on statistics makes for a very dry blog.

But that’s his opinion, and I really couldn’t care less what he thinks about this (or any blog).

Examples of legit blogs that were given were Gleeman, SethSpeaks, TwinkieTown, and Nick and Nick. All great blogs, all of which I read every day.

But when this blogger gave examples of the second type, he used It’s Those Girls, Twins Sisters, Lipgloss, and OMG. All of which I read nearly every (if not every) day. And, in the process, he questioned their status as fans, their intelligence (indirectly), and lumped them all into one uniform group and assigned them opinions, which is totally unreasonable.

The problem: all of these blogs are run by female fans. Sports, including baseball, have been historically hostile to women. Anyone else remember the hostility Anika Sorenstam experienced when she wanted to play with the guys on the PGA tour just a few years ago? And then found out she couldn’t play at Augusta National because they only allow guys? And then not one of the male golfers pulled out of the tournament there in protest? That is one really sad example.

But the cool thing about the blogosphere is that you don’t have to be a certain gender to play with the other kids. There isn’t a difference between NBA fans and WNBA fans. Those bloggers among us that have chosen to give up their real identities and genders do so at their own peril, both because of the ridicule they can get as a result and the fact that they lose “credibility” with a larger group by doing so. When I came out as a DC law student, I got emails from a couple people telling me that I shouldn’t be commenting on a Minnesota team (WTF?). And that’s a pretty small admission. Imagine admitting something that causes people to call into question my fandom (since that’s apparently what happened at AH!).

I am lucky enough to be on what is historically the socially favored side of the coin when it comes to sports (and just about everything else). Maybe it is the fact that I have spent time studying philosophy and think way too much for my own good, but I have to give credit to female bloggers that come out as such. One of my friends from college shut down her Twins-related blog a couple years ago because she got tired of being taken as mere fluff.

I love Aaron Gleeman, but I wonder if anyone else thought about what effect having a commonly-nude Keeley Hazell as Official Fantasy Girl of AaronGleeman.com would have on female Twins fans that stop by the site for some of his analysis, or even the fact that there is an OFGoAG.com. But that’s okay. He doesn’t go to the level of some White Sox bloggers, who take the liberty of posting nude pictures about once a week.

I have now officially rambled for far longer than I meant to (and I had to change the title of the post from “A Brief Note” to “A Note”), but essentially, this post is meant to give huge props to all female bloggers out there, especially those that fly the Twins standard. Here’s a list of some of the Twins-affiliated ones that I do read nearly every day (and I apologize in advance if I miss anyone):

We are all fans. Why the bloody HELL are we questioning each other?

(By the way, Katie at It’s Those Girls wrote a piece about this a couple days ago, while I was in my bidding-induced stupor – see the next post for info about that. It is well-worth reading, as she put it much better than I could have).

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10 Responses

  1. Thanks for the support, Eric. It was just a strange bit of ugliness in the Twins blogosphere this week.

    Interesting point about Aaron Gleeman’s blog. I’m not offended by the pictures he posts…it’s his blog, it’s a free country, and like you said, it’s tamer than a lot of sites. But at the same time, I also don’t visit his site as often as others do. I go there if there’s something specific I want to read. When I think about it, I always feel sort of the same way I have any time I’ve skipped long lines to a the ladies’ room by sneaking into the men’s room at bars or whatever. I just do what I’ve got to do, don’t look around, and get out, because it’s pretty clear I’m not supposed to be there. Kind of a gross analogy, sorry…but it’s pretty accurate. His blog sometimes serves a purpose for me, but I’m uncomfortable while I’m there, because I feel like I’m not supposed to be there.

  2. Hey, no prob. It’s actually something I have been meaning to write, and I must confess to have found the AH! post before your response and understood the same things as you from it. So it gave me a good reason.

    I think I need to shower after some of the Sox blogs I spent time in over the last few days during the Sox series… I feel very dirty.

    As a side confession, I might be extra-sensitive to the sexist issue right now, since I am spending the summer researching women’s human rights in Africa, but have spent most of my time working on domestic women’s rights projects. But anyhoo…

  3. He didn’t say that using stats makes you smart or your blog legitimate. Alright Hamilton! rarely uses stats.

  4. Tim ~

    I’ll give you that he didn’t use the word “legitimate.” Try reading between the lines a little bit and look at the tone he used. I don’t want to re-hash this too much; as far as I’m concerned, it is a done incident.

  5. Yeah, I agree that it’s a done incident, but I just wanted to clear up an inaccuracy.

    Your post implies that daymonster’s argument was, “blogs that aren’t heavily stat intensive are not as smart as blogs that do. He only chose girl blogs as blogs that aren’t smart. Therefore, he is saying that girls aren’t smart enough to analyze baseball.”

    His disagreement with the female blogs, however, has nothing to do with their intelligence. It’s a difference on their definition of was a fan is. He wrote this:

    “My point isn’t that either group is right or wrong and I find both types of blogs to be entertaining and I read all of them daily (or as often as they post). ”

    Wow, I wrote the word, “blogs” like 100 times just now.

  6. Daymonster was clear about what his argument was, and I see his point. However. if you read the site it is pretty clear that he was definitely not giving props to his second group of sites. He also didn’t come straight out and say anything sexist, but it was the blogs that he used as examples that showed the bias.

    It is pretty clear, as he said, that AH! would have belonged in the second group. So would my blog, and countless others. The fact was that he gave the example of four blogs run by female bloggers. He also introduced the second group with:

    “Then there are the blogs that focus on the cuteness and rear ends of the Minnesota nine.”

    That pretty clearly points to some bias (at least to me), after the way he introduced the first group:

    “They tend to use statistics and other (some times) conventional wisdom to discuss the current issues the ball club is facing.”

    I know the point he wanted to make was about the difference that he saw between the different kinds of fan, but he did it in the most inelegant way possible and left a veiled insult as he did it.

    The odd thing about this, to me, is that the whole post hearkens back to an argument that he and Katie of Those Girls had after a post that she wrote. It isn’t that he was irritated in the way she was analyzing the team, it was that she used “fan” instead of fan. It seems that daymonster’s post was an overreaction to something that seemed to be rather innocuous at the time, and then this all snowballed.

  7. “It seems that daymonster’s post was an overreaction to something that seemed to be rather innocuous at the time, and then this all snowballed.”

    Doesn’t this seam a little hypocritical from the guy that posted an entry linking a post on AH! directly to sexism in sports? After all, you deemed it pertinent to remove the evil and sexist AH! from your blogroll (not that they probably noticed or cared). That’s not an overreaction?

  8. Eh, it might have been. Sexism in sports is a problem, and it gave me an excuse to jump up on my soap box. I have nothing against AH! and I’m sure I’ll put them back on the ol’ blogroll once I get tired of typing in the URL. It’s not like I’ve stopped reading their site. And I do understand that Daymonster’s post wasn’t representative of AH!. It gave me an excuse to write about something I care about; I really just used the post at AH! as a jumping-off point.

    No apologies here for making the argument I did. If it was an overreaction, eh, that’s the breaks. If I really wanted to punish AH!, I wouldn’t have started by removing them from the blogroll. That would have been rather dumb. I don’t care if I’m on anyone else’s blogroll, so I assume they won’t either.

    And I’m not sure if it’s possible to overreact to an overreaction. While his post was likely an overreaction, my post was a reaction to some issues he raised either intentionally or unintentionally.

    I have enjoyed the conversation though. If you have a blog, let me know (via email if you don’t want to post it). Thanks for commenting, and if you’re ever in the DC area, let me know.

  9. whoa late to the conversation. i’m going to oddly defend daymonster by saying this: it was a poorly written piece. His arguments came off horribly. But i’m glad it’s over and everyone had some semi-intelligent convo from it.

    I’ll add this fine blog to our rollllll.

  10. Haas – I totally understand. I haven’t ever met you (or Daymonster), obviously, but I did not get the feeling that he had any bad intentions in writing the piece… I just used it as a jumping-off point.

    In all honesty, I didn’t know about AH! until about two-three months ago, so we’ll call it even. 😉

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