I live in Oklahoma, and I love Oklahoma, but I have come to terms with the fact that it is not always the most progressive place to be.
However, I will not blame Oklahoma for the Enid News & Eagle sports editor and his clickbait column this week encouraging women to use Ronda Rousey’s defeat as a reason to leave UFC, boxing and whatever other female-oriented sports offend his misogynistic sensibilities.
I will blame the sports editor himself, Dave Ruthenberg.
To encourage you to read his Sunday column would only give Ruthenberg the attention he surely wanted, and I’m fully aware that a response such as this is eagerly anticipated as well.
But for me and the world I want to live in, statements like these should be refuted:
Now, maybe I am getting old and my thinking is antiquated, but I really do believe it is a good thing women and men behave and act differently. To be very honest, if it weren’t for women, we men would be an even more intolerable lot to be around than we already are, being a bunch of scratching, belching troglodytes sitting around in our underwear watching sports all day. However, that kind of behavior isn’t likely to attract the opposite sex, forcing us to modify our natural behavioral inclinations, which as any woman can tell you, are just a kickoff away from bubbling to the surface.
Seriously ladies, we rely on you to keep us civilized. One stern look of disapproval from our wife or girlfriend is a universal signal to us guys that we have pushed the limits of something. If we’re smart, we know to cease and desist (or at least acknowledge we did something wrong, even if we can’t figure it out).
Considering the natural proclivities of men, you have to ask why would anybody want, who is not otherwise predisposed, to emulate the worst aspects of our behavior? It’s not like we have the greatest track record. You know, wars, the United Nations, the designated hitter.
Mr. Editor, I would like to think my lot in life has a much greater purpose than to keep you from scratching and burping.
I may not be fighting my battle in a ring, but I can tell you this — it is a DAILY fight for women to be taken seriously, and attitudes like yours cause a deeper pain. (And if you are really smart, you will not only feel my disapproving look burning through this reply, but you will also take a step out of the 1950s and realize for yourself that it’s not my job to keep you in line. I could easily say, “Be a man,” but I won’t give you that pedestal. Because mine is equal in height.)
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As a proud Okie, we both likely know the story of sharpshooter Annie Oakley, who beat her husband in a shooting competition, by the way. In fact, her proud husband became her assistant. Rather than try to put her in her place, he worked to find a place beside her.
If watching Rousey or any other female athlete get her ass kicked offends your fragile senses so much, then I’ll be happy to come by and cover your eyes. Or maybe just don’t watch. Do you need a woman’s scornful gaze to explain your freedoms to you?
But if you’re still so concerned about what’s best for women and society, do us a big favor: Avoid using your media megaphone to promote the idea that women shouldn’t get their fair shot, or that they should consider what a grumpy sports editor thinks before pursuing athletic or career feats.
If you are too busy scratching yourself to grasp what I’m saying here in print, I bet America’s two new female Army Rangers wouldn’t mind dropping by to explain it to you — or beat you in a push-up competition.
And before you ignore my opinions on sports writing because we have different chromosomes, let me go out of my way to prove myself to your gender-biased self: I personally have been in a ring long enough to understand the excitement.
I briefly competed in taekwondo in my younger years, and it didn’t lessen my femininity one bit, although I will forever have a bump on my nose to remind me of a straight kick to the face. It’s called character, and I’m proud of it. There’s nothing wrong with being a badass female, the same way there’s nothing wrong with being a feminine male.
But when you say:
I get it that women want to be competitive and have a desire to be taken as seriously in their sporting endeavors as men, but, really, some things that have traditionally been the domain of men are better left, well, to the devices of those who have perfected them.
It just shows that you absolutely don’t get it. An athlete can only perfect a sport for which he or she has trained and practiced relentlessly. Traditionally, women have often not received those same opportunities, and for you to marginalize these female athletes now overtly implies you are tone deaf to their struggles and, should I say, fights.
Yet, I won’t pretend men and women are made the same. The differences are obvious, but if I point them out, you’ll be oh-so-disappointed that I spoke beyond my delicate nature. Fortunately, I don’t care.
You see, Dave Ruthenberg, I may not have balls, but I do have strength, intelligence, heart and perseverance — a list of things that will take any opponent to task. I don’t need more testosterone to achieve my goals. I need more support from a sports-writing industry that is dominated by men, and so do all the aspiring female athletes who might read your drivel in Garfield County.
In conclusion, I hope you are not relying on your vision of a “carefully crafted order of things” to understand the women in your life, because there are a lot of gals out there who are going to rock your world.
If Rousey were a man, I suspect you would be asking for a rematch. Personally, I hope she gets it, and if I know anything about sports industries, I’m sure she will.
I am ready for another round. If you uncover your eyes and open your mind, you just might see something great.