Hostile Sexism in Sport: The Case of Raymond Moore, CEO of The Indian Wells Tennis Garden
It is time to draw a line in the sand. You are either ambivalently sexist, or you are a feminist. There is no grey area.
The definition of sexism: Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against
women, on the basis of sex.
The definition of feminism: The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political,
social, and economic equality to men.
If you are sexist, you believe that women are not worthy of equality, you believe women are second-class citizens; if you are a feminist, you believe that women are and should be treated as equal members of society.
Why has sexism continued? Because people are terrified to draw the line. People enjoy claiming that they believe men and women are equal, but when push comes to shove they do not want to be ‘labeled’ as a feminist. They don’t want the world to know that they think women deserve equality. With that fear comes consequences, and people like Raymond Moore. According to Moore, women should be kissing the ground men walk on:
“You know, in my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA, because they ride on the coattails of the men,” Moore said with a laugh. “They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky. If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have.”
Why should men like Raymond Moore be permitted to speak horrible lies and keep their jobs? Why should men like Raymond Moore be permitted to speak horrible lies and hand Serena Williams a trophy hours later? Why should men like Raymond Moore be permitted to speak horrible lies and not be immediately reprimanded on air?
Because women have been taught that they are second-class citizens. Women have been taught that men are better than they are. Women have been taught to bite their tongues, to only speak when asked to speak. Men, on the other hand, have never been told to check their privilege. Men have been taught that it is well within their rights to speak their minds. Women have never been afforded this luxury.
So when Serena Williams was asked what she thought of Raymond Moore’s horribly sexist comments, did she lash out? No, because that would make her an irrational and emotional woman. Did she call for his resignation? No, because then she would be overreacting. Instead, like many women, she was forced to take a more neutral stance to this issue. Instead of stating that Moore’s comments were a blatant attack on women, Williams seemed reserved -- as a woman should be, right Moore?
SERENA WILLIAMS: "Obviously I don't think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that," she said. "I think Venus (Williams), myself, a number of players have been -- if I could tell you every day how many people say they don't watch tennis unless they're watching myself or my sister, I couldn't even bring up that number. So I don't think that is a very accurate statement. I think there is a lot of women out there who are more -- are very exciting to watch. I think there are a lot of men out there who are exciting to watch. I think it definitely goes both ways. I think those remarks are very much mistaken and very, very, very inaccurate."
Every time you see the phrase “I think” in Williams’ statement, you are seeing the first hand repercussions of sexism. Williams knows for a fact that people watch tennis only because of her and the other amazing female tennis players. Williams knows for a fact that Moore’s statement was inaccurate, not only inaccurate, but utterly idiotic. However, let’s keep our emotional, irrational, and unjustified comments to ourselves, ‘ladies’. Moore was only joking, right? Oh and Moore apologized, right? So it’s all okay, women aren’t discriminated against, women just need to learn how to take these things less personally.
Moore is a sexist man. I am a feminist woman. Moore believes that women are not equal to men. I believe that women are equal to men. Moore deserves to be fired for his comments. However, until the line is drawn, and until everyone decides which side of the line they stand on, people like Moore will never be fired. I am a feminist. What are you?
You can follow the author of this article on Twitter at @lindseydarvin.