Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Would it still be heart if she were he?

Zhang Dan was said, in last night broadcast of the Olympics, to have a heart as big as the rink she skated on. My first thought, because I am a cranky broad, was would that word have been used if it had been a guy. I would love to find an example of a male athlete trudging forward, limping back into his arena and performing magnificently, as this woman did, and have the announcer say he had a big heart but nothing about strength, determination, or a strong will.

This followed on the heels of watching women's snowboarding where the announcer called the athletes "girls" even after Kelly Clark blew the announcers away with her ride on down the half pipe. I realize some people out there in the world say these words are meaningless and the impact is so much less meaningful than 40 years ago when complaints started cropping up everywhere, but I say that semantics matter. The intent is to lessen, to minimize when the word girl is used rather than woman. Girls are still dependent, still need to mature, still need help. Women are out in the world, capable. That the announcer could call Kelly a girl after waxing orgasmically about her performance about the fact that she had just "blurred the line between men's and women's snowboarding" did nothing to quell any thought that the language was inherently sexist.

I am sure, dear reader, you can see what a joy it is to watch televsion with me.

**For examples of more inclusive language go here and for just some good things to think about go here.


louisiana swamp rat said...

Oh my! Watching with one eye while reading with the other, I haven't caught the comments you're referring to, I'll have to start paying attention...but I must say, it is nice to know we aren't the only Olympic-obsessed lesbians out there. The wife has hissy fits when we talk too much when the games are on...I'm sure your sweetie is just as thrilled with you.

Wyatt's Mom said...

I'm responding to lsr who said, "I'm sure your sweetie is just as thrilled with you"

Um honey, she's telling me to shut up during the skating part {VBG}

Patti said...

I was watching the womens alpine skiing last night and two women who had been injured on that run had come back to ski it. The announcer said "guts" and "endurance". I thought of you. :)

Diane said...

Zhang Dan was not said to "have a heart"--I said she had "heart", which is a totally different thing, and which is applied as a description equally to men and women, in and out of sports.

Dharma said...


I was using your site as an example of the conversation. I was quoting the commentators who DID say she had "a heart as big as this rink" which is what I was objecting to. I just read back my post and see where the confusion was, I was complaining about the coverage and wanted to include what you wrote as a comparison. It was clear. Please accept my apologies. I read your blog regularly. If you are Dees Diversion, that is.