Thursday, September 28, 2017

Is It Sexist to Take a Knee?

We have often been told that we are suffering because we do not see things through a woman’s eye. Apparently, all serious intellectual disciplines would profit by the inclusion of more women.

Perhaps you doubt this statement. Perhaps you find it vaguely sexist. Yet, yesterday Ann Althouse, a certified woman, offered us her own special female thoughts on the NFL, take a knee movement.

As Althouse explains—I trust, with tongue in cheek—taking a knee is sexist:

If you wear a skirt (other than a very long skirt), you can't go down on one knee without creating an upskirt view. It's interesting to me to see that photograph taken with the woman in the short skirt in the most prominent position. She's not in the taking-a-knee position, because she's down on both knees, for the obvious reason. But I don't know how she managed to get into that position without exposing whatever she's wearing under the skirt. Maybe she prepared and — like a figure skater — donned some sort of exposable undershorts. I'm thinking of something like this, but even then, people are going to think it's not intended to be exposed. I'd hate to find myself in some sort of work event — as a lawprof, I usually wore an above-the-knee skirt — and expected to go along with a group activity that put pressure on me to expose myself. It's a disparate burden with an element of sexual harassment.

I trust that you already feel more enlightened. At least now we know why no women are playing in the NFL. Speaking of sexism, if women can be in the military, why shouldn’t they be on the field playing professional football? I can sense the bigotry, can’t you?

Yes, I understand that if we tried to solve this problem by suggesting that women could take two knees, the image would evoke other associations, none of which are very flattering to women.


Ares Olympus said...

Taking a knee is also ageist, since it's more comfortable for the young. So maybe we also know why old people are not playing in the NFL, and possibly why its better to marry when you're young.

Kneeling is a somewhat strange form of protest, but seems more respectful than standing probably because it is less comfortable. And if almost everyone was kneeling, then standing would "stand out" as disrespectful, even if you have bad knees as an excuse.

I recall that scene from West Wing, where president challenges a sitting Dr. Jacobs on biblical verse before telling her "In this building when the president stands nobody sits." and this shames her into standing with everyone else.

Certainly kneeling rather than standing wouldn't be an effective form of protest for her there, although prostrating herself beyond kneeling would be an effective way of showing submission, if she was really worried about her offenses.

Anonymous said...

Gladiators on bended knee before the spectators in the arena has a storied history. Forelock-tugging is, I hope, next.