This is a little longer than normal.
May I suggest you get a glass of wine and a bowl of cheese doodles.
As I get older, I find myself pondering life’s bigger questions. Not that I am some intellectual giant, but after almost sixty years on this planet, I have had the time to solve most of the little questions that concern me. The big ones still intrigue and confound me.
I continue to ponder how perspective and experience can influence two people observing the same situation, but interpreting it with a completely different outcome.
My WP stats page indicates I have been following Dina Honour over at Wine and Cheese (Doodles) blog since March 30th. 2015. I have read every post she has published since that date and I find her writing interesting, sincere and edgy. That being said, our perspectives on social and political issues are 180 degrees polar opposite and I often say to myself, What was she thinking? We have commented on each other’s blogs and have had some interesting exchanges. While we couldn’t be more different I think we respect each other’s opinion and happily (?) agree to disagree.
Yesterday, she published a post entitled The Glory of Meagan Rapinoe.
Regardless of your opinion of the goings on surrounding Rapinoe, I strongly encourage you to read Dina’s column before going any further here.
Seeing the title, I silently said to myself that this will likely be one of those posts where I want to argue almost every sentence. I read it, not once, not twice, but three times., trying to take it in. As is usually the case, there is little to nothing in her piece that I agree with, but I appreciate and respect her perspective.
Our life experiences have brought us to different places.
If I had the time, and if anyone else cared, I would love to start an argument (in the philosophical sense) and address each paragraph. That would be laborious, but there are 5 points I would like to respectfully address. I really marvel at how different our perspectives are and I need to stress that I am not being critical, but simply offering a different perspective. I will cite the statement from Dina and then offer my view.
As I begin, I will admit that I do not look up to sports figures as any kind of heros and believe that most of them are overpaid and take themselves just a bit too seriously. Thus, as we begin, I admit that prejudice.
She’s the larger than life embodiment of the woman so many of us have within–the one we often force to stay hidden and quiet. The one we convince ourselves isn’t good enough– even when she is. The one we caution to stay silent and still when someone says something shitty, out of fear or conditioning or reluctance to confront. Because that’s not what nice girls do, is it? Nice girls don’t confront. Nice girls don’t demand recognition for their accomplishments, even when they’re warranted.
Rapinoe? She’s strong, outspoken, confident, talented. She knows exactly how much she is worth, of what she’s capable of. Not only does she expect to be recognized for that, she demands it.
While my experience is being around strong women (mother, wife and daughters) the thing that I find most confusing is the “Not only does she expect to be recognized for that, she demands it.” In my world, recognition is awarded by working hard, being humble and deserving the recognition for your accomplishments. If you need to demand that you be recognized, doesn’t that screams of not being good enough to get recognized simply on the merits? (asking for a friend).
So of course, people hate her. Oh, they find plenty of reasons why, but underneath it all its because she’s upended the idea of what girls are supposed to be like to succeed
My friends on the progressive side, when referring to those on the right, tend to use the word “hate” when “disagree” may be more appropriate. I am almost 60 years old and I can’t look back and think of anyone I have hated in my entire life. I may disagree, I may not care, but I don’t hate. I do not think I am special or unique as most of the people I know feel the same way. I have heard it described as folks on “the right” think liberals are good people with bad ideas. Many liberals, on the other hand (and I am not including Dina) think that “conservatives” are bad people with bad ideas and are to be hated. That might be something to think about.
Oh my God I’m endlessly tired of listening to society whispering and shouting at young girls to act like ladies, to be nice, to put the comfort of those around them above their own–to put the comfort of others above their own safety, even. And here come Megan Rapinoe, blowing that bullshit out of the water with her hot-pink hair and her megawatt smile, singing, dancing and penalty kicking her unapologetic way into our lives, taking JOY in what she does.
My wife and I have raised three daughters into adulthood. Never did we (as proud conservatives) whisper or shout at them to act like ladies. They took risks, made mistakes, re-organized, tried again and joyfully succeeded, all without the hot pink hair and the need to call attention to themselves and/or their sexual orientation. We provided our girls with enough space to make their own mistakes, to learn from those mistakes and to be their own, strong, successful women. Mission accomplished.
I want to take up space. I want to fling my arms to the side and say LOOK AT ME. I am here. I am worthy. I exist and I will not let you dictate how I must be.
I addressed this previously, but I sense the political statement coming into play in that statement. Here is my metaphor. Picture someone as a very successful, regional sales manager for Coke. It gets discovered that they make a big deal about only drinking Pepsi and continuously and publicly badmouth the CEO of Coke. How long before Coke fires that person? Taking it a step farther, the fact that her disrespect for the Country and President didn’t get her kicked off the team or land her in jail (I bet the Russian girls wouldn’t try it with Putin) shows how great and tolerant The United States really is. I also go back to that, if you have to fling your arms out wide and say “Look at me” there might be something missing. If someone is worthy of being noticed, people will do so without being asked to.
She doesn’t care if you find her sexy because she doesn’t find you sexy either. Her value in this world is not calculated on how many men find her bed-able. She doesn’t care if you like her or not. She doesn’t need your permission, your validation, your stamp of legitimacy.
I don’t care what she cares and I think it is interesting that Dina is injecting this into the discussion. “How many men find her “bed-able,” Really? Please give us a little credit. That makes the assumption that all men process all women that way. Who is trying to validate her? Legitimacy? Legitimizing what?
The girl kicks a ball. That should not elevate her to national hero status aside from being on a team that won more games than their competitors. Like actors and musicians, what makes her opinion any more important than yours or mine?
I wonder how all the gushing fans would react if Meagan, with the exact same skill set, was a church attending Christian, heterosexual, monogamous, MAGA hat wearing conservative? A strong, independent woman. One who is firm in her convictions, loves and respects her Country and who doesn’t care what people think about her.
So, in closing, I hope Dina understands I’m just asking the questions that continue to perplex me.
But, as I often tell my wife, “If two people always agree, one of them is not necessary.”
Prepared for incoming.