A New York Liberty Blog

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Jersey Boy

(As suggested by the Writer’s Girlfriend)

I consider myself to be ahead of the curve on most things in our male-dominated culture. I respect women, I don’t actively or directly support chauvinistic practices (in that, to my knowledge, I am not acting like an asshole), and I try to do my best, in both my personal and professional life, to make things better for human beings in general and between the sexes in particular. One need only read this blog to understand that I do not fit into what would be considered “normal” in the culture of a male American. There is one thing, however, that I just don’t feel comfortable doing, and even though it might be silly to some, it is perplexing to me.

First of all, before people start groaning or rolling their eyes, I feel I get props for coming out and talking about this. I support the league, its teams, and its feminist ideals. I even write a blog and am unwavering in my support anything WNBA-related when my friends dismiss the league or openly insult it. The fact that I am admitting my fault here is a good first step. I understand that this feeling of mine is completely irrational, but I can’t help it. I still feel uncomfortable putting on a WNBA jersey.

This is a bit weird for me (not wearing a jersey, as opposed to admitting a wrong doing, although the Writer’s Girlfriend will probably say I’m bad on both counts) as I am something of a jersey-fiend. As a hockey fan, I have collected about twenty or so jerseys from different minor-league teams, NHL teams, college teams, and international teams, not including the jerseys that I have from the teams that I played for. I don’t wear them as much anymore, simply because I’m not in college or like the look of them on me as much as I used to. I still have them, though, in case the mood ever strikes me. That mood still hasn’t struck, however, for when I need to fly my flag and show my navy, light blue, orange, and white colors.

Men, despite all of our bluster, are irrational beings. We preach openness of sex, but not when it comes to sisters, ex-girlfriends, the past of our current girlfriends, or especially our mothers. We say we want to help the environment, but then buy a hummer and mod it so that it gets even worse gas mileage. Even the best of us can’t get around this attitude of nature and nurture. Gandhi, while studying in London as a young man, vomited when trying to eat meat; as a Hindu, he had been raised by his mother to abstain from meat, but as an educated man, he considered himself above such superstitions and wanted to prove so to himself. When his landlady prepared mutton and cabbage for him on his first day in England, he dutifully tried to eat it. He couldn’t finish his bite and wound up sick on her doorstep, repulsed at the thought of what he had done. And if Gandhi can’t cope, what hope is there for me?

I guess in the end, then, I do not like the idea of putting on women’s clothing - and that's what, aside from sports apparel, Liberty jerseys are. I see other men in them and I don’t have a problem with it, but when it comes to me, I don't even consider it. Rationally, I understand that there is nothing different between the clothing that men and women wear: the shape and size are different, but at the foundation, they are all the same fabric with the same purpose: a covering of our bodies with no magical or spiritual qualities (despite what our ancestors thought). This, however, still cannot convince me to don the garb of a Lib.

It’s a ridiculous double-standard, and I’ll admit it. Women can wear men’s clothes and not be any less feminine (witness the many, many, many pictures online of sexy women in football jerseys), but a man cannot wear women’s clothes without being less masculine. The reasons why are an argument into and of themselves, but let me say that I recognize the problem and see how stupid it is. I am the ultimate destroyer of the pretense of one-world, two-rules; wherever that foul creation of hypocrisy stands, I am the first there, words (not swords) flying. Sexual bias particularly disgusts me, as I feel that it degrades women (and men, for that matter) to consider the “feminine” as inferior to the “masculine”.

For me, however, it has nothing to do with feminizing myself. I had long hair for an extended period of time (over three years), and while I had to occasionally put up with morons who felt the need to compensate for their lack of confidence in their sexuality by insulting mine, I never wanted to cut it and make myself fit into the norm (it eventually was undone because my thick hair became too much of a hassle to keep up). Other actions – supporting PFLAG, helping stage the Vagina Monologues, performing really good oral sex – also reveal that I do what I think is right, not what is expected by an out-dated gender-bias. I don’t really care what other guys think about me, and if I can feel comfortable committing an anti-sexual-paradigm act that never takes a break (hair length), I should feel okay with something that is instantly remedied should I feel uncomfortable (clothing). And yet I don’t. I can’t explain it, but it is a personal thing that exists in the back of my mind in the same way that some people cannot bring themselves to eat meat. It’s something that’s stuck in my psyche, and I realize that. Eventually, I’ll let it go when I realize just how ridiculous I’m acting.

I still can’t fix it, however. For the time being, I am not going to wear a Liberty jersey. One day this may change, and I will indeed be sporting a Martina Weber jersey in the stands. Once again, this is nothing against men wearing WNBA jerseys, or any other women’s clothes in general. I feel that people can do what they want, how they want, and when they want as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else. I am not completely at that point yet, so sorry for the one of you out there that thought I was some mythic God instead of a man filled with contradictions and complexities. The Lib coat-of-arms is out, but not forever.


Laura said...

we should get you a libs tshirt, or hat. how 'bout that?

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