I really don't think it's too much to ask that if I take my daughter to a football game, we walk to get a pretzel and some nachos without being harassed by a drunken mob. Call me crazy, but I'd love to actually sit near Gate D at a New York Jets game and not be groped or screamed at or if, heaven forbid I'm feeling prudish that day, have to duck spit and flying bottles from hundreds of angry men.
Of course my daughter and I could just sit somewhere else. We could go get Mommy a beer and kiddo a hot dog near some other, non-infamous gate, and avoid the whole thing -- and then I remember this is 2007 and women do have the right to walk in public.
I suppose if I were to take my daughter and I on over that way, I would have been asking for it, right?
And people wonder why I still yell and scream and write about women and gender equality.
Many sports fans (my entire house included...yes, the girls too) are discussing the New York Times article by David Picker describing what happens at Jets home games on pedestrian ramps near Gate D.
Huffington Post contributor Leora Tanenbaum says, "I hate to sound like a broken record, but the sexual double standard is alive and well. Boys will be boys, and girls will be sluts. And across the land, people continue to believe that this is the way it's supposed to be." Tanenbaum drew attention and questioned the behavior while commentors asked for proof.
Let's watch some YouTube, shall we???
As the NYT reports, this whole Gate D party is a tradition at Jets home games. Meaning, Joe Jetsfan brings Joe Jr. Jetsfan, they share a beer, and join the mob out in the concourse to see how many women they can get to lift their shirts. Tradition. Happy Thanksgiving.
Some women comply. Some women walk away clothed and get heckled. Some women are spit on. Some women have bottles thrown at them. Some women are groped. More importantly...
hundreds of men think this is ok.
I attend sporting events. I am used to the one or two drunken idiots who scream four letter words and spill their beer. Security usually hovers near them and if they get out of hand they are escorted out. There is an entire mob getting out of hand at Jets games, and it's tradition.
It's Free Speech! We're just having fun! Don't come near Gate D if you don't like it!
Let me speak in words you Gate D Jets fans understand: "Fuck you."
Free speech is not harassment. Fun isn't intimidating. And I'll go anywhere I damn please, despite the fact I'm a woman. In fact, how about I come with a few thousand of your mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and girlfriends? We'll exercise our free speech to teach you all about mob mentality, harassment, sexual abuse, intimidation, and gender equality issues.
I called Jets' media relations to float my idea of taking Gate D back for the women. The nice PR phone-answering person took a message and I told them I was working on a deadline. "Yes, the HUFFINGTON POST, no, no...not Hubbington, HuFFington...and yes, BlogHER dot com. H-E-R, yes, BlogHER, yes, a network of over 13-thousand WOMEN...yes, I'd like to talk about the NY Times article, yes, the one about Gate D...yes, Blog H-E-R..."
...I'm still waiting for a call back. In the meantime, I'm going to really mess up Thanksgiving tradition and NOT spend it in the kitchen.
The Detroit Lions kick-off in an hour and my daughter and I have a game to watch.