A glorious bit of traffic-chasing from the Torygraph on Thursday: Andrew M Brown writing under the headline “Women’s Judo: It’s disturbing to see these women beat each other up.”
The full text is even better, and the screengrab can be found here. Brown points out in surprise that women’s judo isn’t “pretend wrestling” (which is eminently more suited for the laydeez, that being essentially women getting almost naked and writhing with each other, and therefore more pleasing to the manly eye than actual martial arts) and says that they exhibited “pure, naked, fierce, animalistic aggression of a sort that one doesn’t naturally associate with women” and that he was as shocked by it as he would be by “two drunken women bashing ten bells out of each other outside a Yates Wine Lodge on a Friday night.”
Where to start? Well, how about the difference between a bar brawl and carefully controlled Olympic sport? The similarity between women fighting outside Yates (lovely little bit of classism there, Andrew, extra troll points) and women fighting at the top of their Judo game is huge. He may as well have compared Wiggo’s Tour de France victory to a hoodie riding a BMX through red lights. Judo might look aggressive but it’s awfully well controlled. Stick your cigarette lighter up your opponent’s nose and pull her hair, and you’ll get disqualified.
He goes on to say that “With those judo contestants – and I realise this will probably sound appallingly sexist – I couldn’t help wondering about their soft limbs battered black and blue with bruises. Would it bother me to see one of my own daughters savagely attacking another woman on a judo mat for people’s entertainment?”
Soft limbs? I’d wager that Mr. Brown’s limbs are significantly softer than those of the Olympic judo team, women or not. He’s still thinking that this is savage – it’s judo, FFS, not bare knuckle boxing – and exhibiting an interestingly proprietorial attitude towards women (his only point of reference being to what he perceives as his, i.e. his daughters.)
As well as tempting me to a little bit of animalistic aggression myself, this article said two things. The first is that women’s sport is still regarded as decorative and not physically competitive, and indeed that physically demanding sports are still deemed unfeminine. And the second is that a daily newspaper thinks it’s acceptable to publish a sentence which even its own author knows sounds sexist. If he’d sent a piece which included the caveat “and I know this will sound appallingly racist,” I don’t think they’d have published it. But sexism is just a-ok.
I realise that the Telegraph probably wants more hits, and indeed they got them (hundreds of angry comments on the page, which is exactly what their advertising revenue wants.) But to plagiarise Mr Brown: with these misogynist articles – and I realise this will probably sound appallingly cynical – I can’t help wondering about their fragile egos, battered black and blue. Would it bother me if it was one of my male relatives hawking ignorance for their editor’s bonus and other people’s entertainment?