On Thursday, renowned women’s basketball coach Cheryl Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx, winners of the 2017 WNBA Championship, tweeted a succinct list of Donald Trump’s actions that show his total disregard for women in sports (and, therefore, for all women).
Re White House:— Cheryl Reeve (@LynxCoachReeve) May 3, 2018
1) President's have recognized WNBA Champs dating back to Houston Comets
2) Golden State, UNC MBB, Bama Fball, Astros received an invite/visited within months of 'ship.
3) Womens collegiate champs lumped together in 1 ceremony
4) WNBA Champs = no invite https://t.co/qBtkmXQciw
Before proceeding, it is important to note that Golden State Warriors’ superstar Stephen Curry expressed publicly his lack of desire to visit Mr. Trump at the White House, which turned into a magnificent change of plans (and leadership by example) for the 2017 NBA champions.
Additionally, the Trump administration did not extend an invitation to University of South Carolina Women’s Basketball Head Coach Dawn Staley, whose Gamecocks won the 2017 NCAAW Championship in 2017. This, despite the efforts of former SC governor Nikki Haley — now serving as ambassador to the UN for the Trump administration (and who is reportedly a friend to Staley) — to smooth things over.
Breasts, for context
The news of Trump’s continued disregard for accomplished women is infuriating, but in no way departs from the person he has revealed himself to be. Most people who encounter national news, even in passing, are aware that Trump has been accused of:
- having an affair with an adult film star while his wife, Melania, was either pregnant or newly mothered;
- paying hush money to silence said porn star through a former lawyer (now under criminal investigation) — funds his new lawyer reported (just today) that Trump reimbursed to the previous lawyer;
- ogling pageant contestants without their consent;
- bragging about grabbing women by the pussy; and
- refusing to shake hands with German President Angela Merkel.
It should be noted that the Merkel snub was during her visit to the White House on March 17, 2017, just a few weeks before Staley’s Gamecocks clenched the NCAAW Championship with a win over Mississippi State.
Also today, however, NBA Countdown host Michelle Beadle sounded off about a story in The New York Times regarding claims by Washington Redskins’ cheerleaders that they were required to work topless while on a trip to Costa Rica.
So, what does all of this reveal?
A) Trump’s disdain for women with muscles or brains;
B) His adoration for women he finds sexually attractive; and
C) Many men in positions of power are wired this way, too.
These inclinations are entrenched deeply into the cultural psyche. And since men hold an imbalance of power across various industries and government, some abuse that power by hijacking women’s hard work, sacrifices and dreams for a momentary sexual thrill.
In other words, if a man like Trump does not find a woman sexually attractive — or if she is, for example, not an option because she is gay — the woman, therefore, has no value.
In the words of my sister, some men only find value in women they can penetrate (or desire to penetrate).
This disgraceful collision of events — topless cheerleaders, hush money paid to a porn star mistress, refusal to acknowledge the accomplishments of women derived from strength, talent and hard work — amounts to a neon sign of all of the issues brought into the public discourse by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
That Trump — even when called out in his favorite cyber playground — powers forward with a sexist, misogynistic agenda while a vast portion of the country is waking up and holding people accountable for centuries of odious treatment proves one thing:
Trump is a president of, for, and about heterosexual white males (plus Kanye West). With women making up more than half of the country’s population, Trump, therefore, is the wrong president — especially at this point in history.
Diana — who?
This morning, a tiny snippet of my recent interview with Diana Taurasi was published on this site. When I told my older sister about the interview, I included a rundown of Taurasi’s major accomplishments: four-time Olympic gold-medal winner, three-time WNBA champion, WNBA all-time leading scorer.
Her reply shocked me (and anyone who claims to give a damn about this country not only should be shocked but committed to ousting from power — across industry and government — anyone operating under these outdated, misogynistic principles):
Granted, my sister does not follow sports at all.
However, the fact that she has heard of Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James — NBA stars whose names are ubiquitous in mainstream culture — is precisely the problem.
That she knows of women athletes in individual sports, like tennis, figure skating and gymnastics, but not in team sports, like basketball, is an unfortunate offshoot of the problem.
Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore and other women’s hoops phenoms are of similar accomplishment to Curry, Bryant and James. But they are not household names because decision-makers have not provided them with the same visibility.
But this problem is not confined to the world of basketball. It oozes through every facet of society and keeps women unrecognized and underpaid for doing the same job. Most importantly, it keeps women’s success contingent on the heterosexual male erection and limits women’s opportunities based on the degree to which they meet a standard of beauty pleasing to heterosexual males.
Time really is up, and change must start at the top — NOW.
Trump’s inability to behave humanely in the presence of strong, powerful women (Merkel) or to even have them in his presence (Lynx, Gamecocks) is the sad mark of insecurity of a very unhappy man. But his gender-based inferiority complex should no longer derail or diminish other people’s hopes and dreams.
The Minnesota Lynx and South Carolina Gamecocks deserve better than to be rudely ignored by the President of the United States of America, whose job it is to serve all citizens equally, not just those with penises. Women deserve equal respect, equal praise and equal payment for a job well-done.
Trump, and others of his ilk, should know that women — and the forward-thinking, emotionally intelligent men — will no longer settle for the toxic masculinity he passes off as manhood.