Wnba, NBA, Congressman James Clyburn discussed on The Takeaway

The Takeaway
|

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

The discussion of reparations. That was congressman James Clyburn, democrat of South Carolina talking about the best way to proceed with the national discussion over slavery reparations. This is the takeaway. The WNBA season is in full swing. And the league has more recently become known for its activism, and as a place where athletes, feel more comfortable being out as gay, and that move toward acceptance has had an impact on how the athletes present themselves off the court may seem small, but the evolution of fashion in the WNBA to include more on drowsiness and masculine looks marks an important change from what the league used to expect from its athletes. Britney democrat is a sportswriter focusing on the intersection of gender and sports. Thanks for being with us. Brittany, thanks for having me. So let's talk about pre-game looks in both the NBA and the WNBA. How long those outfits been catching public attention before Instagram if you will. It's definitely been longer in the NBA where they've almost been using the hallway like a runway. And now designers are, you know, debuting clothing on the NBA, athletes, and boosting sales that way in terms of the WNBA, this is a newer thing that has definitely risen with social media, and especially this year. I've, you've seen a major uptick in that with teams dedicating specific hallways for taking these pre-game photos, and some of them even making hallway murals as a backdrop for them you've done reporting on how there are a number of stars in the WNBA, who are embracing less gender normative, fashion, and looks, who are some of those athletes, Courtney Williams with the Connecticut sun is one for new Sykes with the Atlanta dream, tamra young, who's with the Las Vegas aces. And she actually even has her own clothing line. That's just a few, but there are many, many on every team who. Are doing this? And what kind of how would you describe there looks I would say that gender presentation is on a spectrum? And when we think of typical traditional feminine looks, it might be heels. It might be dresses. It might be, you know, really items and along the spectrum are more androgynous or gender neutral, looks and masculine of center and Bush looks as well which may include actual men's clothes, or things like blazers and pants and sneakers, so it can fall really anywhere on that spectrum. Now how supportive has the WNBA been about those fashion choices? Yeah, I feel like there has been this shift, particularly in more recent years in which the WNBA has stopped trying to shoehorn its players into an image that doesn't necessarily fit who they are. And they did that for a very long time. And it's really only I'd say, Lisa aboard. Who was the president until last season? I feel like it was part of her legacy to really start to embrace the players for who they are, and to let them be themselves, which really has brought a much more authentic connection, I think between fans and players as well. Fuck a little bit about that history. Because you've written about the fears that or the unfounded, fears, I should say that playing sports could make women queer or more masculine, what impacted that have on women athletes in the past, and what they were expected or allowed to wear. Yes. So this goes back to the turn of the twentieth century, where they were afraid that women were too fragile to play sports or that playing sports would make them masculine. A lot of those fears were rooted in homophobia worries that women who became to manage would be unable to, you know, bear children, which was they're seen as their purpose, and we can see in the all American girls. Professional baseball league during World War Two made. Famous by the movie league of their own the players were forced to wear lipstick on the field. They had to play in skirts, they attended charm school. And these requirements were to make them both attractive to the men who might be watching, and as non-threatening as possible. But those policies went deeper, it wasn't just because they wanted the women to appear feminine really was a fear of, of lesbianism that led to that there was no Frighteners ation policies as well between teammates because of that fear and that continued, you know, in the WNBA early history, I think they also tried to shoehorn their players into a more palatable what they perceived as palatable image, which was rooted in traditional femininity, you know, in two thousand eight they had make up classes for rookies, and those went on for several years, and they became optional in later years, but it was something that they asked players to do. And they even had in the early odds. There was a campaign. They called this is who I am. And to watch it now is pretty cringe-worthy. Their shots of like sue bird, who's one of the best players to have ever played like in a bathing suit while holding a basketball, so, yeah, this history goes back a really long time. I wonder if there you mentioned, the WNBA as a previous makeup tutorials for rookies was there anything quivalent to how male athletes were expected to look or were, they ever trained on how to cut their hair or shave or any of those other things. You know, I don't know. I know there's some baseball teams like the Yankees notoriously have no facial hair policy. That's one that comes to mind. But I don't think it's ever been as extreme, as we've seen in women's sports, and, you know, there's this perception or stereotype, that all female athletes are gay, which is not true, but a lot of them are and for a long time, there has been this effort to prevent them from being perceived, as you know, who they are, and that, and that fear is rooted in what in the fact that they would turn off mail viewers, or the fact that advertiser, wh where's that fear rooted in a lot of things that they would turn off the men who might be watching, I think, you know, filtered through the male gaze, which particularly sports has often been the assumption being that the audience is, is male and that they wouldn't wanna watch women just play sports in that maybe the attraction might be the attractiveness of the athletes to. A heterosexual male. Viewer. I think there was fear of losing money or, you know, a lot of times, this is driven by money who traditionally gets the endorsements and the marketing deals often that has been athlete to fit these very traditional ideas of feminine, beauty, who are thin and blonde and white. So I think it's rooted in a lot of things and also that, you know, queer women have balked the system that, you know, revolves around patriarchy, and so there's also that as well that they are somehow issuing what they should be in who they should be for several players on the US women's soccer team have started their own clothing brands that feature a lot of gender neutral pieces. Is that starting to become more of an option for female athletes? Or are a lot of female athletes still looking to partner with bigger brands like Nike who may not be as open to gender neutral fashion. I think what we're. Seeing is athletes, creating the kind of clothes that they wanna wear. And if they don't think it's available from a mainstream brand that they're going to go out and create it themselves. You know, lake tamra young with the w NBA, and I think what we're also seeing is, you know, you mentioned these are soccer players, and we're talking about the WNBA. These two leagues have the most openly gay players the most players who are out, and it is those players who are starting to push the boundaries of presentation. And I think moving their entire sport into a more accepting direction. We're running out of time in the segment, but I do want to get in one question here, we're talking about fashions off the court. But what about women's the way women's fashions are being policed when they're playing the sport? And I think the most obvious example, here is three and Williams. Yeah. Absolutely. And I think you know what should be at play is the comfort and what allows them to play their game the best. But unfortunately it's often been about how they look as much as how well they play, but that is starting to change..

Coming up next