Friday, August 7, 2015

The RED Women's Movement - A Cure for Writers Block

It's been awhile since I've been back here, tapping out my thoughts about football and other sports that catch my attention in phrases exceeding 140 characters. It's not that I haven't had anything to say, really. It's that the things I felt like saying were already being said by a few hundred other people with a lot more juice than me on the internet. What drove me to write last fall was anger and frustration with the state of Michigan football, Brady Hoke, and especially Dave Brandon. If most successful writers are driven by emotion, angst, and a darkness of spirit, I had that in spades last year. Didn't we all?

Then Jim Harbaugh came along and ruined all that by making me happy and hopeful. By entertaining me to a point where I can barely recall the years of The Horror. But really, how many people need to document his every word and every move? What more could I say about this crazy, intense, beautiful coach and the things he's doing with his new program than others were already saying? So I took a summer hiatus from MGoGirl and just fiddled around on Twitter and MGoBlog when I felt the need to say something. 

With football season fast approaching, I've been contemplating how to ease myself back into my little literary endeavor. Thanks to my BFF and former MGoRoommate Lynn, who somehow manages to read the internet completely at least once a day, I was given the nudge I needed -- a tidbit of insanity she found on and shared with me on Facebook.

It's called the RED Women's Movement and I think most of you will find it a slap in the face to football-loving ladies everywhere. Check it out on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers website. Go ahead. Take a couple minutes. It won't take you long to either love the idea -- or if you're like me, feel cheapened, belittled, and dismissed. Dismissed from the man cave where I, too, enjoy calling the next play, second-guessing referees, asking my man for another beer, and cussing like a sailor or throwing objects when things don't go my team's way.

The Buccaneers bill this as "a women's movement that will re-invent the female fan experience." It's supposedly being led by the women of the Tampa Bay area to help start an "exciting new era" for female fans in their region. It's described as "groundbreaking," but I'd characterize it as condescending bullshit and football gods forbid this movement ever reaches the Mason-Dixon line in its attempt to create a special community of female football followers.

So, ladies, this is what RED will do for you:
  • Year round education on understanding football (OK, if done in a non-condescending way, this is potentially acceptable.)
  • Insider's talks with the Bucs' GM and visits from Bucs' legends, whatever that means. (Vinnie Testaverde? Baby! Count me in. Not.)
  • Game day style tips (somewhere Tim Gunn is reaching for smelling salts)
  • Sessions on how to incorporate Bucs love into tailgating and home entertainment ideas
  • Practical advice on expressing Bucs love through "fashion-forward" team apparel and creative culinary efforts.
It's bad enough that the photo in the article shows three hot, young blonde babes in Bucs' gear to represent the female fan. I barely noticed them, though. The picture was replaced in my mind's eye with one from the Mad Men era. In that photo, mommy is enjoying game day in the kitchen wearing a dress with a Peter Pan collar and smart, matching pumps. And she's not yelling "J---F---C---! Homer refs! I hope Jim Delany is happy with that call. Takin' care of Uncle Urbz! Asshats." She's just happy to be all matchy-matchy and deliver cold beer and thoughtfully prepared snacks to the guys in the room.

The stunning stupidity of this program is almost laugh-worthy. Seriously, the first thing I did when Lynn shared the  article with me was to check for as the source. I understand that not all women know as much about football as many of us do. There's nothing wrong with that, just as there's nothing wrong with a program to teach women more about football. That indeed could improve the game day experience for many women who don't currently enjoy a weekend marathon of college and pro football with their menfolk like I do. (There are even times when my beau Dave wants to turn it off and I'm "no, we need to watch the end of this game.")

I just fail to see what fashion-forward gameday apparel and cooking tips have to do with the Bucs' stated aim of changing the way women enjoy football. It's condescending and dismissive. It doesn't pull women into the same fan experience men have. It considers them fangirl Barbie dolls who want to know "What's a play clock?" (yes, click the link and witness) while contemplating whether their blouse matches the napkins the men will use at the tailgate which will be serving Buccaneer Bruschetta with I-Can-Define-First-Down Filets.

I hope the women of Tampa (who I suspect had nothing to do with this clearly non-grassroots movement) give this program (and the men who started it) what it deserves -- a) a forced run through a gauntlet of female fans swinging wooden spoons and jabbing with cocktail forks and shrimp deveining knives and/or b) a surprise halftime bombing of Raymond James Stadium with hundreds of thousands of tampons and other feminine delights. 

Would that help the Bucs' management pull their heads out of their collective 1957 ass? Probably not. When you're that out of touch with 2015, I don't see much enlightenment happening.

All I know is that in reading about RED, I appreciate being a Michigan fan and a Michigan woman more than ever! We get the Michigan Women's Football Academy with real coaches and game play. Tampa Bay women get Project Top Chef on the Runway. Who has it better than us?

Go Blue! I'm back. And my MGoLadies can laugh more about RED here

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