Rage Is the Name of the Game
Even with all the strides we’ve made in the gender justice movement, we still aren’t seeing equal attention given to women’s sports—at any level. There isn’t equal broadcast attention given to women’s sports, equal respect given to women athletes, and certainly not equal pay. Each of those things is rage-inducing on its own and something every woman can relate to, athlete or otherwise. They harken me back to times when male colleagues took credit for my ideas or when my friends found out their male coworkers were making more money than them, for doing less work. I’ve always been an avid sports fan but there’s just something about women athletes banding together in acts of rage, of any variety, that soothes my soul.
Serena Williams, 2018
When The G.O.A.T., Serena Williams was in her final match of the 2018 US Open, she and her coach were accused of illegal signaling, basically, cheating. After contesting the umpire to no avail, Serena smashed her racket in frustration. The outrage that ensued was nothing short of sexist and racist. People called her angry, hysterical and claimed she “blew her top”, all tropes that women, especially Black women, have projected onto them. The kicker? There are dozens of compilations of male tennis players doing far more than Serena did without having to answer for it. But yes, please tell me again how women are too emotional!
I could talk all day about my admiration for the WNBA. The talent! The activism! The style! I once had a dream that Elena Delle Donne was my neighbor but that’s a story for another time. The WNBA scored big time in their long-embattled fight for equal pay in 2020 but even that wasn’t the biggest headline they made last year. WNBA players have been vocally advocating for racial and gender justice long before the past summer’s reckoning (and NBA walkout) but seeing a renewed urgency for change, several players opted-out of the 2020 season to focus their time and energy on racial equality. One of the biggest moments of 2020 was when Atlanta Dream players wore shirts in support of now Senator Raphael Warnock—who was running against the team’s owner, Kelly Loeffler. Have I mentioned the lack of diversity in professional sports leadership? Not only did Loeffler lose her seat in the U.S. Senate, but she also lost ownership of the team in March when the Atlanta Dream was sold to a three-person ownership team, led by former Dream guard, Renee Montgomery. Stick to sports? I think not.
We all need some joy, which is often what comes as a result of an act of rage. It’s no secret that women’s sports don’t get the media coverage they deserve. So after years of being underappreciated and undercovered four Olympic athletes (with 8 gold medals between them) started Togethxr, a media brand to lift up women’s voices and tell their stories. Icons and legends Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim, Simone Manuel, and Sue Bird launched this history-making media enterprise, in fabulous suits, on the start of Women’s History Month. A few of my favorite women-led sports outlets like The Gist and On Her Turf joined in on the excitement of this groundbreaking news, knowing they weren’t there to compete for once, but to work together in the name of women. I for one, am so excited to see women’s sports finally get the recognition (and advertising dollars, let’s be real) they deserve.