Friday, June 25, 2010

Anti-woman behavior? I think not.

A few days ago after its loss to the American team during the World Cup soccer tournament Algerian player Rafik Saifi slapped reporter/writer Asma Halimi in front of several witnesses. Oh correction Saifi slapped female reporter/writer Asma Halimi. Yes apparently the important part isn't that a supposedly world class athlete behaved in a totally inappropriately violent manner by attacking someone unprovoked. The important part is that a supposedly world class athlete behaved in a totally inappropriately violent manner by attacking a woman. Do I even need to ask if this had been a man would the media be constantly reminding us that a male reporter/writer has been attacked or would he suddenly become a reporter/writer?

Well it seems that such a thing doesn't stop some from taking the anti-woman bias and running with it. Can't blame them. Playing up the victimhood of women sells and its a good way to get brownie points (even though from what I can tell there are women out there who are starting to catch onto this).

Run Ryan Brown (of Salon)! Run!

Alright in order to prove anti-woman sexism (or anti-man sexism) one would need to show at least some evidence that the person's gender had some part in why they were attacked by the assailant. So why did Saifi attack Halimi?
Apparently last year Halimi, who writes for the Algerian sports daily Competition, published a translation of an interview Saifi did with an Arabic paper in Qatar, revealing his engagement to a French woman.
Okay so what in that explaination points to Halimi's gender? From the sound of it he was pissed that someone spilled some personal info on him. How Brown goes on to mention that the info had already been spilled to by another source, from Saifi himself.

Now don't get me wrong he most certainly should not have attacked anyone like that, man or woman. I'm just having a hard time how this slap can be lumped in with:
...from British authorities encouraging women to avoid domestic violence by steering clear of their men after games (because, you know, when it comes to battering women, boys will be boys) to Spanish fans viciously blaming their defeat against Switzerland on the distracting influence of journalist Sara Carbonero, girlfriend of goalkeeper Iker Casillas (she was reporting from behind the net during the match). Oh yeah, and there was that whole bit where FIFA refused to make sex safer during the Cup by allowing the distribution of condoms at games.
Slapping a reporter you're pissed off with is not as gender specific as giving bogus advice on how to avoid violent men during the games, blaming the girlfriend of a player for a team's loss, or refusal to distribute condoms which would promote safe sex (sex that will certainly involve women).

But I'll tell you what Brown does a pretty nice looking job at bootstrapping this to violence against women. Thing is he had more than enough material for this article to stand alone without the serious and unbelievable stretch he made in order to get Saifi's attack in there.

In the end Saifi attacked a woman unprovoked and I would like to see him get punished for it. But its a bit dishonest to try to call this violence against women when the attacker has an established beef with the victim.