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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/30/13

Watching Britney Griner is like watching magic

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Message Angela Hattery

People often respond with surprise when they learn how short I am.  They say, "Wow, you don't seem so short."  Pondering this reaction over many years I've come to the conclusion that one adaptation I had to my vertical challenge was to develop a very big personality.  I was NOT going to get lost in the crowd!  I developed a personality that people would be forced to notice.  And, I believe today that is one of my greatest assets.  If I had been born to taller parents and grown taller myself, maybe I wouldn't have the same personality I have now.

What I find most interesting about the way in which Britney Griner is treated in the media--many people question her gender identity, others say she is too aggressive and not feminine enough--is the incredible negativity and often meanness that peppers the comments people make, in public, about someone they don't even know.    In contrast, people seem completely enamored with "little people."    TLC is bursting with shows about little people and their families and lives, focusing on their custom built houses with low countertops and toilets, their custom furniture and whether or not their progeny will be or are little. 

If Britney Griner is no more physically remarkable---statistically speaking--- than those of us who are little people then why are little people so endearing and Britney so threatening?

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that Britney Griner is taller and more physically powerful than 99% of men.  The only men in her height and strength class are men's basketball and football players, and even there, like LeBron James who shares her height, she is taller than most of them.

Perhaps men are threatened  by a woman who can play basketball better than they can and who can dominate them physically.  Perhaps they worry that if women like Griner can excel in the masculine world of athletics then they might be capable of dominating in other areas as well, like politics and business.  If women can be strong and tall and powerful like Griner and threaten the very core of masculinity--SportsWorld-- then maybe they can also be smart and challenge in that realm as well.

To all of the critics of Griner, the vast majority of whom have probably never dunked a basketball, I suggest you sit back and enjoy watching one of the most talented female athletes to ever play the game.  You are lucky to have the chance to watch her play. 

And, if you are threatened by her talent, that is your problem, not hers!


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Angela Hattery Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Associate Director of Women & Gender Studies, George Mason University, author of African American Families: Myths and Realities (2012), the Social Dynamics of Family Violence (2012), Prisoner Reentry and Social Capital (2011) and several other books (more...)
 
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