Marc Naimark's writing and interviews _____________________________________________________

David Douillet, meet Helen Grant: whether male or female, EU sports ministers just can’t help being sexists

Posted in FGG, France, sport by marcnaimark on 2014/02/22

blogffgdouilletFrom the Gay Games blog:


 

Many know David Douillet, French judo champion, BFF of former First Lady Bernadette Chirac, and politician, who served as French sports minister for a few dark months in 2011-2012. He is noted for having in his younger days written that he “was a misogynist, as are all men, except for faggots”. A youthful indiscretion? So he claimed, and yet he recently declared that the worst thing you could call him is “faggot”. And along the way, he declared that women practicing judo and other combat sports was “unnatural”.

Now UK sports minister Helen Grant has just demonstrated that you don’t have to be a man to hate women athletes. In an interview in The Telegraph, she explains that to encourage women to practice sport, you need to cater to religious prejudice by creating portable women-only swimming pools, and by adapting sport club schedules to Muslim prayer. More important, you have to offer more girly options in sport like Zumba and ballet, and less of those icky sports like field hockey or football.

“You don’t have to feel unfeminine,” stresses Ms Grant. “There are some wonderful sports which you can do and perform to a very high level and I think those participating look absolutely radiant and very feminine such as ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading and even roller-skating.”

Please, Ms Grant: go look radiant somewhere and leave your ministry to someone who really loves sport and wants to encourage women to practice it because it’s great. Maybe it’s better to have a minister who fights gender stereotypes rather than reinforces them?

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