Richard Sherman

Gender Issues

Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman

You're playing the champions league final but it looks like your wife is due to give birth to your first child on the very same day. What are you doing? I put this question to a bunch of Facebook friends, a careless, disordered statistic of male friends selected on a super unscientific basis.



The reason for the question was the statement by Richard Sherman, top NFL football player, who indicated that he certainly did not want to miss the birth of his first son. The fact that he had hinted that he might not participate in the Super Bowl should his baby announce itself sparked a lively discussion.

The super bowl is the largest sporting event in America. To give you an idea; companies pay $150.000 per second for a commercial to be broadcast during this finale. There is simply no better-watched event in the US than the super bowl. It can be compared to a European Championship or World Cup with the Netherlands in the final. No dog on the street, everyone glued to the image. What then makes a top player who trains, breathes and lives towards such a Super bowl, to choose to be present at the birth of his son?

As a so-called emancipated woman who has often been called feminist, this event got me thinking. Besides Sherman's statement and the commentary that followed, it was also my own thoughts as a free-spirited independent woman that surprised me.

Why did I almost automatically assume that every professional player would choose the match? Worse, why has it never occurred to me as a woman to think that there might be women who would like their man to be by their side when the moment of birth has arrived? Why did I think that was almost unheard of at first? The Super Bowl, European Championship, World Cup are all fantastically unparalleled events that I want to experience all if I can, but as wonderful as they are, there is simply no greater miracle than the birth of a child. Why do I, as a woman, rather empathize with the spectacle of the man?

Now I started to wonder to what extent my Dutch background has influenced my thinking, hence the question to the Dutch maties.

In my opinion, the Netherlands is quite a macho society when it comes to women's issues. I still can't get over how disrespectful female sports journalists are treated. Cringing, I also read the piece Football a woman thing.

Compared to America, this is just barbaric. Not an opportunity goes by without these women being slammed into the ground in a merciless manner as if to convince them to stick to the last. So that kite doesn't fly. These women do nothing but practice the profession for which they have been trained. Unfortunately, the world is too macho to give them a real chance.

American football is perhaps even more of a masculine sport than Dutch football. The testosterone running around isn't amiss, but when the Super Bowl was over, it was a female journalist who ran onto the field and questioned those super male heroes. Live TV, with millions of viewers. There are more than enough female journalists here. Professional women with knowledge of the business, who do their homework, just as driven, good and career-oriented as men, nobody falls for that. Why is this a problem in the Netherlands?

It reminds me of the immortal statement of politician Pim Fortyn "Woman go cook" after the journalist, with good right, finally went deeper into the superficial statements that Mr Fortyn was known for. The papers were full of it, but not so much with surprise. Yes, people were surprised about the pronunciation, but most of all they thought it was funny!

I'm sorry, I'm just such a feminist with hair on my teeth, but I didn't find anything funny about it. What really disturbs me in these situations is the obvious tone that women need to know their limits and know intuitively, that they will be pushed back with all force if they try to cross those invisible imposed limits. That as a woman you should not be difficult, should not want too much and above all should not make too many demands. The dangerous thing about this is that as a woman you tend to take these limits for granted and limit yourself.

The discussion Sherman provoked therefore fascinated me not only from a man's perspective, but perhaps even more from a woman's point of view. My mates' answers were surprisingly varied, but surprisingly, most women responded with: play. Now the question arises: are my friends more emancipated than we women?