Friday, June 21, 2013

We've come a long way, or have we?

I honestly did have plans to rant about the idiocy of the PBR drawing back guys based on standings (including a guy who got disqualified in his earlier attempt) for the Last Cowboy Standing, but life distracted me and the rage faded, especially as none of the drawback guys actually won. But if there's one thing we know about the PBR, it's that it will invariably find ways to bumble and thus irritate.

So here we are in the depths of the break, and the depths of fluff articles on the website--a time when you would think the PBR would have fewer opportunities to annoy. Let's be clear, I don't have a problem with fluff content when there isn't much to cover. However, I do have a problem with this, in an otherwise nice article about Chase Outlaw riding (and winning) to honor a family friend.
"I was glad I was able to do that for him after all he's done for me," said an outwardly emotional Outlaw. "I held my word for him . . . and knowing that I wasn't being a little weak-hearted girl. I actually beared-down and rode and got it done for him. This win right here will be one of the most memorable ones I've had in my life."   
Let me take a breath here.  No, that's not helping.

PBR, seriously, you published web articles in the near past about how bad the early PBR cowboys were at PR and how Justin McBride needed media training after a gigantic error (insert your own observations about the success of any such efforts), implying that you have come so far . . . and then you put out this little gem?

The things wrong with this quote are numerous, and I'm not just talking about the grammar. So let's start with Outlaw. Now, he was emotional, and I'm sorry for his loss. However, do none of these chuckleheads who keep saying this kind of stuff have mothers? Sisters? Girlfriends? Wives? An aunt? Any women in their lives who perhaps don't appreciate the implication that they are weak and lesser? Would it have been that hard to say that he was happy he wasn't "weak-hearted," and left girls out of it?

There's lots more I could say about that, believe me, but I don't want to dogpile on Chase Outlaw when he's just the latest in a long line to utter something similar. Let's move on to this quote being included at all. Assuming that ellipses mean the same thing to Keith Ryan Cartwright as they do to me, there was some sort of statement between "I held my word for him" and "and knowing I wasn't being a weak-hearted girl." So not only did Chase Outlaw make this utterance, but some series of writers and editors decided to edit out something else but opted to leave the "weak-hearted girl" part in and publish it for the world to see. So now not only do we have this statement, but the PBR has also doubled down on it, despite previous protestations about how far the organization has come.  Of course, this is the organization whose CEO talked about "marketing to buckle bunnies" and seemed bemused when women found that objectionable, so the cluelessness may be endemic.

Now, I know I'm probably going to be told that I'm taking it too seriously and I'm too PC, etc., etc., etc.  Believe me, I have heard that before. I will be told that the cowboys just don't know any better, and it's just the way they were raised, they don't really mean it that way. You can tell me all those things, but that doesn't mean that Chase Outlaw, or any cowboy, making demeaning comments about women is okay and should pass without comment, or that the PBR deciding to publish such comments is acceptable.  

If the PBR wants to be taken seriously as a sport, it might start by treating women, who Jim Haworth himself says are more than half their audience, as something other than weak and lesser. Because women can very easily take their dollars, which spend just as "strongly" as any man's, somewhere else. Somewhere where we aren't giving money to an organization that publishes articles like the one quoted.