After an 86-73 win against Australia Thursday, the U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team is poised for the gold medal game against France tomorrow night. Awesome? Indeed. But their coach? Not so much.
In an interview after the team slammed Canada in the quarterfinals, coach Geno Auriemma dismissed the idea that women’s basketball wasn’t getting the media attention it deserved. And that’s cool; I’m sure a case could be made for and against that contention. But then for some reason Auriemma went on to say:
“There are no feminists on my team. We’re not running around burning our bras trying to make people believe in our team. … We just play basketball and whether anybody cares or writes about it, there’s nothing we can do about that.”
The point Auriemma is trying to make, I think, is that his team is too busy kicking ass at the Olympics right now to worry about how much media they are or aren’t getting. But framing this mindset as somehow antithetical to feminism is just … weird. And annoying. It reinforces the stereotype that feminism is about whining and victimhood, instead of equality.
At its core, feminism is simply the belief that women should get the same opportunities, rights and respect as men. Women competing at the highest level in what has traditionally been a man’s sport? Golly, that seems awful feminist to me.
And as for Auriemma? When he’s not at the Olympics, he serves as the women’s basketball coach at the University of Connecticut — a gig he’d be unlikely to have if it weren’t for feminism.