Body Image / Feminism / Gender / media / Rape / So What Do ya'll Think?

To Brent Musberger, All the World is a Beauty Pageant

ICYMI, during the woefully dull Alabama-Notre Dame game, there was a bit of controversy. While there was a boring blow out on the field, commentator and hot piece of tail himself Brent Musberger made some generally benign but creepy comments about Katherine Webb, the girlfriend of the Alabama quarterback.

She’s a real stunner, so no doubt he was echoing the sentiments of most folks who were watching… or even see her walk across campus on a Tuesday. So what was problematic about it?

Take your pick:

  • The fact he piles on to culture of athletic entitlement that says being good at sports means you deserve hot women. This at a game where TWO Notre Dame players stand accused of raping fellow students and the harassment and threats directed to the victims were so harsh that one committed suicide and the other refuses to press charges. Oh, and remember Steubenville, the other big story of the week? That’s just some small town local football heroes having their bad deeds covered by an adoring town. No biggie. Ben Roethisberger? Who’s that?
  • The basic impoliteness of staring at someone and publicly discussing their appearance. Fortunately, Katherine Webb probably won’t be harmed by this whole thing. But for the average female, we’re kind of sick of walking the Gauntlet of What Douchebags Think of Your Body that is living in a major city. Not all of us are vying for a reality TV show or would like our careers to be based on airtime where people talk about our looks. Some of us just want to exist as people and are kind of tired of a culture where we are perpetually under the microscope.

So ESPN issued an apology. I’m sure it was super fucking sincere. But here comes the next phase of controversy. Should they apologize?

Johnny Goodtimes of the Philly Post and I discuss, although this video is edited down to minimal.

I also did a podcast on the whole story, where a little more time gets to be devoted to discussing it fully.

Let me also take this opportunity to remind people that there’s a difference between critiquing something and FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. There’s a perception that any time a critique is made from a feminist perspective that the person must be SO EMOTIONAL AND UPSET, YOU GUYS. But, coincidentally, that’s actually a pretty sexist assumption. It’s totally possible to be like, “umm, here’s what’s wrong with that” without thinking it’s THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN THE WORLD and that everybody NEEDS TO FREAK THE FUCK OUT.

Ok? Cool.

Questions? Comments? Violent reactions? Email or tweet @timaree_leigh See more at and

One thought on “To Brent Musberger, All the World is a Beauty Pageant

  1. In response to this, I’m going to have to say, no, it is not a far reach. We’re in the process of de-mything (is that a word?) masculinity. Sending a message, “Young boys, get a ball out and start throwing,” in reference to an attractive woman, (Though meant as an innocent comment. Yes, most men want an attractive woman, as most women would like an attractive man. Considering their sexual preference.) sends a message that A will produce B. It is a lie. And too many boys believe this, thus creating a form of entitlement. Enter rubbish dating skills and/or character or regards to women, and you have a formula for possible trouble.

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