Hope Solo and Ignorance Bait in the social media age
I’m sure you have seen something like this on Facebook. It’s a photo of an American soldier, maybe wounded and back at home. Either his family is with him or he’s near an American flag. In crude writing beside it, you’ll see text that reads, to use as a dated example, “1 million people shared the Ellen photo at the Oscars, but nobody wants to see an American hero!?” You’re of course seeing this because someone on your Facebook friends felt like the message was true and decided to share this photo.
Or take the situations pertaining to Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. I noticed today on imgur an image of a female soccer (football) player. Upon clicking, the title read, “Abuse is okay if it isn’t a scary black man that does it”. The person in question was Hope Solo, a goalkeeper for the Seattle Reign of the USWMNT whom earlier this year pled not guilty to two misdemeanor charges. She also has a sponsorship deal with Nike.
It feels like someone decided to dig up an example of female domestic abuse, found one and ran with it across social media. It wasn’t long before the Seattle PI was asking if there was a double standard. Washington Post called it the domestic violence case nobody is talking about. And Jezebel said nothing. Well, actually, Jezebel, a well noted feminist blog owned by Gawker did talk about it when other sports websites were not (Jezebel is not a sports website). And then they wrote about it again today saying she shouldn’t be playing either. Which of course someone is going to say hey why didn’t they write more on it, but back in the comments of the original article, comments were directed instead on why they weren’t mad at Solange Knowles instead.
In other words, you just can’t win.
Washington Post was actually correct in that it was a domestic violence case nobody was talking about, but not for the reasons the imgur image was assuming. Nobody was talking about it for a similar reason why nobody in the Washington Post talked about when someone you know was domestically abused. Women’s American Soccer has a status in North America under, “Hey, remember Slam Ball on TNN?” which means a case of domestic abuse in the Major Lacrosse League has a better chance of getting some coverage than Hope Solo. Soccer in America isn’t huge like football. Women’s Soccer is even less. Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson play in the biggest sports league in North America. One NFL team is worth more than the entire USWMNT program. That’s why it isn’t being talked about.
Is there a double standard? Of course there is. If Women’s sports got half the attention that men’s sports received from sponsors and paying fans and sports television and everything else, Solo would have been the first out of the gate in a rash of domestic abuse cases, instead of being reacted to like feminist football haters shoved it deep into the closet in hopes nobody would mention it. That’s the funny thing about the Patriarchy. If men aren’t around to get angry about women, women don’t really get that much attention for their alleged crimes.
But back to the concept of ignorance bait. This same concept reared its ugly head during the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, when Matt Damon wanted people to spend more time thinking about wasted fresh water during a charity. As much as I like Damon, I don’t remember him complaining about water waste after his trip to Disneyland with his family back in 2013. That’s because talking about the water waste at theme waterparks wasn’t as hot of an issue this year (To be fair, he did help found water.org so maybe he does denounce Disneyland water parks. Again, I like Damon, so I don’t want to rip on him too harshly without knowing all of the facts). Why weren’t we talking about water waste during the ALS Ice Bucket challenge? Because we certainly didn’t care during all of the other ways we waste water without consideration, every day, for entertainment. To bring it up and hijack another charity is dishonest, and does a disservice to the issue you want to get more attention. You’re just a couple steps behind PeTA running around in lettuce leaf bikinis. Again, I’m using Damon as an example, one of many.
In Social Media today there’s an assumption that everything happening everybody knows about, and if someone gets more attention than something else? There must be a conspiracy. Even worse, but that assumed conspiracy is then inflicted upon everyday people to guilt them into sharing something just because they might have enjoyed something else. It’s a deflection tactic to the current issues. “Don’t pay attention to that because there’s other things to pay attention to.” It’s also a cry for narrow minded opinions. We can be angry about a lot of things all at once while also loving, supporting and sharing things we do like. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, and most times it isn’t. It only is when you have an agenda to push.
Hope Solo should be reprimanded for her actions off the field, but that doesn’t mean we stop paying attention to the buffoonery in the NFL.