MSU fans should leave gender out of rivalry

Campus was packed Saturday as MSU basketball fans welcomed ESPN’s College GameDay to cover our biggest rivalry game of the season against Michigan. Unfortunately, one Spartan fan took it too far.

An MSU fan created a hand-held sign showing the viral GIF of a U-M student looking unenthused during the Wolverines’ football game against Indiana this past fall — the one you probably chuckled at few months ago when you first saw it on Facebook. Next to her face, the sign said “U of M … KEEPING UGLY GIRLS OUT OF MSU SINCE 1870.”

Let’s take a step back and think about the student on the sign. Her name is Janine Huelsman, and she loves rivalries. But Saturday was different.

Editorial Board
Ian Kullgren, Editor in chief
Rebecca Ryan, Opinion editor
Omari Sankofa II, Minority representative
Sierra Lay, Staff reporter

“When I first saw the sign, it was on a Facebook page and I was really annoyed about it,” Huelsman told The State News editorial board in an email when we reached out to her on Sunday. “I might not be a big fan of the picture, but in general I’ve gotten used to it being around enough that I can just laugh it off. However, the sign on College GameDay was a pretty low blow.”

A low blow indeed.

The sign at College GameDay represents a much wider problem with our student body’s concept of spirit — equating female students’ value overall to sex appeal.

Female Spartans’ “superior” looks have been used to counter U-M’s allegations of stupidity for years, sometimes jokingly, sometimes not. But it’s high time we remove appearance from our arsenal. Although the sign might have been created as a joke, the mentality it perpetuates is degrading and should not be acceptable.

It is based on the idea that attractiveness is the most important quality in a woman. Forget ambition, intelligence or any sort of constructive quality. Our women are hot.

That’s a shallow idea that reaches back to decades when female students were expected to find a man, get married and stay confined to the kitchen after graduation. Really? It’s 2014.

Saying “We’ve got hot women,” in response to comments from Wolverines who say “MSU students are stupid,” just fuels their fire. It feeds their point against us that we aren’t intelligent, because measuring the worth of women based on their appearance, in fact, is ignorant and sexist.

Women, like men, come to this campus to learn and progress academically and professionally, not to serve as objects of admiration for the male-driven sports landscape.

We know our student body is a dynamic group with a million legitimate things to be proud of.

This tradition ignores them all, and it’s time we leave it behind.

Editor’s note: Staff representative Matt Sheehan did not contribute to this editorial because he reports on men’s basketball.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The State News.