Friday, June 14, 2024

Column: What if the shoes were on different feet in the Juwan Howard situation?

February 24, 2022
<p>Michigan head basketball coach Juwan Howard speaks to the press during Big Ten basketball media day in Chicago on Oct. 2, 2019. </p>

Michigan head basketball coach Juwan Howard speaks to the press during Big Ten basketball media day in Chicago on Oct. 2, 2019.

There was a study published in the journal Nature in October 2021 by three educators from Purdue University and the University of Michigan.

The three followed 142 men and women over 75 days and tracked their daily positive and negative emotions. They even included women with “natural menstrual cycles” and women who were using different types of oral contraceptives to “explicitly address the notion that women are more emotionally variable, or liable, due to varying hormone levels across their cycles,” according to an article by TODAY. The participants were to complete a 20-minute survey each night during the study period that assessed their feelings.

The three found that men and women’s emotional stability and fluctuations are “clearly, consistently and unmistakably more similar than they are different,” Beltz, the lead author on the study, told TODAY, and there were also no meaningful differences among the women in the different control groups.

I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s 2022. Times are changing, narratives are evolving and, in reality, men are just as emotional as women are, sometimes even more so.

No scientific evidence proves that women are more emotional than men. Sure, it doesn’t speak to the origins or the persistence of the gender stereotype that came with the beginning of time, but it allows for a little crack in the glass, a way to see out and hopefully, eventually, dismantle them.

Men are allowed to be emotional over things they dislike, yes, but not in the way Michigan Head Coach Juwan Howard was.

If a woman pulled the same stunt that Howard did in Wisconsin over the weekend, she would be labeled as “crazy,” “too emotional,” a “b----,” a “psycho c---.” It would be laughed at, meme’d as a “cat fight” with people praying in the comments, “anything but a daughter, Lord, please” and she would be scolded, told to “act more lady-like” and “respect her superiors,” maybe immediately fired.

Notice how this is not the way Howard or his actions were described and reprimanded. He had open-hand slapped the Wisconsin coach upside the head for no apparent reason other than losing a basketball game and it was deemed that he was “having a bad day.” Nothing more, nothing less. Notice how he actually had people supporting him and his actions, even when he was in the wrong; even when he was the one who, instead of displaying good sportsmanship as the face of a program and shaking hands, acted out in a childlike fashion.

Because of harmful stereotypes and stigmas that have played on repeat in our daily lives on social media, in school curriculums and in entertainment, people believe that women are the more emotional side of the gender spectrum. No reason needed, other than it’s what they are taught and told, time and time again. Why did that start, you might ask? Is it because women were created to be nurturers? The caregivers of the household? The ones who birth and raise children, cook, clean and feed them while the men go off to war or to the office for a typical 9-5?

Have you ever babysat children or had children of your own? You know that if a child sees another get away with something, they are going to attempt it too. It’s that famous, “Monkey see, monkey do.” Learning without understanding, doing without thought. If Howard had gotten away with it, no repercussions for starting a full-blown battle in the Kohl Center, who knows what coach would have attempted it next?

Thankfully, the Big Ten responded with swift action toward both parties and didn’t sweep this under the rug with the rest of their ignored troubles and terrors. A suspension for the remainder of the regular season and a hefty fine are good enough, for now.

But, truly let it sink in.

Imagine if it had been Michigan women's basketball Head Coach Kim Barnes Arico instead of Howard.

Imagine it had been Wisconsin women’s basketball head coach Marisa Moseley getting slapped by Arico, instead of Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft by Howard.

How do you think Twitter would have reacted? The same? Differently?

How do you think you would have reacted and why?

Give me three good reasons.

If the shoes were on different feet, would you care more or less?

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