A catalogue of the different fails in the media, both mainstream and social.
FENG TIANWEI: She plays like a man
From The Straits Times.
Front page: ‘FENG TIANWEI: She plays like a man, powered by tragedy, fear of failure.’
Page 3: ‘Home was Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province in north-east China. Known for its long, icy winters, this was where Feng, 25, learnt her trade as a young girl, sparring daily against bigger and stronger boys in a gym minutes away from home. This was also where she first honed her looping forehand smash, a powerful killing stroke that has been described as “masculine” by those who have coached her.
‘“She’s no different from other women,” said deputy women’s head coach Jing Junhong, who described her charge as “guileless” and “adorable”.
‘“She wants to be pretty, she wants to wear make-up, she wants to relax. She’s a child-like woman who loves to laugh and have fun. But because of her schedule, she has no time to do all these things.”’
1) The characterisation of Feng’s playing style as “masculine” is an example of i) the arbitrary gendering of positive traits as male or masculine, and the idea that women must become more like men to be good at what they do; ii) how we are conditioned to think of men as the default human (otherwise, why assign abstract ideal human qualities with the male gender?)
2) It’s also hard to imagine male athletes being spoken of in such (literally!) infantilising terms when their personal lives are discussed.