Last week, while on Twitter and thinking of unique ways to plug our book (Just did it again!), I happened to see “Skylar Diggins” — a sophomore point guard at Notre Dame — among the trending topics. Now, Diggins had just led Notre Dame to a victory over the UConn women, an earth-shattering upset along the lines of “Jermaine Dupri just bagged Janet Jackson!!!“, but her athletic prowess was only part of the reason for the attention she was receiving.¹
You see, Diggins is quite possibly the best looking high-level female athlete…ever (Yes. Ever. Anyone else you’d name — Swin Cash, Serena Williams, Marion Jones, Candice Parker, Laila Ali, etc — would fall short. She’s the Kenya Moore/Esther Baxter hybrid to everyone else’s everyone else.), and this extra attention was due to the myriad ways people (and by “people” I mean “black men”) acknowledged this fact through words, tweets, blogs, and even song (Seriously!)
But, along with the hundreds of thousands of different n*ggas who’d offered to impregnate and/or marry her via the internet, something else happened: People actually watched her play.
Men (and women) who were usually more excited by kidney stones and stink bugs with syphilis than the idea of women’s college basketball tuned in to watch Notre Dame play in the championship against Texas A&M. And, those who watched the entire game saw a contest that was much, much, much more entertaining than the sh*tfest the Butler and UConn men produced the night before², and probably left appreciating women’s basketball a bit more than they did before.
Now, not everybody was pleased with the type of attention Diggins received, and a couple paragraphs from an email exchange between Zerlina Maxwell of The Loop 21 and I helps explain exactly why.
“I still just don’t feel comfortable with women (it’s usually women even though you were correct to point out that at times it occurs with men) getting all that attention primarily because of their looks. That’s just troubling and it’s not only in sports…
…But the fact that jokers were on twitter going on and on and on about how pretty Skylar is and what not with the rare mention of the fact that she is good at the game is just frustrating.”
(In an earlier email, Maxwell also brought up the point that any aesthetic-based interest would be fleeting. Basically, anyone watching just to see if Diggins was hot probably wouldn’t watch again. While this is true, I replied that all attention, even fleeting and/or superficial attention, is better than none. )
Now, (obviously) I think this — people watching just because they think a particular player is attractive — is a good “problem” to have. Even if you take sports out of the equation, I don’t think it’s a bad thing if a person’s looks gets them an opportunity or opens a door that may have been locked otherwise. In this sense, the end justifies the means. But, (although unlikely) I realize that I could be wrong, and I’m curious what you think.
People of VSB.com, Is all attention good if it leads to a desired result? Does it really matter if the only reason you got into your dream law firm is because one of the partners wanted to hit it during your interview? I mean, as long as you get in (and he, um, doesn’t) right?
The carpet is yours.
¹I actually first noticed Diggins a couple years ago while flicking through channels on a lazy Sunday. I came across an ESPN documentary centered on a high school basketball tournament featuring many of the top boys and girls teams in the country. Although several different teams were profiled, two in particular were showcased: An Atlanta-area boys team starring eventual NBA lottery pick Derrick Favors, and a girls team from Indiana starring an athlete whose presence on-screen immediately produced two thoughts in my head:
A) She might be the best looking female athlete I’ve ever seen
B) Um, you do realize she’s in high school, right? Settle down, Champ Kelly.
After remembering that my open living room window gave God a clear shot to watch me a bit too interested in the aesthetic attributes of an 18 year old girl, I tried to convince myself that she was in fact a 27 year old undercover cop masquerading as a high school basketball player to bust an intercontinental crystal meth ring. It didn’t work.
²I was thisclose to saying that the Butler/UConn championship game was the single most disturbing, disgusting, and depressing thing I’ve ever watched, but I just remembered that an unexplained bout of curiosity and stupidity caused me to watch “The Human Centipede” Saturday night. Now, the Butler/UConn championship game is only the second most disturbing, disgusting, and depressing thing I’ve ever watched.
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