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Tuesday, March 23, 2010
About those dancers

By Henry Abbott

dancers
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images


In most of regular life these days, outside of Las Vegas, half-naked gyrating women are considered inappropriate. Paying young women to act out that brand of 14-year-old heterosexual male fantasy, and generally sexualizing things to that degree, is too stark a slap to the face of sexual equality to be tolerated. After all, one of the most important lessons of the last century was that women aren't subservient sex objects, right?

But is there any denying that one of the major lessons one could take from watching an NBA dance team is that women are just precisely that?

I know, I get it. I'm being prudish. In general, I'm with Red Auerbach. I'm against the dance teams. But I'm also pragmatic. If the dancers and the audience are all cool with it, far be it from me to be the crank in the corner.

But that doesn't mean that the audience is all heterosexual men who dig this kind of thing.

Meet Hornets season ticket-holder and HornetsHype blogger Sarah Tolcser. She's not the crusader some of you are already assuming she is. She's a woman in the audience, raising her hand and saying "hi -- you notice me?"

In a guest post on Hardwood Paroxysm, Tolcser writes about the many oddities of being a woman in an NBA arena:
The NBA has been way ahead of the other major sports leagues in pioneering some things, such as social media. It’s time they show they can get with the program when it comes to their female fans. As a Hornets season ticketholder, I’ve taken surveys as a member of many different demographic classes -- including ticketholder, event attender, arena food and drink buyer, merchandise purchaser, web content consumer, and New Orleans resident. You know what I realize they’ve never once asked me? What more they could be doing for me as a female fan.

And you know, NBA, I would really like to be asked that question. Because I have some things to say that might surprise you, things like, “The answer is not more pink jerseys.” Things like, as a member of a growing class of unmarried women ages 25-44, "family friendly" promotions and cute distractions on court during the game entice me no more than they entice male fans. Things like, some of the advertising spots from your own sponsors have sexist overtones that make me uncomfortable. Things like, when I go to your official website and see scantily-clad girls on the front page, I can’t help feeling that the NBA is not meant to be "for me."