Joey Bosa is officially a Charger! Chargers fans everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief when news broke around noon Monday that Bosa and the Chargers had finally agreed to bury the hatchet. Bosa signing his nearly 26 million dollar contract has been a long time coming for many disgruntled fans. The collective pulse of Charger Nation seems to be coming down to a level that no longer requires hospitalization. Fans seem eager to move on, and so was I, until I thought a little deeper about what I watched unfold over the last 20 or so days.
We all saw what happened, and we all participated in it. We watched a loving mother trying do what she thought was best for her son. We watched her son allow his parents, and the people they hired to look out for his best interests, do what they believed to be right for him, to get him what was normal and fair. These agents got him millions from a man who has billions. So, for the fans who called him a mama’s boy, a moron, a little boy, and a pussy — to name just a few — I have a message to relay to you.
We all know what Cheryl Bosa said that made fans so mad. Her comments about Eli Manning brought up old wounds for many Charger fans. I understand why you got mad, Charger fans, but where is that anger coming from? Is it because of what she said, or was it because she is a strong, protective woman who started to speak in “man’s world.” Cheryl was there with Joey when he was drafted, as many other moms are for their son’s, to hug them before they go off into their “man’s world,” and we never see the moms again. But then Cheryl showed up again at Chargers Park, okay, no big deal. Then she spoke out on Facebook, in a message thread she thought was private. Then she spoke out again on Twitter. She was getting too close, too close to a world few women are allowed to speak in. Fans lashed out. Joey Bosa became the biggest “mama’s boy” in Chargers history, almost overnight.
Cheryl Bosa isn’t the first woman in history who has gotten too close to a realm controlled and dominated by men, and while I doubt she was trying to make a major social statement in defending her son, this “situation” demonstrates a fatal flaw in our society. What gives us the right to call another human being a mama’s boy, or a pussy? You may say freedom of speech, but it really goes deeper than that. What gives men the right to whistle at woman walking by their construction site? Or to grab or grope a drunk girl at a concert or club as she walks by? What gives men leading the world the right to send other men to war to kill other men over land, religion, ethnicity or race? One word, patriarchy. Our patriarchal legacy of living in a society that is male centered and male dominated controls almost everything we do and fear.
Let’s look at calling someone a pussy; let’s look particularly at men calling other men pussies. So, we are likening another man to female genitalia, essentially. Why are lady parts associated with being weak when they are in fact some of the strongest and most resilient examples of human anatomy, not to mention the means by which human life continues on this planet? It’s because our patriarchal society tells us that women are the weaker sex, and anything they do is thus devalued, including the miracle of childbirth. Thus, their female organs that produce the child are also devalued and assigned a weakened, oppressed status, and then used as an everyday insult by men and some women.
So, what does it mean to be a “mama’s boy?” Moms in today’s society carry a small human inside them for nine months, give birth, are primarily responsible for the child’s care for a majority of its life; all while cooking food, cleaning the house and many other tasks many associate as “women’s work.” Many women work a job on top of all that! Moms are some of the most valuable and strongest people on the planet in every way imaginable; so why is it a bad thing to be a mama’s boy? Because, again, our patriarchal society has devalued most of the things women do. In fact, the only way for most women to get respect in this secular world is to enter the workforce full time. Even when they do, they are often overlooked for promotions, paid far less than men who are less qualified than they are, and their every success is measured against how a man would have achieved it.
So, are you mad yet? Well, I want to make something clear: I am not mad at you, it’s not your fault. It’s not my fault; it’s not your dad’s fault; it’s not your grandfather’s fault; it’s not Joey or Cheryl Bosa’s fault. Patriarchy has been going on for thousands of years. It’s a part of our legacy whether we like it or not. It’s going to continue unless we do something about it. As long as it goes on, we will continue to see war, crime, violence, rape, shootings and the continued pollution of our planet. Patriarchy, and the unearned privilege it bestows on every man, comes at a price. Patriarchy drives a destructive cycle of fear and control. Men fear losing control, and the only way to temporarily alleviate the fear is to gain control over something or someone. Of course, the more a man controls, the more fear he has of losing it, the only way to fix it is to control something else, a vicious cycle. For some desperate men who have lost much, the final act of control is taking a gun and killing, or to take a woman and rape her.
You have to be mad by now. However, the purpose of this article wasn’t to make you mad, because I believe we can make this right. For me, it starts with writing this article. Obviously, this wasn’t easy for me to write, but I believe it’s an important topic to discuss. And from discussion may come an awareness some of us can use this football season in how we interact with one another and the team and players we admire.
Woman have made some incredible advances in the world in the last one hundred years, but it hasn’t been nearly enough. The NFL is one of the few remaining institutions in our society that is exclusively dominated by men. Even the few women who have made it into the media side of the NFL face almost constant criticism, bullying and trolling on social media, mostly from men. I see this bullying or trolling a lot on Twitter in our own Charger community. Women who have strong opinions are often challenged and shamed by men for their football IQ or acumen.
Remember, this isn’t about shame or blame, there’s something bigger than any one person driving this. My only want is that we take a moment and evaluate how we treat other people, men and women. I can only hope one day I will become a pussy and a mama’s boy, because I will have become one of the strongest men on the planet. Go Chargers!