It’s Not Your Gender.

It’s Your Attitude!

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“Assertiveness is a social skill that relies heavily on effective communication,

while simultaneously respecting the thoughts and wishes of others”.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/assertiveness

I’m writing this piece days after the recent Bad Bunny controversy.

In case you didn’t hear what happened:

A few days ago, this celebrity was in the headlines because he threw away a fan’s mobile phone. He posted on Twitter (and later deleted) an excuse that the girl invaded his space, and put the mobile in his face.

Basically, he said that only approaching him in a way that he likes is how he will be nice.

That led to either a wave of backlash and surprisingly, support from certain people: mainly his fanbase.

I don’t know if the younger generations see this behavior as something normal, but people blaming the fan for bothering him left me amused.

I’m the kind of person that hates artists that are rude and mean with the fans. And I can’t find any way to justify this level of aggression.

I was even more surprised to read in social media: many women thought that this guy was in his right mind to do what he did.

Where’s that supposed solidarity among women?

I’m nobody to judge, but I kind of feel sorry for the fan.

The media is reporting that she is depressed and refuses to leave her room after what happened. 

What I observed about the whole thing is that sense of, if you’ll allow me the word:

Entitlement.”

The idea that this guy is thinking, “I’m the famous one here, and you just have to deal with it,” attitude.

Which means that he wants all the good things about fame and fortune, without dealing with the bad part? Never mind, it doesn’t give him the right to be an a-hole.

There are many other ways he could’ve handled the situation better, but since he has reacted like this before, evidently we could think that the guy has unsolved issues about anger management.

On the other hand, before the above mentioned scandal, in the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about what some women do in the name of the so-called “empowerment.”

In my country, there’s a female sports journalist named Marion Reimers.

In the few last years, she has gained relevance for being one of the few women who can give well informed and prepared opinions about sports.

But she is also known for her lack of tolerance to criticism, blocking people on Twitter, and her rude manners towards her coworkers.

In 2021 she left the network in which she was working. She went to start a new job at TNT Latin America, as the main anchorwoman for the games of the UEFA Champions League. It’s a football (soccer) competition that has lots of fans in this region.

Tournament fans didn’t like much this, because in her previous network she used to narrate female soccer games, and her style wasn’t for everybody’s tastes.

Last November, Marion received backlash in social media after a heated discussion with one of her male cohosts.

In a broadcast after a Champions League game, she asked him why didn’t he “just go away” after he told her: “don’t try to create cheap controversy”.

To give you some context about the latter statement: In recent years the Latin American versions of Fox Sports and ESPN sports shows have certain male presenters or reporters behave as an antagonist to the audiences. They are controversial, loud, antipathetic – and basically morphing themselves into characters.

All of this in order to boost ratings of their respective shows.

After that discussion on live TV (or in this case, also streaming) most people reacted negatively. They in essence said: that if a man had done something like this to a woman, the guy would have been fired immediately. Others attacked TNT Sports for supporting her behavior.

About a month later, an article posted in the Mexican edition of the prestigious Spanish newspaper El País stated that there was a case of digital violence against Marion.

The attack was made of bots and trolls created specifically to assault her, and the campaign could cost almost one million Mexican pesos (about US$50,000 dollars).

People on Twitter who reacted to this information said lots of things. For example:

“Who would paid to attack her, if we can hate her for free?”

“We don’t like her because simply she’s not good in what she does.”

“Stop using misogyny as an excuse.”

As if this wasn’t enough, during the last FIFA World Cup, Televisa Networks asked former players and coaches to analyze the matches.

Midway through the tournament, the producers had the idea to invite singer Paty Cantú, who in those days gave sports opinions in her Twitter account.

For whatever reason, the audience liked this move, with many people finding her more charismatic than Marion.

Some said that Paty should be an sports anchor (that didn’t necessarily mean that this singer is informed or has enough knowledge to be in that profession, after all it was just an experiment to increase ratings).

Both of these scandals have something in common: Neither of the persons involved – Bad Bunny or Marion Reimers – apologized for their actions.

Unlike them, football player Cristiano Ronaldo had an outburst last year against a disabled young boy, breaking his mobile phone.

After a backlash, he ended up apologizing to the boy…

..Probably pressed by the sponsors.

But at least he did something.

Many years ago, I read an article at the Entertainment Weekly site about actor Katherine Heigl. I don’t remember the content anymore, but I do remember an opinion that I read in the comment section, and it said something like this:

“Being assertive it’s not the same as being corrosive”

I never forgot that.

If we as a society are not able to realize that our actions have consequences and should face them, we have a problem.

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Edith G

Single Hispanic female. I wish I’ve been a storyteller, but it is what it is.

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Phylum of Alexandria
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January 12, 2023 10:34 am

In this day and age, we have no shortage of celebrities who behave awfully. I think most people would agree that Bad Bunny could have dealt with situation in a more gracious manner. Certainly I think so.

But I understand his frustration too. I think the selfie fan was disrespecting him, though that doesn’t give him permission to do the same. Fighting ugly with ugly just makes the world look gross.

In my lifetime, I have only gone to 3 signing events to get autographs from someone, and only 2 were musicians.

My first was David Byrne, one of my heroes. Not long before the event, my boss at Tower Records gave me a few items that came from Luaka Bop records, including a pencil that said “From Behind the Ear of David Byrne.”

Being Mr. Clever, when I approached David at the signing, I handed him the pencil and said something like “your product is falsely advertised. Could you fix it?” He looked bewildered, but then read the pencil and got the joke. He amiably put it behind his ear, and I took a photo (still have it somewhere).
Then, stepping away, I remember that I didn’t get an autograph! I handed my CD to him, and asked for one. And then he looked visibly annoyed. I thanked him and left, feeling a little guilty for my indulgence.

The second time was less remarkable, but kind of similar. I walked up to Elvis Costello at a Tower signing, and asked him if he could make it out to [Phylum of Alexandria]”

And he politely but blankly smiled, scribbled some illegible nonsense, and said “For You.” And gave a look that said: “Next.” And that was that. Once again, I came away disappointed,

But, I have come to understand how soul-crushing such events must be for musicians, especially on the back of everything else they have to do.

Each fan wants the encounter to be a special moment for them, but for the artist, it’s just a wiggle of the wrist or one more pose to get them closer to the next cigarette break.

I hate to say it, but’s a little like prostitution. The artist agrees to give themselves in some specific way to paying fans, but it doesn’t mean that their heart is in it. It doesn’t mean that fans should tread upon their personal space or their dignity.

Mega-stars like Kanye think they are gods and behave like monsters. And Bad Bunny shouldn’t have been so nasty to this fan. But the fan was acting entitled too, as I think a lot of fans do without even realizing. They want their special moment, at the expense of the person they admire.

I have since stopped bothering to have a special moment with artists I admire, and instead am happy to connect with their art.

cuzittt
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January 14, 2023 1:28 pm

I’ve only once decided to go through a meet and greet with artists, after the first or second time I saw Tran-Siberian Orchestra. And… yeah, it was kind of cool to have a moment or two with these musicians that I really liked (these were musicians that I had followed for years from the metal scene)… but, they just don’t have the actual time to have any type of real interaction in that type of setting.

Many years later, I was on the first 70000 Tons of Metal cruise… so, I was surrounded by these musicians. I was literally eating breakfast a table or two away from these musicians. And, honestly, I had no compunction to go up to any of them. We were both on this boat for our own reasons… and I was happy enough to hear the music without having to interact directly with them.

(I have had plenty of celebrity encounters in my current job… but, alas, I shall not divulge them at this time.)

I think it is best to remember that celebrities do give up a lot of their privacy because they are celebrities. They shouldn’t have to give up all of it. So, yes, Bad Bunny was wrong in how he reacted… but the fan was also in the wrong for how they approached the situation.

Virgindog
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January 12, 2023 10:55 am

I never really bought the idea that “all publicity is good publicity” but some folks, and entertainment companies, behave that way. Anything that gets people talking is fair game. Whether it’s movie stars dating each other or outrageous political statements, it sells tabloids, TV ads, and whatever personality you’re selling. It’s nonsense, of course.

We all know Tom Hanks as one of the nicest people in show business. That reputation is a lot harder to create and maintain. We should stop rewarding celebrities, whether they’re sportscasters or former presidents, for doing it the easy way.

Pauly Steyreen
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January 12, 2023 10:55 am

Reminds me of when King Juan Carlos I of Spain blurted at Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, “Por qué no te callas?” (Why don’t you shut up?) at the 2007 Ibero-American Summit.

Maybe a lot of people were thinking the same thing (Chavez was spouting his usual BS), but the King came off as super arrogant and entitled with that comment, and it led to a significant backlash against him.

mt58
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January 12, 2023 11:30 am

If I had a dollar for every celebrity that I have met: I’d have zero dollars.

I’ve never met anyone famous. I can’t recall even seeing someone famous in a crowd. It’s just never happened.

But I’ve rehearsed. In one of my recurring daydreams, I run into a pop star or TV actor, or the like. And I make it my mission to converse with them about anything other than what they are publicly known for. I figure that it would be a change of pace for them, and maybe I’ll learn something interesting.

Still waiting. If and when this should somehow become a reality, I’ll get back to you all with a full report.

lovethisconcept
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January 12, 2023 11:36 am
Reply to  mt58

I have met exactly one celebrity, Garth Brooks. I have written about this in other places, but he was charming. He was the celebrity focus of an event to promote reading in young children. Not a sign of ego, only concern for the issue at hand.

Virgindog
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January 12, 2023 11:57 am
Reply to  mt58

I’ve met a few since moving to Nashville and they’re generally very nice. You know, just like most people. I’ve seen two behave badly, one here and one in Vermont of all places, but I’ll let them be anonymous.

One of my favorite brushes with greatness was watching the lovely Ms. Virgindog swoon when we were introduced to Bill Medley.

Phylum of Alexandria
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January 12, 2023 12:24 pm
Reply to  mt58

I don’t have any very impressive celebrity encounters. Only some moderately neat ones.

I saw Lou Reed and David Bowie in the audience at an Antony & the Johnsons concert.

I saw Amy Winehouse at a restaurant in Philly a few hours before seeing her perform.

A female comedian I won’t name tried to chat me up on the train. I showed her my wedding ring, but also told her my favorite joke. It was awkward.

For my third signing, I told Daniel Clowes on a whim to make out the autograph to “Shunpei Tsukamoto.” He looked up and was like “Were your parents hippies or something?”

My Japanese friends and I met Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest after a surprise reunion show, and he spoke some Japanese too. Very nice guy.

I did volunteer work for…Rick Santorum, and shook his hand  😬 . Sorry, that one’s not so neat. But I was a kid!

Last edited 15 days ago by Phylum of Alexandria
Pauly Steyreen
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Pauly Steyreen
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January 12, 2023 12:35 pm

The word “santorum”… yeah! Anytime dude thinks about getting back into politics, he’s got a “Google problem.”

If you don’t know the backstory, look it up. Dan Savage gets all the credit for putting Mr. Man-on-Dog in his place.

Phylum of Alexandria
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January 12, 2023 12:45 pm
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

Oh, I know. After I grew up, I feel like I got some santorum on my hand after that shake. Morally speaking, of course.

LinkCrawford
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January 17, 2023 10:39 am
Reply to  mt58

But you did talk on the phone to Casey Kasem. I envy you for that!

mt58
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January 17, 2023 12:00 pm
Reply to  LinkCrawford

It was a big moment for me.

A big hug to you for remembering that old tnocs story, and allowing it to count as a celebrity meeting.

JJ Live At Leeds
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January 12, 2023 2:48 pm

Based on the subjects of last Friday and this Monday’s number 1s over at the mothership it shows that there are plenty of people willing to overlook or even revel in the bad behaviour of someone just because they happen to have a modicum of talent.

OK so maybe Kanye / Ye / Yeezus / Whatever Dude, is proving that there are limits to that for most people by taking things to whole new levels of obnoxiousness. The continued popularity of Chris Brown and his fans willingness to forgive or to just dismiss any negative aspects of his character is baffling. One of those instances where distance makes it easy to dismiss any criticism, not having any emotional attachment to the victim. Were someone to treat a loved one like that I’m sure they wouldn’t find it so easy to forgive and forget.

cappiethedog
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January 12, 2023 8:18 pm

If there is such a thing as a golden era of ESPN, when I used to watch Sportscenter daily, it was when they had these guys(and a girl) were on their roster: Charlie Steiner, Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, Linda Cohn, Craig Kilborn, and, I’m being a homer, here(Larry Beil). Bob Ley was their investigative reporter. ESPN is now in the business of covering scandals up.

And then came the op/ed shows. I won’t specify who I loathe; I’ll just emphasize the genre’s one bright spot. Dan Le Batard.

A lot of males rail against all the female personalities that have “infiltrated” a previously all-male domain. Doris Burke, on basketball, is hard to criticize, but people who blog, will always find something to nitpick about.

dutchg8r
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January 14, 2023 12:30 am
Reply to  cappiethedog

That was my Sportscenter prime years as well with that lineup, cappie! I’d watch Sportscenter at night, then go over to Letterman virtually every night in college.

I have a messed up perspective on female sports reporters unfortunately. When I was a kid, I would have this attitude that female sportscasters were a joke, because I could tell how they didn’t appreciate the sports they were covering and it gave those of us females who did love sports a bad image. As I got older I came to realize it wasn’t their fault, they just wanted a news job and some old dude in programming thought she could pull in viewers as eye candy and stuck her covering sports. Like having the hard nosed investigative reporter do weather – they have zero connection to it. And that annoyed me to no end.

Then I started watching Robin Roberts on ESPN, and was like, finally – she’s totally legit!! She restored my faith that a woman covering sports could truly love her job – like I would. And it’s nice to see nowadays there’s more women covering sports that I don’t cringe at seeing, and totally get the vibe how they love their job. They aren’t trying, they’re just talking. Like, every time I flip past NFL Network, it seems like it’s some young girl trying too hard to hang with the guys. I really hate that kind of fakeness.

So rather than what people would usually think of it being some stupid misogynistic view that women can’t do that job of being a sportscaster, it’s really me having a stupid selfish outlook that I don’t want them reflecting badly on me. Does that make sense?

As for Senor Bad Bunny, I don’t doubt for a second he’s to the point in his career that he doesn’t care how his actions come across to others. These people don’t matter to him, they’re just faceless entities that become pests to swat at sometimes. While on the other hand, fans in this social media age think everyone is their bestie, and think nothing about invading people’s personal spaces. Both parties I think were pretty rude in their own way in the selfie situation. But that’s part of the price of fame and selling your soul to the world, right?!

cappiethedog
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January 14, 2023 4:07 am
Reply to  dutchg8r

I was alive and cognizant when Phyllis George broke the barrier, but I can’t form an opinion of her. I grew up in a one-room house. My dad liked football. It was background noise. His favorite team was the 49ers. My uncle, auntie and cousins came to my house when San Francisco faced the Bengals. I’m an only child. I could:

1) Watch the game with my dad and uncle,

OR

2) Go see Taps in Waikiki.

I chose option #2.

Given a choice between art and sports, I always choose the former.

In 2002, my alma mater had a great team. Lost to Xavier in the first round. I always go to senior night. It was the last time I’d see Predrag Savovic. He played briefly for the Phoenix Suns. But Laurie Anderson was in town. I mistakenly thought she’d be playing her “hits”. “O Superman”. “Sharky’s Day”. Instead, she told stories. My favorite one was about her going undercover as a McDonald’s worker in Manhattan.

I stopped watching Colin Cowherd when he didn’t defend his assistant Kristine Leahy from a very rude guest. Made her cry.

cappiethedog
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January 17, 2023 3:44 am
Reply to  dutchg8r

Craig Kilborn once made a Kate Bush reference in regard to a Grant Hill dunk. “Grant he’s running up that hill for a two-handed flush.”

Something like that.

LinkCrawford
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January 17, 2023 10:46 am

I mean, his name isn’t “Polite Bunny”.

I’m with you, Edith. Being nice wins a lot of points with me. In fact, the creator of this fine webpage inspires me with his nice-ness. It’s good to have examples of being nice around us.

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