Not long ago, one of my friends joked to me that I think in basketballs.
To my chagrin, I’ve realized that this is likely true. Because the first thing I noticed in relation to the Los Angeles Lakers’ Oct. 8 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves was not in fact the controversy surrounding a certain, uber-popular singer twerking on the sidelines – it was that Lakers star Anthony Davis had scored 50 points.
In my defense, 50 points is a lot.
Lizzo has done it again, igniting an internet-wide screaming match over whether the outfit she wore while sitting courtside at Staples Center – a black dress, covered in front but with a thong and a party in the back – was appropriate for the moment. Some feel it was another bold, boundary-pushing moment for one of the most influential figures in pop culture. Others feel it was an unnecessarily sexual display in front of a wealth of families trying to merely watch a sports game.
I felt like I should probably write about this for a column, because it’s the most-discussed sports-related topic at the moment. And yet, I really just … don’t care?
Certainly, I acknowledge I don’t have much of a hand to stand on whatsoever in this conflict – I’m a white, young man with a thoroughly average body type, no children and all-around am about as far removed from having a voice in this as possible. The only perspective I truly can speak from is as a basketball fan. And as such, I really only care that Anthony Davis scored 50 points. He made 20 out of 29 shots! Pretty cool. (Also, Lizzo twerked on the sidelines and some people got happy while other people got angry.)
Overall, I’m a pretty big fan of Lizzo’s music. I know this is already a popular opinion, but “Truth Hurts” was undoubtedly one of my favorite songs of the year. She’s an incredibly inspiring figure for so many around the world with her displays of body positivity; people who reacted to her dancing at the Lakers game by calling her fat simply have no ground to stand on. If she wore that outfit and danced simply because she felt like it, well then, by all means go for it.
Yet I can’t help feeling like there was a specific statement being made here – and I can’t really understand it. People pointed out that others wouldn’t be criticizing a skinnier woman if she’d done the same thing; this certainly holds weight, especially considering the sexualization of cheerleaders at sporting events, which is obviously normalized sexism. But isn’t Lizzo sexualizing herself, too? So is it not sexist anymore if less skinny cheerleaders were hired by professional sports teams to twerk? I’m very confused. Are sexualization and empowerment synonymous? Or only in specific contexts?
Oh, dear, I’ve taken this much too far. Please cancel-culture, bestow mercy on me. I’ll just dig my own grave now. Or just talk about the game itself.
Um, Anthony Davis scored 50 points! In a basketball game! He made a lot of very skillful layups, with some acrobatic post-moves. Sick. I suppose I’ll just stick to the sports that are all my dumb, male viewpoint can truly speak on.