Totally Not Sexist

I watch a lot of Cubs games. That means I've seen lots of people sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley during the seventh inning stretch. Most of them are celebrities, some minor and local, some genuine stars. Off the top of my head, I saw Bonnie Hunt, Vince Vaughn, Jeremy Piven, Mike Ditka, Tony Romo, and Bill Murray last season. There are way more men than women.

Some are better than others. Some are really, really good, and some really, really suck—but that's part of the fun of it. You laugh when you're surprised by someone being really good, and you laugh when you're surprised by someone being really bad.

Unless it's a woman being really bad.

Then, there will be eight gazillion stories about how you "screeched" your way through and sounded like "a cat in a blender" and may "cause ears to bleed." And naturally you will be compared to Roseanne Barr, who famously sung the National Anthem badly, because no one else, and certainly no man, has sung either song badly in the intervening nineteen years.

But it has nothing to do with sexism.

Nope. It's just coincidence that another bad female performance would be invoked as a comparison, even though, say, Jeff Gordon's 2005 performance would be a more appropriate comparison, given that it's the same song in the same location and, ya know, recent. (Of course, invoking that comparison would underline how not bad Richards' performance actually was in the pantheon of bad performances. Gordon didn't even get the name of the ballpark right.)

And it's just coincidence that the words used to describe Richards' performance tend to be used almost exclusively to describe bad female performances—screeching, shrieking, caterwauling, causes ears to bleed, sounds like a dying cat.

And it's just coincidence that many of the stories contained caveats that at least Richards looked "hot" in the baseball jersey and the cameramen fought over who would get to stand in the booth with her.

And it's just coincidence that everywhere this video is posted, the comments (and frequently the commentary itself) are rife with misogynist slurs about what a dumb bitch Richards is. She's also a moronic slut, a stupid whore, a no-talent cunt… You get the idea.

Now, Richards is being asked to justify why she was there singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" when she can't sing, even though being a good singer has never been a prerequisite for being invited (nor a guarantee you'll sing it well, isn't that right, Eddie Vedder?). Richards explains:
The E! reality star knows she cannot carry a tune, but… Richards was in the Windy City for a fundraiser for the Kidney Cancer Association (her mom died of the disease about a year ago). While she was there, Richards asked Cubs management if the group could set up an informational booth at Wrigley Field during Friday's game.

"In return, they said, 'Will you sing'?" Richards explains to me. "So I said yes, because it's for a good cause and we want to raise awareness about kidney cancer."

Unfortunately, the cancer message got lost along the way, because as soon as video of Richards' performance hit the Internet, the trashing began.

"I'm clearly not a singer," she says. "I wasn't doing it to show off my pipes. Thank God I wasn't singing the national anthem. But I thought it would be fun...I had no idea the backlash I would get."

As for her critics, Richards said they need not worry about her ever singing in public again.

"It took everything in me to get up there and do that," says Richards. "My dad and my sister kept saying, 'Just remember you're doing this for Mom,' so that's how I got through it. It's just unfortunate that doing something good was turned into such a negative."
It sure the fuck is.

But that's the price of entry for doing anything while being a Breasted One. To succeed you've got to be twice as good, and to fail, you need only be half as bad.

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