Sexism In Paintball (And How It Is Killing Us)

Before I begin I want to warn the audience that the contents of this blog post will almost certainly offend a number of you and that we may have different viewpoints on this matter. I am open to discussion on said viewpoints. Just post in the comments section to begin the debate. Thank you.

 

 

To start this tirade, let me explain what caused good ol’ Ishmael to get so worked up about something other than football.

I am sure that those of you with YouTube/Google+ accounts follow Social Paintball and the videos that they shoot to promote the sport. I myself am a fan of Social’s work and enjoy reading the news articles on their homepage pertaining to our pastime, as well as enjoying the coverage that they provide for many of paintball’s biggest events.

However a video uploaded yesterday through their YouTube channel, which contained footage of nude women “performing” in front of a large crowd of paintballers, has made me take to writing in protest. Mostly because small children could be seen among the viewers. This only made up about 5% of the video, yet it was enough to cause feelings of discomfort and disappointment. (I am not posting the link. If you want to see it, look it up yourselves.)

After watching the video for the first time (and only time), I scrolled down to the comments in hopes of seeing posts of condemnation.

I should have known better.

(WARNING: Explicit Content)

Screenshot (7)

I want to lay this out loud and clear: I strongly believe that activities such as this is not how paintball should be promoted. If we ever want to grow to higher levels than what we currently are at now, promoting women as sex objects is not the way to do it. Especially in front of kids. (In case you haven’t noticed, that’s the part of it all that really grinds my gears.)

It really is sad that comments such as the ones displayed above are the norm for any paintball video in which women are shown half naked dancing in front of a mixed crowd of pre-pubescent teenagers and dirty old men (Looking at you HK Army). It is even sadder when kids rush to the comments to talk about the boobs and bash all that dare oppose their testosterone fueled mindset. Even if it is just trolling, it’s unnecessary, it’s inappropriate, and does nothing but hurt us in the eyes of the outside world.

If a mother who was considering taking her kids out to a play paintball for the first time saw this video while doing research on the sport, do you really think she would want her child to be involved in something where acts such as that are not only welcomed, but promoted? Boom, we just lost a potential advocate of the sport. More will be lost as well, especially when that mother starts telling her friends and family how horrid paintball is and how it promotes sexist behavior. (Just wait until the Feminist groups get involved…)

Hell, imagine if a young girl wants to go out and play paintball. Imagine what she would feel like when she discovers that no matter how good she is on the field, men will only look at her as “something”, not “someone”. What if that girl was your daughter or sister? How would you feel knowing that she wasn’t looked at as an equal in the eyes of her paintball peers? What if she one day decided to strip naked atop a car and pour water over herself like in the video? How would you feel about it then?

Now I understand that these individuals are not forced into doing these things. It’s their choice, and I respect that. After all, life is all about making your own choices. But we don’t have to promote it the way that we do. HK Army doesn’t have to show footage of the Living Legends Bikini contest, just as Social shouldn’t show naked women washing cars for the Veckring Big Game. Let those in attendance bear witness to what should be an adult only activity rather than blast it all over the internet for the world to see.

I am writing this in hopes that if I ever do have a daughter and she wants to be recognized in the paintball community, she can keep her clothes on to do so.

 

~Ish

 

11 thoughts on “Sexism In Paintball (And How It Is Killing Us)

  1. Such sexism, as you label it, is not killing football, soccer, science fiction conventions, hockey, basketball, business conventions, baseball nor the lingerie football league.

    All are doing very well with hundreds or thousands of events each year for each and millions or billions of dollars in their related industries. There is also no shortage of those interested in participating in each, many at the encouragement from their parents at a very young age.

    It is also not killing the sport of paintball.

    1. Victor, the reason that it is not damaging the sports/hobbies that you mentioned in your post is because each and every one of them (save for lingerie football…seriously this is a thing??) have already garnered a successful following and are well known outside of their community. They can afford to get away with such actions because said activities are common knowledge and need no promotion. Paintball on the other hand is only truly understood by those who participate in it on a regular basis. Most people who think of paintball know only the recreational side of the sport, when there is so much more to it. We are still trying to assert ourselves as a legitimate sport. To do so, the community (us) have to show the outside world what we are truly about. Not strippers and wet t-shirt contests, but going out with our buds and laying it all out on the field.

      ~Ish

      1. Ish, you took the words right off my keyboard. Paintball is still a very young sport. None of the well known sports started out with half naked and/or naked women parading around at events. Even now whats the most scantly clad women you see in the sports entertainment world, cheerleaders? And they are even plenty more decent than what is showing up in paintball.

    2. Other sports with similar levels of “sexism” include motorsports (seriously the grid girls wear bikinis and just hold umbrellas over the drivers), snowboarding (where they snowboard in bikinis or less).

      With regard to the eleven year old… I don’t see his parent rushing over to cover his eyes. European sensibilities about nudity aren’t exactly the same as American ones afterall.

      It’s not going to kill a sport and furthermore if a mother gets turned off a sport just because there’s a topless woman in a video from a large event in France I’m not sure she would’ve been a good advocate for the sport in the first place.

  2. I think you are absolutely right! I have an 11 year old son and I would never take him to an event like that. My wife also plays paintball and she does not like this kind of thing either. I hear people talking on the internet about how paintball is a Family activity so I think the big names in paintball should try to make it so.

    1. Agreed 100%. Big games are some of the biggest gateways for people who have never tried paintball. Their first impression is going to determine whether or not they want to continue participating or drop it all together.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree. We as participants should do everything in our power to promote the sport in an un-biased, fair, and safe manner. Unfortunately paintball’s biggest demographic is young males, and companies are going to exploit this because sex sells. We are not likely to change their methods as their interests are purely financial. Instead the change should be at the individual level. Both of my sisters have played and were subject to comments and viewed unequally because they’re girls. The only thing that stopped such behavior was getting shot out by a girl. Thanks for the article, it brings up an issue that I have found increasingly prevalent in the sport.

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