I never understood fantasy sports leagues. I barely understand real ones. I could simply YouTube a tutorial on the latter. As for the former, all I would need to do is travel a short distance to Piedmont High School, forego the internets, and receive live tutelage on how to keep score by maneuvering imaginary balls into holes or between poles.
On October 19, 2012 parents of Piedmont High School (Piedmont, CA) were notified of a fantasy sports league organized by students of the campus. Contrary to its name, there are very few things fantastical about this league. Particularly the balls.
Piedmont’s fantasy sports league is reported to have been a competitive game of sexual prowess. For each documented act of sexual activity with a female peer, one accrues points. The girls who were drafted reported having no knowledge of what was going on.
The hasty response of administration and the current quest to identify those involved, is an indicator of how intolerable and seemingly out of character this behavior is amongst the students of Piedmont High School. I applaud the administration for their claims to interrupt the league and lay it to rest.
However, I am inclined to align this mishap in middle-class culture with popular culture in general and mainstream rap music in particular. Though the fantasy sex league has received national attention resulting in condemnation at the local level, most mainstream rap artists–who have an international listenership and similar fantasies–are consistently featured in the press and honored by media conglomerates in exchange for broadcasting the number of women they’ve slept with, without consideration as to whether the interactions were consensual.
The utility of women in mainstream rap has been deduced to sexual objectification since the 1990’s. Similar to the Piedmont fantasy sex league, rap–an element of African American culture–has been nationally chastised and condemned due to its profane lyricism and overt misrepresentation of African American women. Irrespective of critique, response from the general public administration does not mirror that of Piedmont’s. They have been lethargic (and in some cases absent) in attempts to interrupt and prohibit such content from being regurgitated and mimicked by students of all grade levels. If Black popular culture and working class communities were held to similar standards in which lewd behavior was perceived as out of character, then perhaps the response to it would mirror that of their wealthier counterparts.
In light of the contrasting responses to behavior performed by both working and middle class Americans, Piedmont’s fantasy sex league poses a question greater than: which Piedmont students were involved? There is a larger question at hand; a question that demands we reassess cultural perception as well as cultural bias because ultimately, we are all impacted by this behavior.
While young men of various socio-economic backgrounds keep a running tally of their sexual partners, I suggest we increase efforts to score ourselves on how decent a job we are doing to support the dissemination of media that suggests they do otherwise.