Rooney, Baby

Posted: September 10, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Wayne Rooney has had reason to cry like a baby recently. I don’t want to regurgitate the stories that have been churning out of the media machine. We know they have been drawing on that age-old presentation of women as either the pure, procreating Madonna or as no-good low-down whores.

But I am interested to note that, in reactions to the media representation of this ‘story’,  whilst there has been plenty of outrage at this admittedly stereotyped, reductive and moralistic version of women’s sexualities, there has been very little comment on how the media has dealt with Rooney himself, with footballers who get caught with their trousers down, and with mens’ sexuality  in general.

Is the message that the men in these stories are not being judged in the same, negative terms as the women? Is the media treating Rooney and other footballers as  just doing what men do? Or does he deserve any vilification he gets, because after all he is a lying, cheating, adulterer? Is it implied that women don’t have affairs? That it is men who are unable to do anything but follow their cocks with no restraint?

Rooney was only seventeen when he started playing adult League football professionally. He had been on the Everton Youth team since he was ten.  He met Coleen at school and they have been together ever since.  Heterosexual monogamy is quite difficult for anyone to achieve, so for a young professional footballer, with access to so much disposable income, so much testosterone, so many nightclubs, so many ‘temptations’, I am not surprised he has had sexual experiences outside his marriage. If I was Coleen, I might have been tempted to experiment a little myself rather than only ever enjoying coital relations with babyface FOR MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE.

In my view, the implicit message of both the media presentation of this story, and its critiques, has been that ‘men cheat on their wives’ and this is a ‘bad thing’ but by its very commonplace and immoral nature, something not really worth questioning or trying to understand.

I think if we are going to find a villain of this piece, it is not Babyface at all. It is not even the myth of the man as adulterer and the woman as victim of adultery, or the madonna/whore dichotomy,  though both are very tiresome. The Big Bad Wolf in this story for me, is Normative Heterosexual Monogamy and the ridiculous, gendered, impossible expectations it places on us all.

Comments
  1. Kimboosan says:

    Yes to all of this; I have no clue about the situation with Rooney (you will be SHOCKED to discover that coverage of this issue is non-existent in the States…) but we went through this EXACT same scenario with Tiger Woods. It was and is very frustrating because it was all about Normative Heterosexual Monogamy, without ever once actually questioning it. Bah.

    • I know. I got cross with people who bothered taking on the story and criticising how it presented women, then ignoring how it presented relationships, men, heterosexuality in general. If you are going to bother to mention these crap tabloid pieces, at least make it worthwhile!

  2. marc nash says:

    I really don’t care what any professional sportsperson does away from the stadium. They clearly have a lot of energy & adrenaline coursing around their bloodstreams after matches, they receive the plaudits of thousands of fans, they can discharge all this how they want. I think the only problem is when such off the field behaviour affects their performance on the pitch and fingers were pointed retrospectively at Rooney for his lamentable showing in the World Cup. However, it’s not clearcut as he was also returning from an injury which could have been the reason he was crap.

    But the situation has moved on for the male footballer because of the money he is paid. The cultural perception is that they are so rich and so removed from their working class roots, that they are completely out of touch with the rest of us mere mortals (which is where jealousy & an alacrity to see these titans fall flat on their faces arises). The perception is that they can buy anything, nothing is out of their reach, yet their 21 year old under-educated minds have no appreciation of the value of anything or that people cannot be bought.

    I don’t think this has all that much to do with men following their cocks, which after all hasn’t particularly changed over the decades, but about commodification and depersonalisation that money brings and the perception of role models & heroes which have become blurred. They are not, nor should they be role models, yet lionised for what they do on the pitch they de facto are heroes. When Eric Cantona did his kung-fu kick on a fan in the stands, the debate was whether to make an example of him by throwing the book at him more than if he were some nobody. Why there should be 1 law for a footballer and another for the rest of us is beyond me. Because these superstars are so removed from us by money & status, the public seems keen to have a piece of them when they are shown to be fallible. It seems to provide us with comfort that they’ve got all this money, yet still clearly they aren’t happy or fulfilled.

    We get the Press we deserve. This unending diet of WAGs and unfaithful footballers seems to be what we crave or the papers wouldn’t print it endlessly would they?

  3. I dont know if we deserve it or not, Marc. But I think we deserve better than to be told that the monogamous heterosexual couple is THE way to do relationships, and that if it goes wrong, it is the fault of the morals and weakness of *normally the man in that couple.

    I’m just using Rooney as an example. But yes we probably do enjoy seeing the lad become successful only to fall flat on his face. That is quite a British tradition!

  4. marc nash says:

    when I see we get the Press (& by extension their value system) we deserve, I mean if we don’t challenge their editorial line, if we continue to lap it up & buy them & provide the nectar their advertisers crave which is circulation figures, then they have no incentive to change. As with everything, the market debases & commodified everything and I mean everything.

  5. MonMouth says:

    Your point is good, QRG. Perhaps we can stretch it a bit further: The monogamy-delusion is the fuel that feeds the story. Without it, and the suspense of “What Will Coleen Do?” the slow drip-drip of “new revelations”, with the titillating appearance of one former companion after another cropping up in the tabloids simply wouldn’t have the voyeuristic value they seem to possess.

    • You are right, Mr Monmouth.

      The Monogamy Delusion has formed the basis of classic narratives since ‘Monogamy’ began. And I have found with my own friends, and myself to an extent, that people de-stabilise their own monogamous situations, in order to create some much needed drama in what would otherwise be quite boring relationships!

      This means that in some contexts, breaking the rules of monogamy is not just done for sexual motivations, but also social and psychological ones. Games People Play.

  6. Mark says:

    I recall reading some research that claimed to show that women are more likely to ‘cheat’ than men, but less likely to be found out. In other words, if the research is to be believed, women are better at being ‘love-rats’ than men. Though of course in tabloid-speak, ‘love rats’ are almost always male.

    Personally, I’m all in favour of monogamy. It’s the only thing that makes casual sex worthwhile.

    • You’re terrible, Muriel.

      Well, monogamy makes casual sex possible. without ‘monogamy’ and its transgressors, we’d all have to have open, adult, honest ‘relationships’. and that would be hard work wouldn’t it?

      as for that research about women ‘love ratesses’… I couldn’t possibly comment.

  7. This_Putrid_Modern_Hell says:

    Or alternatively, the proposed dismantlement of ‘normative hetrosexual monogomy’ is founded on the gluttonous, self-obsessed morality of modern consumerism – that excess of luxory and amplified desire have placed the self firmly before the other; that consumer culture doesn’t understand the suffering of others where that suffering inteferes with their own fulfillment; a death of mutual need which appears to me fundamental to the principle of loving relationships.

    It’s all Patrick Bateman from where I’m sitting.

  8. This_Putrid_Modern_Hell says:

    “The Monogamy Delusion has formed the basis of classic narratives since ‘Monogamy’ began. And I have found with my own friends, and myself to an extent, that people de-stabilise their own monogamous situations, in order to create some much needed drama in what would otherwise be quite boring relationships!

    This means that in some contexts, breaking the rules of monogamy is not just done for sexual motivations, but also social and psychological ones. Games People Play.”

    Seems ‘relationships’ are fast coming to resemble the soap operas they so desperately want to be; this is all we seem to be abserving here. The death of relationships inside of something else – ‘the dramatic narrative’. This isn’t an example of fundamental human truth or any underlying dellusion, it’s just that the world is full up to bursting with really shit writers and generally hopeless myths. ‘The conflict myth’ replaces ‘the fidelity myth’; ‘the sexual extravogance myth’ replaces the ‘sexual discipline’ myth.

  9. Mark says:

    Yes, everything is Patrick Bateman now. With a bit of HD/3D blood-drinking thrown in.

    I’m not convinced by your protestations of innocence, QRG. You sound like me.

  10. well I know I sound like you. And that is definitely your fault.

  11. This_Putrid_Modern_Hell says:

    “Yes, everything is Patrick Bateman now. With a bit of HD/3D blood-drinking thrown in.”

    Without the casual ultra-violent murder of course.

  12. are you just a Bateman bot?

    • The_Bateman_Bot says:

      It would have have been a very eloquent and responsive bot if I were, though I may change my name to that for the sake of amusement.

  13. haha welcome, Mr Bateman. Play nice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s