Many of you don’t get the paper so have missed a few of the recent letters to the editor about what Ah Mow-Santos wears to coach in the arena and what the letter writers thing she should be wearing.
My response has been: She’s on the court and participates in warmups. She’s not going to wear a skirt and high heels.
Ah Mow-Santos had a response on Facebook that included the comment that “I am in compliance with my contract which says I have to be in UNDER ARMOUR GEAR.
so here is Cataluna’s column
Female coach is on a court, not a catwalk, so deal with it
By Lee Cataluna
September 27, 2017
Head coach Robyn Ah Mow-Santos
She is an Olympic medalist.
She is a working mom with three young kids.
She has held down the home base for a military husband who served in Iraq.
She has the guts, and the credentials, to take over for the winningest coach in the school’s history.
It’s nobody’s business what Robyn Ah Mow Santos wears to do her job.
There have been low-level grumblings from low-level grumblers about how Ah Mow Santos should spiff it up a bit for televised games.
“I feel the dress code for Ah Mow-Santos and her staff should be a little more Hawaiian or more dressy in nature than dressing like it’s another practice session,” one self-described Wahine fan wrote to the newspaper.
Another supposed fan found Ah Mow-Santos’ appearance “disrespectful.”
“Hawaii is the land of elegant informality. It should be easy for Ah Mow-Santos to represent herself with a little class. For her own sake,” he wrote.
For her own sake. Wow.
Those kinds of statements are examples of objectification, reduction to appearance, the treatment of a person primarily in terms of how they look.
It’s like her coaching abilities are secondary to appearance, and that her professional responsibilities include looking a certain way to please a certain segment of the audience interested in the aesthetics of athletics.
And what exactly has she been wearing that is allegedly disrespectful and lacking class? Gym wear. In a gym. Because she’s the coach. Horrors. And guess what her T-shirt says? “Hawaii Volleyball.” OMG.
What if a man tried to wear athletic wear to coach a sport? Yup, these same people probably would have nothing to say about it, even if his T-shirt was stained and his pants were ill-fitting.
That being said, if Ah Mow-Santos wanted to wear a pencil skirt and heels to the gym, that’s her prerogative, too.
It is especially infuriating that superficial judgments about a professional woman’s appearance somehow hold enough weight to be discussed publicly. These are backward comments that people should be ashamed to speak out loud. They should be shut down with an annoyed, “Really, man? What is wrong with you? Not cool.” Maybe we can hope for a time when “helpful wardrobe hints” for a female coach never even cross a spectator’s mind. Patsy Mink fought hard for Title IX and female students’ right to equal participation in athletic programs. When those female students grow up to be head coaches, they are entitled to the same equality and respect.
Following Dave Shoji as coach of the Wahine makes Robyn Ah Mow-Santos pretty much the bravest wahine ever, but even so, no woman has to earn the right to wear whatever she wants to work as long as it lets her do her job effectively. Maybe, in a show of support for the coach, every true Wahine fan will show up to games dressed exactly like Coach Ah Mow-Santos. Well, actually, most of them already do.