Lingerie football and perspective taking capacity

I was at dinner the other night with a very good friend. We somehow managed to get onto the subject of Lingerie Football.

My friend saw nothing wrong with the sport and felt that it was actually a very smart move – in order for women’s sport to be financially viable and popular they needed more then just skills. After all, sex sells.

My personal perspective was one of disappointment – why is it that these talent sports women must parade in provocative underwear in order to gain followers and sponsorship? Why must we time and time again reduce ourselves to believing that unless we look a certain way we cannot be successful? That we must use our looks and sexuality to be valued as much as men?

The conversation went in circles until I finally said “This is how I feel and nothing you can say will ever change my mind”. End.Of.Story.

This discussion really bothered me for a few nights after. I ruminated on it, and felt a tension surrounding it.

After some honest self-reflection, what became clear was that the tension I felt was not coming from that fact that my friend didn’t agree with me – even though I had told myself numerous times that I was right and he was wrong. It came from my inability to be open to my friend’s opinion. To take on another perspective and hold it level with my own.

In reality, I don’t care about Lingerie football, whether it exists or not is of no significance in my life. I have a choice in how I personally succeed and so does every other woman.

Interestingly, what happened during our conversation, was an cognitive ‘tug-of-war’. The more he argued a point different to my own, the more I stuck my heels into the ground and became increasingly closed-minded to any other opinion, whether I really believed it or not.

That whole conversation and subsequent self-reflection got me thinking, why is it that we close our minds to other people’s perspectives, particularly when they run counter to our own? And how can we practice being more open-minded and accepting of other’s perspectives?

Have you ever experienced this? Perhaps in a work meeting or with your spouse? 

Read more about perspective taking capacity and how we can practice being more open-minded in the article 4 ways to increase your perspective taking capacity.