Friday, August 31, 2012

Poetry Friday

I have decided that Poetry Friday means poems can be posted on Fridays--not necessarily that they will. The blogging has been slow, but the dissertating has been progressing so...compromise.

Anyway, I was looking for a poem about the start of school. I found this one instead and it amused me; so here it is.

The Latest School
G. K. Chesterton
See the flying French depart
Like the bees of Bonaparte,
Swarming up with a most venomous vitality.
Over Baden and Bavaria,
And Brighton and Bulgaria,
Thus violating Belgian neutrality.

And the injured Prussian may
Not unreasonably say
"Why, it cannot be so small a nationality
Since Brixton and Batavia,
Bolivia and Belgravia,
Are bursting with the Belgian neutrality."

By pure Alliteration
You may trace this curious nation,
And respect this somewhat scattered Principality;
When you see a B in Both
You may take your Bible oath
You are violating Belgian neutrality.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

They did it their way

Making news internationally (as far as China!), one of the world's most famous golf clubs, Augusta National, has finally admitted two women as members. Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore, the VP of an investment company and major donor to the University of South Carolina (the business school is named after her).
The controversy over the lack of female members has been been consistently cyclical. Every year when the Masters is played there, the issue is reinvigorated with various levels of vigor. Last year was a renewed burst of criticism/activism due to the then-recent naming of Virgina Rometty as the new chairperson of IBM--a position that has always come with a membership at Augusta. But Rometty was not one of the two women--because Augusta does things on its own terms. As former chairperson of Augusta, Hootie Johnson, said during the years when the controversy was highest (i.e. Martha Burk was protesting nearby), Augusta would make changes in its own due time and not "at the point of a bayonet." And certainly not because a bunch of feminists were standing outside with signs.
Burk was interviewed about the news and called it a victory. I don't think I would categorize it as such. But at least now we can move on to some of the larger issues of discrimination in sport that affect more than a tiny fraction of the population.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

More on the size of female Olympians

This is a brief follow-up--or in-addition-to--to the post about the lack of larger sized apparel for this summer's female Olympians.
Apparently--and I had not been aware of this--several female athletes competing in London have been scrutinized and commented on because of their weight leading into the games. I think this is quite interesting in light of all the press about how equal these Olympics are; how the US team is comprised of more female athletes than male athletes; how every nation finally has a female competitor. US-based media call this the "Title IX Olympics"--somewhat problematically.
But, of course, things aren't equal--on either concrete numbers (still more events for men) or in treatment. At the opening of the games Christine Brennan of USA Today declared "Finally--It's all about the women."
Yep. It's still about how female they are (i.e., Caster Semenya and whomever else was secretly gender tested during these games or leading up to the games) and how fit-not-fat they are.
The weightlifters referenced in my previous post are an obvious target; but other women have been called out as well, including Australian swimmer Liesel Jones, British heptathlete Jessica Ennis, and the entire Brazilian soccer team. Particularly egregious was that Ennis was criticized by a member of British athletics official. She won gold by the way.
Last night, watching the women's 10M platform prelims, we heard about diver Viola's battle with an eating disorder that, in part, caused her long absence from the Olympics.
Great responses though from the various targeted athletes. American weightlifter Holly Mangold said: I'm not saying everyone is an athlete but I am saying an athlete can come in any size.
And British weightlifter Zoe Smith, who has been criticized via social media for looking too masculine, said "We don't lift weights in order to look hot."
Wait, a woman can do something that doesn't involve the ultimate goal of attracting a heterosexual male? What have the Olympics come to?

Saturday, August 04, 2012

"Too big" for women's clothes

This article features comments from US Olympic weightlifter Sarah Robles about how athletic gear is not made for larger women. One could argue that clothes in general are not made for larger women. But Robles point is that she, as a heavyweight lifter--an athlete, has to wear the clothes for men because Nike and whomever else is contributing to Team USA's uniform/gear does not make the women's clothes in her size. I know Nike makes "plus size" clothes for women. I just saw a tennis skirt in a 3X yesterday in a store. So they will make up to a certain size. But for the Olympics, one would think they could make whatever for the athletes so women like Robles, who don't want to wear "dude's clothes" as she calls them, don't have to. Because she's right--they don't fit the same.
Interestingly, there are limited options for women who either do not want to wear traditionally feminine clothes but on whom menswear is too big and not tailored correctly--or women who are larger and want clothes that are made for women--and are feminine.
Again, in the particular case of Robles--and her teammates--something easily could have been made to fit their bodies for this occasion.
We read things like ESPN the Magazine's body issue and the Dove real women campaign and allegedly value different-sized bodies, but it doesn't seem to translate to real-life things that would make some women's everyday issues a little less fraught.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Olympic beach volleyball

There was some concern over the cold weather in London and how it might prevent some women's beach volleyballers from wearing their bikinis. And it has.
Looks like Getty though has been getting in as many photos of bikinis while the sun is out.
This piece is a comment on the ways in which women's beach volleyball has been photographed and what such a frame might look like on other Olympic sports.