Female Refs

25 Jan

Sian Massey

The NBA has no female referees.

The NFL has no female referees.

The MLB has no female umpires.

BUT…

Over half of the WNBA referees are men.

And a majority of ASA umpires are men.

The lack of female officials in sports exemplifies another area of gender inequality. Recently female referee, Sian Massey, has been in the news for a call that caused controversy. The sexists comments by the announcers caused quite the stir, but the article about how all women should be refs because of the incident is cause for concern.

The article claims that since the players chose to not yell and argue with Massey, because she is a woman, that all referees should be women. The article assumes that if all referees are women there would be less fighting and arguing in soccer, ultimately bringing more harmony to the game.

The notion that women are always a calming force for athletes is an unfair assumption. The writer of the article means well, but it is assumptions like this that continues to perpetuate inequality.

But not all hope is lost. The writer of the article eloquently states that the continued presence of women officials in pro-sports will hopefully help to soften the misogynist world of sports to realize women are equally capable of officiating.

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Dear Sarah Palin…

24 Jan

Sarah Palin is not helping us.

As women in the political limelight more often than not they make fools of themselves, subsequently making fools of all women. I obviously support the idea of women in political roles and would like to see more representation within congress.

The Mama Bear at work

But when a man in politics says unintelligent things critics don’t attribute it to his gender.  But when a woman says dumb things the first assumption to why she would say such a ridiculous thing is because she is a woman. This needs to change.

And although there are a bunch of Palin supporters across the country, or mainly Alaska, ultimately she is making it tougher for women to be taken seriously in the political realm. Here is a few reasons why:

First of all she came to political fame because old McCain thought he needed a minority on his side if he had a chance at beating Obama. It had nothing to do with her intelligence or experience but rather the fact that she had breasts.

Secondly, using a reality television show as the roots of her presidential campaign is a little tacky.

And thirdly, she tweets things like: “‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!'” Palin got so much flack for the moronic tweet she took it down and replaced it with a jab at her critics.

Mama Bear is going for presidency and there is not much any one can do to try to stop her campaign. Unfortunately, Palin may have better chances at candidacy as winners like Michele Bachmann announce their intent for campaigning as well.

 

Sex in Question

24 Jan

Sex is not easily defined.

With Kink.com’s recent announcement that they will expose the “deflowering” of one of their most popular web stars, the definition of virginity  is in questions.

Nicki Blue of Kink.com is obviously a sexual person as she has performed many sexual acts, excluding vagina penetration. She claims that her hymen is still intact, therefore she considers herself a virgin. The press release for Kink.com describes the anticipated event as the “loss of innocence.”

say no more

Besides the tasteless nature of the site and it’s objectification of women, the main issue I have with Kink.com’s announcement is the wording  chosen to describe the event.

The presence of a hymen does not deem Blue as “pure” or not. The lack of scientific evidence that the breaking of this tissue defines whether a woman is a virgin or not has put women in danger in cultures where virginity is a matter of life or death.

Also, the act of sex is not clearly defined as solely vaginal penetration. It is called ‘anal sex‘ and ‘oral sex‘ for a reason. Trusty Wikipedia agrees that yes, one definition of sexual intercourse is when the male reproductive organ enters the female reproductive tract, but sex is not limited to this one act.

What about homosexual relationships? And again, oral sex? Anal sex?

Assuming that sex is only when a penis enters a vagina also sets us up for failure in the realm of avoiding STDs. Avoiding penal/vaginal action does not protect from STDs.

Ultimately it is sad that internet sites continue to exploit women through pornography, but for a site that considers itself progressive it is unfortunate that it too perpetuates false ideologies about sex and virginity.

 

 

Bright Hope in Liberia

20 Jan

In a country marked by civil war and poverty, a glimmer of hope shines for women.

The Liberia Women Democracy Radio started in August of 2010 and is the first radio station in Liberia owned and run by women, not to mention it is only the fourth in the world.

The radio station is funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDF). The UNDF helps to financially support democratic efforts around the world.

What rocks about the station, besides the fact that it is run predominantly by women, is that it is providing Liberian women with education and journalism opportunities.

Because journalism has been a male-dominated field in Liberia, women’s issues have constantly been overlooked.

But the Liberia Women Democracy Radio station brings relevant news, issues, and educational opportunities to Liberian women. A recruiting program has been established to train more women in journalism and to boost the number of females working in newsrooms.

The station broadcasts 12 hours a day in 15 counties. The station plays interviews, news stories, and music that doesn’t degrade women.

Since sixty percent of women in Liberia ages 15-49 are illiterate, radio is the best way to inform women. The  lack of education available to women has helped to perpetuate poverty and other social  injustices, but the radio station is helping to battle these injustices.

The opportunity of educational advancement  presented to the women of Liberia through such a simple medium is definitely something to be excited about. The world needs more woman run radio/news agencies. What a rich opportunity to promote education, promote women’s justice, and start the ball rolling on equality.

The Queens of Pop

13 Jan

The music industry is no longer dominated by the men. 2010 was the year of the women, as the Billboard Charts show, and I don’t think it’ll change any time soon.

Rihanna, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Fergie and Taylor Swift are all household names. And each of these women had at least two chart topping hits in 2010. The Billboard 2010 year-end Charts show that females took the number one spot in every category.

Top Artist went to Lady Gaga

Top New Artist went to Ke$ha

1 Hot Song went to Ke$ha with Tik Tok

1 Hot Artist also went to Ke$ha

1 Top Billboard Album went to Susan Boyle (yes that middle-aged British lady from that one talent show)

1 Top Billboard Artist went to Taylor Swift

And the list goes on, and on. The charts don’t lie, these women are powerhouses in the world of pop music and are representing for the females.

The women are making it big in the industry and it’s because they aren’t afraid to be themselves. Lady Gaga came onto the scene and changed everything, making weird the new black.

Ke$ha is the resident party girl getting trashed while resonating with suburban teens.

Rihanna is the slick “good girl gone bad.”

Nicki Minaj is the Lady Gaga of black girls.

Beyoncé is the queen of hip-hop and independent women.

While Katy Perry is the naughty school girl and Taylor Swift is the innocent sweetheart.  All of the bases are covered.

There is a female recording artist for everyone’s liking. And as each of them pushes the envelop of innovation, creativity, and sex-appeal the ante continues to raise.

When asked about her new album which is supposedly, “going to change the world,” Lady Gaga mentioned a conversation she had with Beyoncé.

“Beyoncé said: ‘Where the fuck do you get these ideas from?’ And I was like: ‘I don’t know Bee, it was just the way I was born.'”

It’s debatable whether or not Lady Gaga was born to wear meat dresses, but there is no doubt these women have changed the game for pop music. Kudos.

Superhero vs Superskank

13 Jan

The spandex wearin’, steroid lovin’, damsel in distress savin’ clan of superheros created by DC and Marvel comics have entertained audiences for well over 50 years.

You don’t have to be a comic nerd to know a little about superheros. I mean who hasn’t seen Batman or Spiderman? It’s fun to go to the movies every once and a while to live in an alternate reality of bad ass superheros and villans. But is the portrayal of female superheros one to celebrate or one to fantasize about?

Have you ever noticed the large chests, the tiny wastes, and conveniently revealing outfits of female superheros? If you haven’t, check out this clip for a quick tutorial on the kick-ass women of the world of superheros.

Are these women bad ass because they kick ass? Or are they only fulfilling some sick fantasy for superhero fans worldwide?

It’s not just the cartoon heroines either. Look at all of the films you have seen with female superheros, they either have big boobs, minimal clothing, or a combination of both.

Check out Halle Berry in Cat Woman, is it really necessary to look like a dominatrix in order to save the world?

You could argue that male superheros wear quite revealing outfits as well, being super spandex and all, and showing off their ripped muscles. But the reason male superheros are loved is not because of the way they look, it’s what they can do.

Women are constantly critiqued for what they look like, and their abilities are attributed to appearance. It is sad that the same thing goes for female superheroes.

Female superheros give males and females unrealistic expectations about women. I understand that they are extremely fictional characters, but it is pop culture’s continual portrayal of unrealistic looking females that causes problems. No woman will ever look like that, and fantasizing about having a woman who does, or you yourself trying to look like that, does no good.

I am Not For Sale

12 Jan

A woman was recently arrested in Connecticut after being on America’s Most Wanted list since 2006.

An Soon Kim, 52, was put on the Most Wanted list after being identified as a main player in the sex trafficking industry on the east coast. For years Kim smuggled Korean woman into the U.S. and forced them to work in one of the 19 brothels she helps run. Once in Kim’s custody the trafficking victims were forced into prostitution and told that their family members would be harmed if they did not cooperate.

Like most people passionate about social justice, Human Trafficking gets me riled up. Most Americans are oblivious to the fact that human trafficking happens in the U.S., but taking one look at the Slavery Map can be a harsh wake up call for those not in the know.

I know a fair amount about trafficking, but when I read the article about Kim’s arrest I was astonished. But it wasn’t the location of the trafficking that shocked me, it was who was doing it. In case you missed it, Kim is a woman who is trafficking women.

Research shows that  98% of sex trade trafficking victims are women. What is even more shocking is that 42% of Traffickers are women. The fight for human rights and the liberation of women is obviously not just a fight against men abusing women. Women are also being socialized in this patriarchal world to believe that females are disposable objects rather than humans. Thinking like this results in injustices like sex trafficking. May sound harsh, but it’s truth.

Human trafficking suck and is a real and current issue. All hope is not lost though, there are some sweet organizations combating this injustice.

International Justice Mission has been working since 1997 to end human trafficking all around the world.

Another organization battling human trafficking in the U.S. as well as overseas is Not For Sale. This campaign is close to my heart because it is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I hail from. Not For Sale’s website pinpoints areas of the country where trafficking occurs. The site also highlights businesses and organizations helping to fight against human trafficking and shows how you can help.

You can help support these organizations and others fighting to end this injustice by visiting their websites and spreading the word. No one is for sale.

Jersey Shore: defining the new woman?

11 Jan

Jersey Shore is in its third season of trashy hook ups and drunken brawls and added to the messfest this season is Snooki’s BFF Deena. The self-proclaimed “blast in a glass,” replaced Angelina who opted out of Jersey Shore to pursue a career in music. If you watch the show or follow trashy-tv news you already know that she hasn’t made the best first impression.

The cast of Jersey Shore season 3

It’s safe to say that watching this show is like watching a car accident, it’s so bad you can’t help but watch. But is this pop-culture phenomenon hurting or helping women?

Some may brush the Jersey Shore cast off as party kids not worth a deep analysis, but the amount of influence they have on young adults is astounding. This season’s premiere aired on January 6th and captured an audience of 8.45 million, making the show the highest rated MTV telecast to ever air.

With a following this large, you can’t help but wonder the impact it has on our culture. Hate ’em or love ’em, Jersey Shore is helping to define what it means to be a young adult in America.

The cast is known for many things, including the classy display of videos they often upload for the entire internet to see. Most recently they featured one of Snooki and JWoww blasting Joy Behar for constantly criticizing Jersey Shore on The View. The girls’ mocking video doesn’t help their case against Behar’s claims that they are crude and immature.

The season premiere also displayed Sammi and JWoww getting into a physical fight after a verbal dump of every bad word a woman has ever been called. The fight ended only after the Jersey Shore boys stepped in after letting the girls go at it for a few moments, also not helping the reputation of these girls.

Buying into the trashy TV scene can be fun, but the escalation of tasteless behavior of the females on the show is cause for concern. The constant yelling, punching, and calling of derogatory names is setting a norm in the American culture for how to act.

The next generation: the Jersey Sandbox

Don’t get me wrong, I am all about the liberty to be yourself. If Snooki wants to bond with her girlfriends about her vibrator on national television, I say go for it. But if females are constantly assaulting one another and tearing each other down like the happenings on Jersey Shore, I have to chime in.

Allowing women to physically fight and call each other bitches and cunts on national television is counter productive to the fight against sexism. If these women can’t respect themselves and one another, how do they expect anyone else to?

As pop culture continues to idolize and glamorize the women on this show the negative perception of women increases. You may be thinking this is an overreaction, but in the immortal words of Deena from her very own dictionary, “If you are doing something ridiculous or something people think is embaressing or silly ..Simply just tell them ‘LETTT ME LIVEE’ ..basically its your lifee..so liveee it!”

Let’s Do This

7 Jan
I'm a feminist, now what?

Where to begin?

We live in a world of technology, sexual freedom, and credit cards. World of Snooki and Twitter. World of opportunity. World of Post-Modernism. World of tolerance and equality.

We live in a time where the world is trying to convince us we have reached equality. That we have reached tolerance to the highest level we possibly can and that we have reach a plateau of harmony. The world is trying to convince us that the battle for women’s justice and equality is over.

This is a terrible school of thought to adhere to. Feminism is not something scary. It is this outrageous idea that women are human.

Feminism has changed over the years, moving as a wave with the times. It has morphed to what it has needed to be, and the thought that we don’t need feminism any more is an abomination. It is dangerous to think that because we have made strides in women’s rights we need not continue to speak out.

The need for feminism is like the need for democracy.

“Democracy is not something that you believe in, or something that you hang your hat on. It’s something that you do, you participate. Without participation, democracy crumbles and fails. If you participate, you win, and the future is yours.” Abbie Hoffman, US Radical Activist.

So let’s celebrate women, feminism, and the crazy things that happen in this world. Let’s shed light on injustices against women.

Let’s celebrate life together and maybe have a few laughs on the way.

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”
– Rebecca Mae West (1913)