While I’m laid up with a bad back, let’s look at some headlines. (PS: I’m very open to guest posts right now. Hint, hint.)
* Anthropologically speaking…: Could it be that when girls see positive images of women in STEM (thats’s science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, the result is more women in those fields? This article about the uptick in women pursuing forensics, which highlights popular TV show Bones, seems to make that intuitive leap. It’s like I’ve heard this somewhere before. Oh, I know! My friendly neighborhood feminist!
* The gold standard: Fox News goes after Olympic superstar (and my personal hero) Gabby Douglas for not being patriotic enough. Because winning Olympic gold for your country (and having a dad who serves in the military) is definitely sub-par patriotism. And then there’s the whole
hairdo firestorm. People, grow up! Gabby is awesome! You’re the ones with the problem.
* Judo chop!: Speaking of the Olympics, I am deeply moved by America’s first gold medal-winner in Judo, Kayla Harrison. She has not only made sports history, she is also a survivor of sexual abuse (by a former coach). That’s a powerful testimony to the power each survivor has inside them to overcome the trauma and step into personal greatness. Meanwhile, there’s Dutch Olympic bronze medalist Edith Bosch who Judo-chopped an asshole sitting next to her who threw a beer bottle onto the field. Who hasn’t wanted to Judo-chop some douchebag sitting next to them? Love it!
* Sweatin it: So there’s a bit of a dust-up over the new Nike “greatness” campaign. In particular, some folks are peeved at the ad featuring a fat 11-year-old boy running. Is the ad reinforcing negative stereotypes that fat people are just lazy and need to get off the couch? Or, is this an inspiring ad about achieving our personal best, wherever that best might be in the continuum of human achievement? Personally, I favor the latter. As I’ve written here before, I have found deep satisfaction and even moments of personal triumph in running. And yet, I am by all athletic standards a slow, fat, asthmatic who’s pace barely creeps above a jog. I am not putting myself down, mind you. But I would posit that with America’s obesity epidemic there are probably a lot of people who see themselves in that boy running — especially how hard it looks. One criticism that rings particularly hollow for me is the revelation that this boy does not run in real life (or didn’t until after the shoot). You mean stuff we see on TV isn’t always real? There are no vampires? There are no magic islands? I’m shocked. Shocked! And I’d argue those folks are missing the point. So often we criticize the media/ads/pop culture for showing us impossible standards of beauty and gender norms. This is an ad that is actually trying to celebrate someone just as they are. Fat and all. I think that’s not just inspiring, it’s refreshing.
* Politics in tragedy: Finally, I want to take a moment and extend my sympathy to those effected by the temple shooting. Much has been said . Arguments for gun control are being made. America’s collective-cultural ignorance about non-Christian faiths is exposed, yet again. But perhaps the most insensitive thing I’ve seen was a segment on CNN in which Wolf Blitzer talked to an expert about white supremacy groups. Wolf asked the expert about the link between punk music an white supremacists. The expert replied that some of these groups use concerts as a recruiting ground. Now, I am a punk rock fan. My husband was in a punk band. I have been to many, many punk shows. I can’t say I have never seen racists or even white supremacists at a show. I have. And every time I have seen those fuckwads at a show, there is always — and I mean always — a group of punks who take them out. Violently sometimes. Because being a racist fuckwad is NOT what true punk is about. Punk is not perfect. I’m sure there are some racist punks, even racist punk bands. I’m sure they exist because, unfortunately, racism exists in every part of our culture. But pinning white supremacy on the backs of punks is blatant scapegoating and disengenuous. It’s no more true than all those people who keep saying the victims, “aren’t even Muslim.” As if that was the only thing wrong with what the shooter did or that somehow racism against Muslims would be “understandable.” It’s not understandable! It’s insanity! Racism is insanity!