Feminist Files: Growth industries

  • Jobs R Us: According to this story, Nevada is one of the top seven states with the most new jobs on the horizon. I’m sorry, I just laughed so hard that my coffee came out my nose. The premise is that each of the seven states in this list will have job growth of more than 2 percent in the next year. (We’re getting excited about 2 percent growth now?) Industries that are prime to expand, according to the AOL story, include hospitality, education, and business professional. It’s going to be a neat trick to see growth in education jobs when our state has cut funding to every form of education. I’m also keen to see how we will have growth in the professional business sector, when businesses routinely pass on moving to Nevada because of our high drop-out rate, low rate of college graduates, and a K-12 education system ranked dead last in the nation (more on that here). But I suppose this article could prove right. I mean, Nevada has to hit bottom at some point. So perhaps we should take this story as a sign that things can’t get any worse. So, I think the step after hitting bottom is admitting you need help. Who wants to tell Sandoval?
  • NFL Pride: We’re probably not going to see an NFL Pride day/month (akin to pink ribbon month for breast cancer awareness) anytime soon, but the reality is that more and more pro football players are standing up for equality — and those who speak in favor of equality. Recently, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe published a scathing (and awesome) letter in rebuttal to Maryland state delegate Emmet C. Burns, who didn’t want to hear Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbedejo’s views on same-sex marriage. Ayanbedejo is for marriage equality. There’s an initiative on the ballot in Maryland. But Burns doesn’t care for Ayanbedejo’s opinion and wrote a letter to the Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti urging him to discourage such behavior from employees. But, it turns out, we live in America and have the Freedom of Speech. Meanwhile, it is a good sign for our culture that players of the most popular sport are comfortable enough in their sexuality and their politics to speak in favor of equality (and that NFL.com covers it on their site). After all, what’s more stereotypically masculine than football? If football players aren’t threatened by gays and lesbians, I can only hope this is a positive sign of a cultural shift in the making. And just because I like the letter so much, here’s my favorite paragraph:

    “Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement.” Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that…? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you’re going to say that political views have “no place in a sport”? I can’t even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for “beautiful oppressionism”).

  • Tackling beauty standards: Speaking of football… Apparently, the world has been waiting with bated breath to see Jessica Simpson’s post-baby body. (The baby, of course, is the daughter she shares with NFL tight end Eric Johnson.) She inked an endorsement deal with Weight Watchers while she was pregnant, so I guess it should come as no surprise that she is making the rounds now to show her results thus far. I don’t have an issue if someone wants to lose weight. But what I do find repulsive is a vicious media cycle in which celebrities are vilified if they don’t immediately have washboard abs after having a baby. It’s not only grossly unhealthy, but it sets up a toxic maternal beauty standard that is all but impossible for most women — even celebrities — to attain. Having navigated the realities of a post-baby body myself, I take it personally that we all have to suffer the indignity of this cycle. Whether or not a woman loses weight after a baby does not have anything to do with her worth as a human being. Hell, whether or not ANY woman — a mother or not — fits into some narrow definition of what “beautiful” means has no baring on her worth.
  • Google it: Good news for bisexuals and those who want to Google them! It is being reported that the global giant has decided to remove the word “bisexual” from its blacklist of naughty words that yield a “white screen.” You know, like when you type in the word “porn” and instead of an instant list of websites, you get nothing but a white screen (until you press enter). If the company is indeed clearing the name of this search term, it would lift an implied negative association with bisexuality. But I’m still waiting to see anything other than white when I Google it. So, here’s hoping this is not just wishful thinking.
  • Shoe fetish: If you are like me, the monotony of campaign-ad season is starting to wear thin. Take heart! We only have eight more weeks until the madness ends (or begins, depending on how you look at it). Right now, the ad I’m hating the most is from Dean Heller’s camp, depicting Shelley Berkley as a frivolous shop-a-holic in the shoe department. The campaign rhetoric is that Berkley is a fat-cat who prefers preening to the important work of politics. (Since when is preening not a part of politics?) But that’s not the message I take away. The whole subtext is completely sexist to the core: Don’t vote for a woman because all they do is shop for shoes. Not only is this ridiculous and vaguely misogynistic, the premise denies reality: Men also shop for clothing and shoes. Indeed, unless Dean Heller has some kind of wardrobe fairy (that he’s bogarding, jerk), his closet does not get magically filled. Enough!
  • Unnatural causes: The ACLU of Nevada is hosting what looks to be an interesting event about the death penalty in Nevada on Sept. 24 at William S. Boyd School of Law. Get details here.

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