Friday, February 28, 2014

Women in Sports. Ugh.

My sister brought this up to me last week, after watching a lot of the Olympics (or at least enough to be able to chat about it with clients!) and the more I thought about it, the more it frustrates me.

Did you know that this was the first year that women were allowed to participate in Ski Jumping in the Olympics? And that when a reporter interviewed Lindsay Van (who was allowed to test the jumps for the men in Utah in 2002, but not allowed to compete), they asked her about whether or not she was worried about her vagina falling out? Ugh. Just ugh.

Which got me to thinking...we segregate almost all our sports based on gender. Even the ones where it shouldn't matter one bit whether the competitor is male or female. Curling? Come way it matters what sex you are in that sport. Skeet shooting? Archery? Equestrian events?

I get it when we're talking gymnastics or baseball vs softball, because there are some actual physical differences in the way men's and women's bodies are put together. But Bobsled? Women weren't allowed to participate in 2-man(!) bobsled until 2002, and still can't compete in 4-man. Why?

Is it the legacy of misogyny in sports? Women were definitely ill-received when they began marathoning...
Kathrine Switzer, as the race organizer shouts "Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers." 

Is it the way the media covers sports, with vastly more time and attention paid to men's sports, even during the Olympics? And I'm not kidding about that vastly. 96% of televised sports are men's events. Women's Olympic gymnastics is one of the most watched sporting events ever, and women are much more likely to watch the Olympics, but still NBC is more likely to show only the events in which women are skimpily clothed, and devote the rest of the coverage to men's sports.

Is it the way we approach sports in general? Rick Paulaus makes an awesome point in the middle of an overall great article titled Why Women Will Never Beat Men in Sports:
Maybe think about it like this: Way back in the day, when James Naismith invented the game of basketball, what if instead of making the height of the baskets 10 feet, he decided to make them 8 feet? In this alternate reality, your favorite team's roster would be composed of entirely different players. Gone would be the crazy high jumpers or 7-foot plus monsters, because height and flight would no longer be as important of an asset. In their place would be... Well, I don't even know. No one really does. I imagine thy would be more muscular and compact athletes, like a rugby players. The fact is, the average height of an NBA player would no longer be nearly a foot higher than the average male because that kind of height wouldn't be necessary. Height would still assist, as it does in just about every competition this side of horseracing, but it wouldn't dominate the proceedings.
Now, multiply that subtle change in game construction by every little bit of difference between how male and female bodies are designed, and you'll get somewhere near our current state of affairs. 
Honestly, I don't know. There are piles more reasons why we, as a society, as a world, relegate women to second-class status in sports (as in so many other things). The solutions are much easier. Sign girls up for sports, encourage girls in sports, watch women's sports, and shut down anyone who dares to ask you about the connection between your vagina and your skiing ability. Because Fuck That Shit.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


I had a pretty awesome strong-woman stand-up-for-myself moment today.  Of course, because I'm me, it came in the form of a note (I cry during in-person confrontations, which doesn't really help my cause most times).

When I was pregnant with the kiddo, I was scheduled by my OB's office to see a counselor. Apparently she checks in with people about alcohol and drug use and other stuff when pregnant. Anyways, it was an awful meeting. She wouldn't hear me at all about how an occasional glass of wine isn't harmful at all, and insisted I would be making bad choices for my child if I had a glass of champagne at my wedding. Science does not back her up, and my kiddo is great (I actually had two verrrrrrry slow flutes of delicious bubbly champagne over the course of my whole wedding day.)

But that wasn't the worst part. The first thing she handed me when I walked in there was a pamphlet about not gaining too much weight, and how to eat during your pregnancy so that it would be easier to lose the baby weight after the kid is born. I was 16 weeks pregnant at the time, and terrified about how I, as an eating disorder survivor, would react to gaining 30 pounds. I was already stressed out enough about food as it was, and I definitely didn't need a therapist type telling me to think about it more, or to worry more about not gaining weight.

Today, I got scheduled to see her again. I refused, because duh, why would I want to talk to her again? A great therapist is one of the best things ever, and conversely, a bad therapist (or a bad match) is one of the worst things. Even now, after just refusing, I'm worked up enough to be blogging about it while I wait for my OB. And I haven't talked to this lady for over 2 years!

Rather than just keep quiet about it, though, I wrote a note. Because she should know why, so other people don't have to get mind-fucked too.

So it wasn't the in-person schooling I'd imagined I would give this woman if I were ever to see her again, but that's ok. Because I said my piece both in writing and to the OB I have who I trust, my OB delivered the note to her, and now she knows. I think sometimes I get caught up in thinking that in order to stick up for myself I have to do it in a specific way...but this way is just fine. And honestly, writing is my way, so why not embrace it?

I'm thankful today for Crash Course World History, good doctors, good therapists, good dentists, and a job that allows me to talk about real things in real ways.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mr. Bates, You're a Jerk

I just finished watching Episodes 6 and 7 of Downton Abbey Season 4. I love the show - I'm such a geek for historical fiction, and then throw in some romance and fancy lacy outfits (plus the sassy Dowager Countess - Maggie Smith just makes everything better!) and I'm hooked.

I love so many of the characters too, particularly the women. They're portrayed as full-fledged people, with faults and interests and it's just so wonderful. Even with its Victorian ideals and setting, the show passes the Bechdel test without hardly trying, or so it appears.

I'm gonna start getting into spoilers here, so if you haven't watched as far as me, just know I'm mad at Mr. Bates and I'll see you later.

So Mr. Bates...he's supposed to be worthy of Anna, supposed to be kind, supposed to be sensitive, supposed to be good. And on the outside, he seems that way. But really, he's actually making Anna's life so much harder. His reaction to her rape, making it all about him, wanting revenge, diminishes him into someone who is just adding to the burden she's already surviving with. Her biggest concern is whether or not he'll kill her attacker, and that's not ok. A woman should be able to tell her husband anything and trust that if she asks him to, he'll keep his hands to himself, like any good kindergartener.

But no, even though she's done everything possible to keep him from knowing who attacked her, and everything possible to try to convince him that she doesn't want him to take revenge, he leaves town and shoves her rapist (who by the way, he doesn't have any proof on. Not that the guy didn't do it...but Mr. Bates doesn't know that) into oncoming traffic.

Mr. Bates has his revenge and he gets to feel just fine, relieving himself of the burden of anger. But his wife doesn't. Now she not only has the anger and fear and shame stemming from the attack to deal with, but also a betrayal by her husband, added fear that he'll be arrested, and the inability, should she ever be ready for it, to bring her own attacker to justice.

Ugh. I rarely side with Thomas on anything, but Bates, you're a jerk.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

List #9 - Silly reasons I haven't been blogging

1. I'm all pregnant, which means I'm tired, which means I go to bed crazy early lately.

2. I usually get over writer's block with a glass of wine...not happening anymore. I miss wine.
3. I'm busy doing fabulous photo shoots. My modeling career is really in demand. I've been going to such exotic places as my dining room.
4. The kiddo has been taking short baths...and I usually do all the Etsy managing and blogging during bath time.
5. I'm busy trying to figure out how to watch American Idol online so I can see MK perform. (It's not possible...only highlights and bootlegs allowed. Boooo)
6. Work has been total madness - We put on a Drag Ball, which was an awesomely huge success and was great for the kids (I work at a school that has a very active and effective GSA, and acts in many ways as a safe haven for kids who might struggle to fit in at other high schools). But man, was it a lot of work. I've also been on a committee that's working to increase our diversity and relevance, and that's involved a lot of travel, and a lot of time lost in Excel spreadsheets. It's all good stuff, and I like it, but it's busy stuff too.
7. I fell down a Pinterest wormhole planning my sister's 30th Birthday/Baby Shower/Housewarming Party. It was super fun, and I did all sorts of lovely crafty fun things. Which I promptly forgot to take good Pinterest-Worthy pictures of. I'll never be a successful mommy-blogger that way! Or at least, not one who's good at pretending to do all the things perfectly!

There were also adorable Oreo pops, some pretty funny games, seriously photo-worthy decorations...but all I got were a bunch of pictures of people having fun, one shot of the cupcakes and my kiddo scribbling all over the calendar! Priorities, Lyn! Ha!
8. House of Cards...seriously.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

American Idol - Go MK!

It's been years since I watched American Idol at all, let alone paid attention early on in the season. But this year's different! One of my former students, the awesome MK Nobilette, is in the top 30!

I'm so proud of her, and I can't wait to see more of her performances! She's a great person, not just a great singer, not to mention a trailblazer for gay women.

Check out some of her stuff here:

Audition Video (in case my superskill at html doesn't work, she starts around 8:52)

Idol Group Performances (she starts around 3:20)

Pre-Idol awesomeness:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dangit, Thomas

My kid loves Thomas the Tank Engine. So do lots of others. But it turns out even this show, which I usually tolerate just fine for my kid (aside from the incessant theme song) has a problem with pink.

A conversation I just had with my mother:

I really hope all these conversations about kids' toys, and the messages we send our children about what parts of them are valuable, and which parts are shameful, gets us somewhere, but I'm not feeling too encouraged. Amazon, a pretty good indicator of how shopping looks across America, looks like this:

"Toys" section preview - only dolls and art have any pink in them at all, even though nothing is technically gendered

"Girls" toys - all pink, all the time, except for the one thing that's white with a rainbow. The rest of the page was just as pink

"Boys" toys. No pink to be found. Boys get to have all the other colors, though, including purple.

On the upside, there are Goldiblox, which are pretty awesome. I plan to buy a bunch of sets for the kiddo when he's old enough to understand how to not chew on them. And if I ever have a daughter, I'll get even more of them for her.

Goldieblox gets it - pink isn't what makes girl's toys frustrating! These girls do all sorts of great things, and they still get to like pink! They still get to be proud of being girls, who like girly things! I love it.

PS - here's the original Goldieblox commercial, featuring a version of The Beastie Boys "Girls," which they've since had to take down from most places. I like it with both songs, but it's nice to have the lyrics, too.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A New Series

Ross has gotten started on a new series! Here come airplanes!!!

 He starts by designing the images in a program called SketchUp, which lets him make 3D models of the planes. He loves this, because he loves planes and engineering. It's a perfect match.

Once he's happy with the designs, he prints them out and uses his super cool Huion LED Light Pad to trace the image onto watercolor paper. 

Seriously this thing is so cool - adjustable brightness, flexible, super light and even ever-so-slightly sticky.
Thanks dad!
Then, he fills the plane with masking fluid, which is kind of like rubber cement, but easy to remove. That way, he can paint the sky and the background without having to worry about going outside (or inside) the lines. 
 This is as far as he's gotten on any of them now, but there are 4 different planes in different states of completion hanging out on our lovely dining room table right now. The kiddo is going nuts trying to get at them!

I imagine we'll have a whole series of planes up and listed on Etsy within a week or so! I'm excited!!!

I'm thankful today for Campbell's tomato soup, because it tastes like my childhood. Also for safe spaces to talk about tricky things, new opportunities, glittery orange nailpolish, and Canada, because they made this awesome commercial:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Let It Go

I'm seriously obsessed with this song right now. Idina Menzel is just amazing, and it's one of those awesome broadway-type songs that just makes your eyes well up. All the feelings have to go somewhere, right?

It's nice to be back home. I had an excellent time in LA, but it's definitely not my city. Alameda is better.