I saw an interesting headline the other day entitled: “Olympic Gymnast Hits Back at Body-Shaming.” I immediately thought, “Wow not again.” The fact that body-shaming is even an expression is a disheartening commentary on the society we live in today. Women’s bodies have long been the subject of casual objectification in our culture and in the media. The fact that people think it’s ok to comment on a woman’s body, in whatever fashion pleases them, blows my mind. Not only is it disrespectful, but it comes from the problematic way society equates a woman’s worth with her beauty.
People have diverse ideas of beauty, and different cultures value different physical qualities, but this does not mean that those who don’t live up to the ideal should be shamed. In the article, Gymnast Aly Raisman relates an experience at an airport where a female employee recognized her and mentioned one of the reasons was “because of her muscles.” A male colleague then stated “Muscles? I don’t see any muscles” and “continued to stare” making Raisman feel uncomfortable. She then took to twitter to relay the events stating: “I work very hard to be healthy and fit. The fact that a man thinks he can judge my arms pisses me off. I am so sick of this judgmental generation.” Continue reading “Tall Order by Sarah Kiefer”
I have to be honest, Jason Collins’ admission that he was a homosexual, albeit brave, upset me. While coming out is an completely unique experience to every individual that does it, Jason Collins’ story was just another example of the rampant sexist and heteropatriarachal world that privileges male bodies and sexualities over women’s similar experiences. While I applaud Jason’s story and it’s timing, the first thing I asked to my colleagues was: Where was the hubbub over Sheryl Swoopes or Martina Navratilova?
Like marking off items on a proverbial checklist, closeted LGBTQ individuals who exist within and outside of the world of professional sports, can recount the numerous things they struggle with in terms of their sexuality. From fearing of the actual coming out process, dressing in their car or at home to avoid the subtle glances and whispers of individuals in the locker room, to wondering what coming out would mean not only for their game but also for their social and, if they choose, spiritual lives, closeted and out LGBTQ individuals within the multi-billion dollar professional sports industry must grapple with that age old question: what does it mean to be gay and open about it?
I have to be honest, Jason Collins’ admission that he is a homosexual, albeit brave, upset me. While I understand that coming out is an completely unique experience to every individual who does it, for me Jason Collins’ story was also an example of the rampant sexist and heteropatriarachal world that privileges male bodies and sexualities over those of women. While I applaud Jason’s story and the timing, the first thing I asked to my colleagues was: where was the same hubbub over Sheryl Swoopes or Martina Navratilova? Continue reading “Thanks for Coming (Out): Sexuality, Sports, and Spirituality by John Erickson”