- The Writing Space and Women’s Voices – I have a few squabbles with it, but this post from Carolyn Jewel pretty neatly encapsulates why I break out the industrial strength side eye for Men Who Want To Talk About Romance.
We have all watched men enter the Romance space confident that their words are better because they are spoken in a male voice. And we have watched some of them go head to head with women and come away stunned. We see their brains shut off when that woman making more money and selling more books happens to be attractive. It’s wonderful, amazing, fantastic to watch these men babble on and then realize that they have been out-everythinged by a woman they could not see or hear because she’s female and attractive. I will say that at least one man had the grace to admit that.
Some of these men mansplain, they are unable to hear what the women with more knowledge and expertise have to say. They make demonstrably incorrect statements and have difficulty tolerating correction. To them, it’s a personal affront instead of another person saying, but consider this or, even, you are wrong, and there is the data that proves you are wrong. Once someone is defending themselves because a woman disagreed, dialogue ceases with that person.
- Female-named hurricanes kill more than male hurricanes because people don’t respect them, study finds – No, this isn’t an Onion headline. It’s a real study done by real researchers. National Geographic offers their take on the data as well.
Female-named storms have historically killed more because people neither consider them as risky nor take the same precautions, the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes.
Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University examined six decades of hurricane death rates according to gender, spanning 1950 and 2012. Of the 47 most damaging hurricanes, the female-named hurricanes produced an average of 45 deaths compared to 23 deaths in male-named storms, or almost double the number of fatalities. (The study excluded Katrina and Audrey, outlier storms that would skew the model).
- Meet the 94-year-old woman who revolutionized the field goal and perfected the slapshot – Canadian-American Betty Roberts was a pioneer in the field of physical education and the science behind sports. She sounds like an amazing dinner guest.
If you have never heard of Betty, you are not alone. But get to know her and you might learn that she still enjoys hockey, though stopped skating in her 70s due to a bad hip, swims three times a week, drives and, most of all, delights in puzzling over how our bodies move, in time and space, and how possessing the perfect biomechanics for a particular movement in sports, say, shooting a free throw, kicking a field goal (more on that later) — or taking a slapshot — can optimize an athlete’s performance.
It sounds obvious in 2014. But in the 1950s, when Prof. Roberts and a few other biomechanics-in-sport pioneers begun studying, for example, the optimal release point for a free throw, it was revolutionary stuff. Research right out of, ahem, left field, that coaches ignored, if they even knew it existed.
- Shirley Fischler carved path for women covering NHL – Hockey columnist Stan Fischler remembers his wife Shirley and the crap she had to go through to be able to report on the New York Rangers in the early 70s.
I mention this because in the days and weeks following my wife Shirley’s death (May 13), a number of articles appeared about the manner in which she led the battle to erase that form of media discrimination against women.
Unfortunately the stories failed to mention — space restrictions you know — were episodes filled with anger generated by the men who fought to keep her from writing her hockey story in a place that heretofore was the private male journalistic preserve.
Nor did my wife’s various obituaries reveal how long-time friendships were shattered by the hostile behavior of male reporters toward Shirley and replaced by never-ending acrimony, not to mention snide behind-the-back cracks.
Once Shirley sought credentials to legitimately cover the 1971 Rangers-Toronto playoffs, the hockey writers lined up against her with a vengeance; and that’s an understatement.
- Cards have pioneer in female strength coach Balkovec – This is a fabulous development for women working in pro sports, but the article about her has some framing problems like whoa. The video was much better at talking about her.
Change comes slowly to baseball, but the Cardinals proved they’re ahead of the curve when, in February, they hired Balkovec to be their Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator. She is the first and only female to hold a position as a full-time strength coach in Major League affiliated baseball.
“I think a lot of teams worry that hiring a woman can create another issue to deal with that is outside of the game,” said Oliver Marmol, manager of the State College Spikes, the Cardinals’ Class A short season affiliate. “They’re afraid something might happen with a player or staff member, that someone might be out of line and say something or be disrespectful. But when you carry yourself the way Rachel does and you’re professional about the way you go about your daily work, it’s not a problem and it won’t be a problem.”
- Kara Walker’s Sugar Sphinx Spawns Offensive Instagram Photos – I’m not on Instagram, so I wouldn’t know, but I’d assume there isn’t a rash of sexually suggestive photos taken with sculptures of nude white men. Naked black lady, though, and of course you have to tweak her nipples and mime cunnilingus. Overgrown children, all of them.
Kara Walker‘s colossal, much-discussed work A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, commissioned by Creative Time and currently installed in Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar Refinery, has recently spawned some tasteless Instagram photos from people clearly missing the point of the work. Meant to serve as a commentary on the sugar cane trade, and a cultural critique of slavery and perceptions of black women throughout history, the work is part Sphinx, part racist Mammy stereotype, and is coated in sugar. It features exaggerated features including breasts, a bottom, and a vagina. As Walker told artnet News, “Nudity is a thing, apparently, that people have a problem with; not slavery, or racism, but female bodies, or bottoms.”
- The Mark of Cane – Oh, the curse of internalized ableism. I’d bet that most people with an acquired disability can recognize this struggle.
By that time, at 22, I’d been legally blind for a few years, the result of several failed retinal detachment surgeries. I had a white cane, but I never used it. Once, alone and lost in downtown Washington, I unfolded it, immediately sweating as I felt hundreds of eyes shift onto me. A man who was panhandling grabbed me and showed me the way home.
It made an impression, but it wasn’t enough to sell me on it. The cane stayed in storage. To me, it signified defeat, so I kept it out of sight at college, social events, job interviews — everywhere.
- Don’t Worry So Much: How Not To Review Women’s Writing – Mallory Ortberg is a national treasure, I swear. This take on a New Yorker review is incisive and derisive in equal measure.
I have gone back and forth several times over the last few days on whether or not it would be worth addressing Adam Plunkett’s New Yorker.com review of poet Patricia Lockwood’s latest book here. I don’t write much on topical issues to begin with, there have been plenty of more noteworthy stories about women’s issues in the public eye over the last week or so, and it’s not exactly hurting her career any.
Also, if I am being perfectly honest, I didn’t want to seem mean by criticizing a man twice in public. I have since overcome this reluctance.
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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.