Category: Featured on IOU Sports (page 1 of 4)

As Featured on…IOU Sports | It’s Time for a Revolution!

With Black History Month fading in the distance, I recognize that I have been silent for over a month now. Just to be clear though, my silence is not a sign of being un-inspired. In fact, I stand firmly on the shoulders of those courageous individuals that have come before me and have found myself truly observing and listening both externally and internally. Furthermore, I have been on a journey of healing my heart. In doing so, the sleeping giant in me (and I hope in all of us) has been awaken and as an American it’s time I stand up and fight back.

I know it will be of no surprise to my regular readers that I’m standing up and fighting back for social justice, yet it might come as surprise that I’m ready to peacefully revolt. It seems more than ever it’s time for the difficult conversations to happen. I know firsthand that these can be painful; however, I assure you that it’s worth the expanded perspective, learning, and growth that will take place. Remember last month, when I asked you: what is YOUR dream? For you? Your family? Your community? The country? The world?

Sadly, I didn’t hear from anyone. Believe me, I didn’t lose any sleep but in many ways, it’s a great example of our compliancy as Americans as well as activists and advocates. In our expanding global and digital world, many of us are still in isolation and if we can’t share our various hopes and dreams, how and when will get to the challenging topics?

Not having a faint idea on how to start my own revolution, I decided to stand in solidarity with the Wisconsin public workers as part of Moveon.org’s Rally to Save the American Dream at San Francisco’s City Hall this past Saturday, February 25th. It was absolutely invigorating to be in a community where you could feel the power of the people! We were hundreds of concerned citizens standing up and fighting back because what is happening in Wisconsin is happening to all Americans, and the cost is our country’s future. Although I’m inclined to analyze this concept of the American Dream—our national ethos in which freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success, the reality is that power, money, and privilege is rearing its ugly head.

Case in point, yesterday, “President Barack Obama signed into law a stopgap spending bill that ends federal funding for several literacy programs at the U.S. Department of Education, part of a planned government-wide reduction of $4 billion. […] The plan originated in the House, where Republican leaders insisted that cuts be part of the deal to keep the government running for two more weeks. Passage of the legislation buys lawmakers and the White House more time to negotiate on a longer-term budget plan for fiscal 2011” (Robelen, 2010).

The above actions by the individuals who are supposed to be representing the people have now put the future of not just education but also my professional home in jeopardy. I am angry. What the heck (feel free to fill in your own word) were they thinking?!? Yet, knowing the power of the written word, I’m choosing my voice instead of my fist. I’m choosing community instead of isolation. I’m choosing love over hate. So, I ask you: will you join me by standing up and fighting back for everything you believe in?!? The time is NOW!

In the meantime, …

I Dream…

I dream of a world that truly provides freedom & justice for all.

I dream of true equity for women where we are no longer exploited for pleasure, power, or profit.

I dream of love being the driving force in education instead of testing.

I dream of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness for all regardless of social identity.

I dream of the day the definition of “family” is redefined to be more inclusive.

I Dream…

 

On a happier note, we have March Madness to look forward to in the weeks to come!

 

CALL 2 ACTION: With March being Women’s History Month, do something to honor our past since it’s our strength. For more information, check out: http://www.nwhp.org/whm

Women’s History Facts

  • Wilma Glodean Rudolph (1940-1994) overcame physical disabilities to become one of the most celebrated athletes of all time. Rudolph participated in her first Olympics at the age of 16. Four years later in Rome, she was the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field.
  • Wild Woman Barbara Jo Rubin made history on February 22, 1969, as the first female jockey to win a horse race.
  • The Girl Scouts was founded on March 12, 1912.
  • December 26, 1974, is the banner day that Little League baseball was opened to girls!
  • On April 26, 1877, 16 year-old Sybil Ludington rode 40 miles from New York to Connecticut as the British were burning Danbury, Connecticut. She earned her nickname, “the female Paul Revere.”
  • International Women’s Day—celebrate! The first International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8, 1945.

Reference

Robelen, E. (2010). Federal literacy aid slashed as part of budget deal. Education Week [online]. Retrieved on March 2, 2011 from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2011/03/house-approved_spending_bill_a.html.

As Featured on…IOU Sports | NGWSD: What’s YOUR Dream?

Happy New Year…hopefully, your 2011 is off to a stellar start!

As I concluded in my last post, sport has laid the foundation for my dreams to come true, which then led me to urge    you to think about what magical change or difference you could make for a girl or group of girls to get her and her peers active in sport and physical education. This call to action from weeks ago still feels just as relevant on the heels of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and with the 25th annual celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) happening tomorrow—Wednesday, February 2, 20011. Both of these days of honor and celebration are my motivation for this month’s musings.

This past MLK Jr. Day, I was most inspired by the many quotes that crossed my path and particularly this one, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” which I saw connecting to another one of his phrases I found, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Together these two quotes led me to yet another one that reminded me that justice and freedom is a constant struggle. Dr. King states, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.” Furthermore, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” That said, we stand on the shoulders of the numerous men AND women who fought for civil rights alongside and in conjunction with Dr. King and as we stand among giants, each step we take with passion and dedication is one step closer towards justice and freedom.

So, I ask…what’s YOUR dream? For you? Your family? Your community? The country? The world?

Similarly, when I think about NGWSD, I am reminded of the first time I celebrated the day. It was February 2004 and I was asked to speak to group of girls who had gathered at Vanderbilt University to celebrate the day. It was a special moment that I will never forget as I was given the opportunity to share knowledge of Title IX and my love of sport. What’s more, it’s one of those moments I am reminded of when I read about the injustice that continues to happen within women’s sport and furthermore, when women’s sport is viewed in the larger context of sport. The fight is definitely not over as the UCONN’s women’s basketball team knows all too well when they surpassed the UCLA men’s team record for consecutive wins and little fanfare was given to them nor to the Stanford’s women’s basketball team who broke their 90-game winning streak. I guess the media forgot that many sports fans are just as interested in this information or more so than the college bowl games that were ruling the airwaves.

So, I ask…what’s YOUR dream? For you? Your family? Your community? The country? The world?

Again, going back to women’s college basketball as an example of where justice in women’s sport still needs to be served, I will take a moment to highlight “a crime without a body” that’s taking place to lure student-athletes to come to their programs. That crime is negative recruiting. Simply stated, negative recruiting is “the practice of playing on stereotypes to deter recruits from attending rival athletic programs by alleging or implying that a rival coach or team members are gay or lesbian” (2010, Griffin). It’s the dirty little secret that few people want to talk about until now. ESPN The Magazine just featured an article on this very subject on their website that will be in the upcoming issue of the magazine titled, “On homophobia and recruiting.” The article does a fantastic job of discussing both sides of the argument—I suggest you read it—while making it clear that women’s sports are being left in the dust of “the inexorable sweep of change in the world beyond the court” (2011, Cyphers & Fagan).

So, I ask…what’s YOUR dream? For you? Your family? Your community? The country? The world?

I Dream…

I dream of a world that truly provides freedom & justice for all.

I dream of true equity for women where we are no longer exploited for pleasure, power, or profit.

I dream of love being the driving force in education instead of testing.

I dream of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness for all regardless of social identity.

I dream of the day the definition of “family” is redefined to be more inclusive.

I Dream…

 

Let me know your dreams by following me in between my posts here at IOU Sports: www.jillian4justice@wordpress.com!

 

~ One Love

CALL 2 ACTION: Check out NGWSD Central where you can find out the History of the day, find out how to Take Action and Events taking place in your area, as well as Media information and Get Materials.

References:

Cyphers, L. & Fagan, K. (2011, February 7). “On homophobia and recruiting.” ESPN The Magazine. Retrieved on January 28, 2011 from http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/news/story?id=6060641.

Griffin, P. (2010). Cross campus engagement ensuring fair treatment of LGBT student-athletes: Issues and resources. NCAA Convention, Atlanta, GA. Retrieved on February 1, 2011 from http://athletesrathletes.typepad.com/files/ncaa-full-presentation-1.ppt.

Change Is Magical: A Rally Cry for All Girls

Hey Readers,

With so many ideas popcorn-ing around in my head, I thought I would share some of them in an open letter to you—my readers. Traveling gives me great perspective—where I’m going, where I’m coming from, as well as the particulars of what leaving my departure city (home aka Berkeley, CA) and arriving in a new city (Orlando, Las Vegas, New York have been my most recent destinations) tell me about my environment, what I can possibly expect, and further about myself. That said, I write to you now almost two months since my last post ready to share with you a few of my thoughts, insights, and hopes for the coming year ahead.

For my visit to Orlando, I was held captive for 5 days at the Walt Disney World Resort for my organization’s Annual Meeting where absolutely everything was magical, including the shuttle I rode from the airport to my hotel (dubbed the Magical Express). To be clear, as much fun as this may sound to some the focus of the trip was work, first and foremost. Although there was fun had, I hesitate to highlight the fun since the entire time there I felt a tug-of-war going on inside my body and brain. Like many of my counterparts, I grew up with Disney. In fact, the films The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Pocahontas are some of my favorites that stir-up fond memories of my 5th grade play as well as sing-alongs and quality time with my younger sister. Fast forward almost fifteen years later and my relationship with Disney has definitely changed. Simply put, it’s a love/hate relationship. Since these days I find more to hate than love when it comes to Disney—I gotta give a shout out to my critical lens that makes it impossible to not analyze their films!—I’ll start off with the positives. Hmmm… what do I love about Disney?

After days, in fact weeks, of thoughtful consideration and observing my surroundings while encapsulated in the World of Disney, I realized that my love really is better categorized as nostalgia. I’m really a big kid at heart who enjoys a happy ending, believes in magic, and welcomes the use of music to tell a story. Disney and its films provide such an animated escape. Nevertheless, in doing so, these same films are carelessly sexist, perpetuate patriarchy, continue the hetero-centric script, and has limited racial or ethnic representation, which often falls into the category of stereotypical (i.e. I saw this play itself out time and time again at Disney’s numerous “themed” hotels), and. I’m by far not alone in such analysis (See Further References) and I’m confident that I wasn’t the only girl to watch these films and proclaim, “I don’t just want to be a princess!”

I say “just” because I also know I’m not alone in wanting to be loved, taken care of, and seen as beautiful; however, the key difference is that I’m not willing to simply be a princess at the cost of having to be passive and docile. Furthermore, it has been document by The Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media, the ratio of female to male characters in Disney films exceeds the average represented in children’s media as whole, which is 1 female to every 3 males. “These ratios have a real effect: Decades of research shows that kids who grow up watching sexist shows are more likely to internalize stereotypical ideas of what men and women are supposed to be like” (Wilson, 2010). Even Pixar who initially touted a break from the princess love story (aka fairy tale), has done little to deconstruct the numerous stereotypes found in Disney films. In sum, these family movies disseminate damaging gender, racial, and sexuality norms that make it difficult for girls to feel smart, strong, and bold and for boys to stray from hyper-masculine expectations, which triggers the larger question: what is the media, in particular Disney/ABC (1 of 3 media giants), doing to provide positive images of girls and women?

Your initial inclination may be to point to the new espnW blog (that could eventually become a channel) and is touting itself as the “destination for women who are passionate sport fans and athletes;” however, the majority of posts from what I can tell are female writers writing about men’s sports. Granted it’s a start yet at what cost? In my opinion, the idea of getting our own channel is taking a step back for women’s sports and further agreeing to the idea that it’s okay to segregate us from the mainstream sports media, especially at time when the UCONN women’s basketball team is on par to break the longest winning streak originally set by the UCLA men’s basketball team and there is hardly any buzz. So, why does this matter?

In theoretical terms, the media are facilitators of cultural reproduction who transmit cultural norms and values by being as Friere (1998) argues, “certified possessor[s] of legitimate knowledge.” Based on this fact, it is traditionally unquestioned that these powerful and profit-seeking corporations are “programming” our minds with what “is” and “is not” acceptable. Even so, this is a much bigger question than I can answer, yet for me (and I hope you) it’s a stark reminder of how important it is that we all take responsibility for creating positive images and in particular, ones that depict the spectrum of femininity, race, and sexuality that is indeed among us. That said, I hope it makes you think twice about the gift you’re giving your daughter, sister, mother, or female friends this holiday season. In fact, I suggest some recent posts from the Ms. Magazine Blog as additional reminders of what I mean: Gendering Toys is Good for Nobody and More Sexy Toy Makeovers.

And then there was Vegas—the 21 and over version of Disney World. In my opinion, there’ s no need to get into the particulars of the city here except to say there is a reason it’s been coined “Sin City” with sexualized women as the focus and everywhere you look. However, I did find it an ironic destination for the 2010 WAC (Western Athletic Conference) Women’s Volleyball Tournament. I mean, young and athletic women in short spandex…need I say more?

I recognize that this is my first mention of sport thus far. However, I believe to discuss the (in)justice within sport, and in particular women’s sport I find it easiest to start from our everyday experiences, especially my own. As I mentioned earlier, it was while watching Disney movies that I realized I didn’t just want to be a princess, yet it was through sport that I learned that I could be much more than an athlete. I could be a teammate, a friend, and a leader. What’s more, it wasn’t just games won, but knowledge, skills, and so many teachable moments gained that I would run a thousand suicides and stadium stairs again (maybe not all at once) for the numerous opportunities I’ve received as a result.

One such opportunity took me all the way to New York City just weeks ago to serve on the Advisory Group of the GLSEN’s Sport Project, which is set to launch in early 2011. The mission of the project is to assist K-12 schools in creating and maintaining an athletic and physical education climate that is based on the core principals of respect, safety, and equal access for all students and coaches regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. This is a mission that is dear to my heart for many reasons, and I consider it a true honor to share my perspective and knowledge with a leading organization like GLSEN to accomplish such a mission. Plus, I’m ecstatic that I will continue my blog via the IOU Sports website during the coming year, which as I’ve mentioned before is a true labor of love that allows me to not only write but also stay connected with what’s happening in sport.

Time provides perspective and with time I’ve come to realize that during the last two months of amazing professional and personal experiences and travel that the day-to-day skills I rely on now as a professional are the same ones I learned and honed over the years as an athlete. Such skills include time management, listening, working with others, the art of taking criticism, the need to communicate with my teammates on and off the court, and most importantly, the power of my voice. The recognition of my voice is directly connected to the confidence and self-esteem I also gained by participating in sport, and now this voice has sport to thank since it has the opportunity to bring to light the various topics and issues that continue to affect the diverse spectrum of female athletes as Title IX, the threat of the lesbian label and the need to perform one’s femininity, as well as the obesity crisis our country is facing while funding continues to be cut for physical education and sport in an era of “No Child Left Behind.”

That said, I recently learned from a Women’s Sport Foundation letter the shocking statistic that “if a girl doesn’t become active by age 8, she has only a 1 in 10 chance of doing so later in life.” In my mind, that’s reason enough to rally our girls to get them involved and active in both physical education and sport so that every girl can reap the numerous benefits and opportunities that I (and many others like myself) have received. So this holiday season and New Year, I urge you to think about what magical change or difference you can make for a girl or group of girls to get her and her peers active in sport and physical education!

My journey has become an adventure,

Thanks to school and the motivating power of sport,

I found my authentic self,

A place to call home, and now…

My dreams are coming true!

 

~ One Love & Happy Holidays

CALL 2 ACTION: Although Rally for Girls was over a week ago, I encourage you to consider the following question: What did you win by playing sports?

Once you’ve had some time to reflect, I suggest taking it viral by sharing your thoughts here, on Facebook, Twitter, your own blog, an email to family and friends, or the “old-fashioned” way of having a simple conversation.

Further References Re: Disney’s Corporate Power:

Third Time Still Not the Charm for Toy Story’s Female Characters by Natalie Wilson (6/24/10)) — https://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/06/24/third-time-still-not-the-charm-for-toy-storys-female-characters/

Feminist Film Analysis 101: A Case Study of “Despicable Me” by Natalie Wilson (8/23/10) — https://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/08/23/feminist-film-analysis-101-a-case-study-of-despicable-me/

Disney Ride Still Makes Light of Sex Slavery by Natalie Wilson (10/22/10) — https://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/10/22/disney-ride-still-makes-light-of-sex-slavery/

Toy Story 3 on DVD–More Jessie, Please? By Natalie Wilson (11/1/10)— https://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/11/01/toy-story-3-on-dvd-more-jessie-please/

Disney’s Male Execs To Stop Making Movies Starring Girls by Margot Magowan (11/23/10) — https://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/11/23/disneys-male-execs-stop-movies-starring-girls/

Mickey Mouse Monopoly: http://www.mediaed.org/assets/products/112/transcript_112.pdf

References:

Freire, P. (1998). Pedagogy of freedom: Ethics, democracy, and civic courage. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Wilson, N. (June 2010). Third Time Still Not The Charm For Toy Story’s Female Characters. Retrieved on November 17, 2010 from http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/06/24/third-time-still-not-the-charm-for-toy-storys-female-characters/.

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