Bravo Bruce

 

Last Friday night, the transgendered people added a new high-profile member to their community. Around 16.9 million viewers tuned into Diane Sawyer’s 20/20 interview with Bruce Jenner. In the interview the former Olympic gold medalist and stepfather of the Kardashian family told the world that he identifies as a woman and is currently making the transition to become a woman.

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The Man Behind the Queen

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Michael Wooten – The Guy Behind Odette/ Photo Credit: Michael Wooten

 

This past week Randolph College had the honor of hosting Michael Kenneth Wooten, a professional drag queen, or as he prefers to be called, a female impersonator, and an activist for the LGBT community. Michael is also one of the most optimistic and humans you will ever meet.

Michael Wooten is from Greenville, South Carolina and a graduate of Southern Wesleyan University with a major in vocal performance. He is a proud bi-racial gay man who found his calling in life to be a decorated professional female impersonator. He uses this platform to raise awareness on the youth members of the LGBT community and their struggles with depression that can come with either hiding the fact that you are gay by just coming out and not feeling acceptance from those around you.

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First woman to officiate the NFL’s gridiron

 

Prior to this month, if you were a female NFL fan attending a game at a stadium or flipping though games on TV, the only women you would see on the field were television sideline reporters and a dozen or so cheerleaders in tight clothing. However, now you can expect to see another woman roaming on the field. Not on the sideline, but in the game amongst the players.

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The Treatment of Women in Africa and the United States Q&A

This past week I had the pleasure of interviewing a woman that I believe epitomizes the label of  “strong and independent,” That woman being Lucie Rogo. Mrs. Rogo is extremely successful, and holds a Master of Science and PhD degrees in Entomology in addition to Masters in Business Administration (MBA)/ Global Management and a Diploma in Climate Change Adaptation. She has worked with a series of reputable international organizations involved in research, environmental conservation and capacity building. This includes: The United Nations Environmental Program’s Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity, The International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology Bionet-International, as a professor at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, and much more. All these opportunities have allowed her to live in various countries and encounter different societal and cultural experiences.

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College Hook-Up Culture: Sex at First Sight

In the college culture there is, and has always been, a double standard between women and men when it comes to hooking up. There has always been an ideology that it is badass or cool for guys to hook up with as many girls as possible, but if a girl tries to hook up with as many guys as possible she is labeled a “slut.” Why is that the case? Continue reading

Apparently the Word ‘Feminist’ Should be Banned

At the end of last year, TIME magazine published an article titled “Which Word Should Be Banned in 2015?” Previously, they “banned” words like “twerk,” “YOLO,” and “OMG,” because they thought it would make the reader “seek out the nearest the pair of chopsticks and thrust them through their own eardrums like straws through plastic lids.” Now I have my problem with this article lies in TIME’s decision that “feminist” should be a contender this year.

The interesting part is since the release of this article/poll, TIME Magazine has since released an apology in the form of an editor’s note for their inclusion of the word “feminist” in words to ban for 2015. That still will not negate me from criticizing TIME for including “feminist” on words to ban to begin with.

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Spring Break and the Objectification of Women

This week I had the pleasure of spending my break in two of the spring break capitals, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was mind blowing the amount of female objectification that occurs during this period of the year.

One thing that was interesting to me when I was walking around the beach was how the promotion cards to bars and clubs portray women in the most sexual manner, displaying them in tight bathing suits or a thong and bra. This exaggerated depiction of women seems to try and make events more appealing to men.

Another thing that stood out was the amount of contests on the beach that just involved women and not men, such as; the wet t-shirt contest or hot body contest. My friend brought up an interesting point to me when I mentioned to him how much female objectification there is during spring break. He said “being objectified can have its pros for girls, because girls can get into clubs where guys can’t, just because they have vaginas, and they can get free drinks at the bar, or get lower prices on an array of things.” This point was very interesting and opened up my eyes to another point of view on the issue that was intriguing.

Whatever You do I can do… Apparently not

 Phoenix Mercury's Diana Taurasi  drives to the basket past Los Angeles Sparks Candace Parker  during WNBA action in Phoenix, AZ.

Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi drives to the basket past Los Angeles Sparks Candace Parker during WNBA action in Phoenix, AZ.

Just the other day I had my television turned on to the ESPN news show, Sportscenter, I was just getting changed for my 10:20 class when a developing story suddenly appeared. It was in regard to long time WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) star Diana Taurasi’s decision to forego participating in the 2015 WNBA season.

Why, you may ask? MONEY.

The WNBA and Phoenix Mercury star has been playing year-round since 2004 after leading the Connecticut Huskies to three NCAA National Championships. Then soon after becoming the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, she spent winters playing overseas, and summers helping the Mercury chase WNBA titles. In addition, there were three gold-medal runs with Team USA in 2004, 2008 and 2012. The reason why Taurasi and many other female players play overseas is because of the lack of salary that players in the WNBA receive. For the 2014 WNBA season, the 33-year-old made just under the league maximum of $107,000. But she makes 15 times that approximately $1.5 million  playing overseas. Now she’ll make even more, as her Russian Premier League Team is essentially compensating Taurasi her WNBA salary. This certainly makes me worry about the state of the WNBA

That brings me to my next question, how much is a chromosome worth? Apparently it can be worth millions. A single chromosome is the only genetic difference between men and women. If Diana Taurasi had been born with XY chromosomes instead of XX, she might have been, well, another Dwayne Wade. That Y chromosome, in this case, equals about $29 million a year in salary. Let me put this in context for you readers out there. The average salary for a NBA player is about $5 million dollars and average salary for a WNBA player is about $72,000 dollars.

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When we look at NBA athletes like Dwayne Wade and see that he makes $17.4 million dollars from his NBA salary alone. While even the most marketable WNBA star, Candace Parker, makes about $750,000 dollars to $1 million dollars per year (this includes her WNBA salary, sponsorship, endorsements and contract playing overseas). It makes one wonder have we really reached gender equality when it comes to women’s and men’s sports?

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Sports Illustrated South Africa. Published: 02/10/2012

Even when we look the coverage of women in sports the focus is rarely focused on a woman’s athleticism, rather it is more focused on how attractive or sexy they are. This is especially exemplified when we look at the female athletes that have graced the cover of the prestigious Sports Illustrated (SI) magazine: When a woman is featured on the SI cover, she is most often either in a swimsuit or accompanied by a man. University of Louisville sociologists Jonetta D. Weber and Robert M. Carini looked at every national over from 2000 through 2011. Of the 716 issues that were published during this period, they reported that only 35 featured a female athlete.

And so the question remains: Will society accept and look at female athletes as being equals to male athletes?

Photo Credit: Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic, Trouble and Strife, Sports Illustrated.

It’s All About What’s On The Inside… Except For Women Apparently

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I was walking around campus the other day and I couldn’t believe how often I heard some one tell a woman things such as: “You are so beautiful,” “You are beautiful inside and out,” “big girls can be beautiful too,” “you can have beauty and brains,” “Always remember that you’re beautiful to me.”

That was a huge contrast to the things being said to men, but I guess that should come to no surprise. Honestly, how often do we hear people tell men, “you are just so handsome,” “big guys can be sexy too,” “you can be handsome and have brains,” or “always remember that you are handsome to me?” The answer is probably rarely do we ever hear the latter. As a society, we seem obliged to constantly have to assure or reassure women of their beauty as if it is the most vital part of their existence.

This sense of obligation to assure one of their exterior appearance is not mirrored towards men. That is because the value of men to society does not solely rely on their attractiveness, rather we value a man’s knowledge, braveness, adventurousness, and so on. At no point in a man’s life is physical appearance emphasized as a critical aspect of being worthy. Sure, some of you reading this can probably think of examples of times when men have been sexually objectified. And my response to that will be, “yup it happens,” but it happens far less often than it happens with women. So let’s stay focused here, ladies and gentlemen.

The problem is society considers women’s exteriors vital and terribly important to their worth. When women are reduced to being as valuable as their bodies make them, it is easy for people to demean them because they are objectified and viewed as less human, and less deserving of rights and respect that equate to that of men. We need to challenge and revamp this paradigm of women having to feel that their worth is defined by their exterior appearance.

Photo Credit: https://scribblingalchemist.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/how-advertising-views-men-vs-women/