Saturday, August 11, 2012

Giving Our Daughters the Wrong Message: Having Gabby and Lolo's Backs

No I have no daughters, but the inherent sexism of the mainstream media is frustrating to me nonetheless. The past two weeks have seen the amazing feats of the world's best female athletes. Whether they won any medals or simply participated in the Olympic games, their dedication to their sport and the way in which they run their lives is an example to all young women (and yes men too). But what did we get instead of discussing these women in healthy and intelligent terms? We got....

Gabby Douglas' hair debate and Lolo Jones is too feminine to be an athlete....

Sometimes the media and people have too much to say and not enough intelligent brain cells to use to process their own stupidity. Yes I am using a mean word to describe these people (oowww bad me). The following is also not a discussion of "politics"  (read that here, here, here, here) but a discussion of the media's distortion of a woman's value and self-worth.

Gabby Douglas is an amazing gymnast and at 16-years-old won the gold medal for best woman gymnast in the entire world. Who cares what her hair looked like when she was preforming and quite frankly who cares what her hair looks like when she is giving interviews? She's 16! What did you look like at 16?  Not everything that a person does is superficial. It is fine and dandy to worry about your outward appearance, but to ignore the magnificence of Gabby's talent and accomplishments is inane. Do we tell our daughters, hey go be that neurosurgeon but remember when you are preforming brain surgery make sure to go to the beauty parlor beforehand so you always look like you came out of a Hollywood movie.....

Then on the other hand you have Lolo Jones, who does take more of a glam view of her appearance and quite frankly has done some modeling too. But because she didn't medal, even though she is the world record holder in her event, some loser-in-life who writes for The New York Times decided that if she didn't care about her appearance (read self-promotion) so much she would have done better at the Games. I can't decide if the author just doesn't' like the fact that Lolo is a devout Christian and still a  virgin or just mad because beautiful women like Lolo won't give him the time of day. (Yes the media tends to try to destroy Tim Tebow because of his religious beliefs as well.)

Then you have two of Lolo's teammates (and I use the term loosely), bad mouthing her on television. Instead of standing up for her, in the wake of that nasty NYT's piece, the two that won the medals in the event said that they were the ones who represent athleticism and the USA not Lolo. And yes, these two are going to wonder why they will never get endorsements despite their medal wins. Someone should just give them a  copy of their "catty interviews" so they can remind themselves that no company wants a "bitch" to represent their products.

No, of course I don't know either Gabby or Lolo. I don't know who they are in real life nor quite frankly do I care who they are at this point. But what they represent to young girls is the reality that  a young woman can be dedicated and persevere in the competitive world of international sports competition. That one athlete keeps her "kinky hair" and the other one doesn't is the most ridiculous and misdirected debates I have read about in recent weeks.

How are our daughters going to feel free to accomplish their goals and their sense of themselves when the world consistently looks for reasons to knock them down no matter how amazing and accomplished they are? Yes the reason they are attacked could also be because they are amazing and others are trying to make themselves known and relevant by denigrating the accomplished....jealousy as we see can also rear its ugly green head (just look no farther than Lolo Jones' teammates for an example I suppose).

And yes, from the selfish perspective of a mother of sons, where is the daughter-in-law of the future who will love and cherish my child going to come from if she doesn't have the right to be anything and anyone she wants without derision and supercilious comments? Where are my sons going to find a woman who is strong, self-reliant and can persevere, if women with strong personalities are denigrated and denied their self-respect? Where are my sons going to find the right woman to be a helpmate if all the media wants women to think about is their hair, their nails and their clothes but then demolishes them if these women incorporate a feminine appearance into a successful career and life?

In a world where we strive to make sure that our daughters are self-sufficient people there is always the reminder that there are still creeps out there who quite frankly need a really good psychiatrist to help them with their "women hating issues". The "Our Gang" boys were a cute group from a by-gone era representative of male chauvinism and archaic views of women...sadly it seems some of these attitudes apparently still exist and the truly sadder  fact is that these ideas are even perpetrated by other women as well....

Until next time,