Women and Sports: Outside of the Literal Playing Field

I was lucky enough to have the chance to attend some of the LSA Theme Semester Events at the Hatcher Library Gallery. These speakers are meant to overlap the ideas that are in our Political Science class, which this semester is based off of Sports and the University. On October 30, I was able to listen to Andrea Joyce, a women sports reporter who was able to succeed in the world of male sport reporters. Then, on November 14 I was able to listen to Amy Perko. Perko has been an executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics since 2005. While being an executive director of the Knight Commission, she mainly focused on the treatment of student athletes. 

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Political Science and Game of Thrones (Spoiler Alert)

Kit Harington at HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 3 Seattle Premie

Braving the crowd at Best Buy on Thursday evening, I was able to take advantage of the super sales and purchase a behemoth TV. While I was at it, I also was able to score a Game of Thrones box-set. Clearly, the only logical thing to do upon my return was marathon the series on my crisp, clear, 50-incher. As I was tied into the gripping series, I began to realize something that may be pure coincidence, or perhaps truly correlated. My realization was that our professor, Mika LaVaque-Manty, may enjoy Game of Thrones so much since it is chocked full of tidbits of political science, from Machiavellianism to the beliefs of Hobbes. Read More

Understanding Attendance Numbers

Upon committing to this amazing institution, I took my official visit and was taken to a University of Michigan Mens Basketball game. Since I have never been to a college basketball game, I did not know what I was in store for. I met up with the coaches, who took us to our seats—about 3 rows up from the floor. We were half an hour early, yet the atmosphere was already unreal. Almost everyone there was wearing a University of Michigan basketball shirt/jersey. Then, within the next fifteen minutes the whole stadium was packed full. The game started and the chants got louder and louder. It was surreal; the amount of people that showed support and sang the chants with everything they had. It was impossible to be drawn away from the game. There was no checking of twitter, Instagram, or any other social media sites. The atmosphere glued everyone to the game; it was as if we were the 6th man, helping them win the game. When the final whistle was blown, Michigan came out victorious. The final applause was baffling; I don’t think I was even able to say anything to my coach at that time and we were standing right next to each other. At this time, I knew I had picked the right college.

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Hobbes, Please Escort this Man Out of My Sight.

Crowded Airport During Holiday Travel

Crowded Airport During Holiday Travel

The airport is packed. The lines are moving slowly. One. Person. At. A. Time. We’ve all been there. You know, when holiday travel packs the airport tighter than a Los Angeles prison and everyone moves at a sloth’s pace to their respective gates only to have their flights cancelled on them due to weather? Well, I’m sitting here in Terminal 3 at LAX waiting to hop on board my Spirit Airlines flight to Detroit, being asked to be put on the waiting list for the next flight out TOMORROW…for James…the businessman.   Read More

Let’s Take Mill’s Advice When Protesting About Michael Brown’s Case

The shooting of Michael Brown has been all over the news lately. The fatal event occurred in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th, 2014 and since then, the subsequent occurrences (that is, the trial and protests) have grown with a snowball effect. No longer do people think of Michael Brown’s death as the killing of an unarmed civilian by a police officer; now people are talking about race discrimination and the failure of law enforcement institutions to protect the people they are supposed to serve.

 

Protest in Ferguson. Picture by: Loavesofbread

On November 24th, a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson and since that day, violent protests started all over the country. Whereas it is true that many people protested peacefully, others resorted to violence to express their frustration. There has been shootings, rallies, hundreds of arrests, tear gas breakups, fires, and many other raging demonstrations in cities like Ferguson, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington.

 

 

John Stuart Mill (Picture considered public domain in the U.S.A; author London Stereoscopic Company)

This chaos broke down while we were reading John Stuart Mill‘s book “On Liberty” for our Polsci101 class, which analyses issues such as  social values, proper behavior in society, vices, virtues, individuality, and the limits to authority over another individual. Therefore, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to explain why Mill would argue the Ferguson’s riots harm the community and won’t be beneficial in any way. This is what Mill might have said:

  • John Stuart Mill would have objected against these non-peaceful protests since he believed when someone did something you strongly disapproved of, you could argue with this person, but never use violence as a mean to demonstrate your opinion. Therefore, he would say the people who are going on the streets with signs in order to express their disapproval on the jury’s ruling have all the right to do so. They might try to convince other people and use words to prove their points; but Mill would not support any violent action against another person.
  • He would also say people are free of doing whatever they want unless they harm someone else. Mill believed people should be free to act out their opinions under any circumstance except when these actions result in harm to others. And it is no secret that the riots that have started across the nation as a reaction to Michael Brown’s case have resulted in a lot of damage. Not only has property being destroyed, people have being physically hurt as well. Ironically, the protests that started after Brown died have caused many more people’s deaths.

Michael Brown’s mother has asked protesters to remain peaceful. So has President Barak Obama, the Attorney General Eric Holder and Brown’s father. They think as Mill would have; that a violent confrontation will be counterproductive. I personally believe violence can not be fought with more violence, because then the argument has a self-defeating purpose. I don’t want to take sides on Michael Brown’s case because I don’t think it is my place to do so; I only wish people in the riots could express their opinions in a peaceful way. Go to the Diag to show your anger and sorrow, march down the streets, post your opinion on the internet  if you want, but don’t let a mother lose another son or daughter due to violence.

A Women’s Touch

Growing up in Western Michigan, Julie Krone looked up to a male athlete for the majority of her young life. Krone was a thoroughbred jockey, and she wished for nothing more than to have as successful and meaningful of a career as the male thoroughbred jockey, Steve Cauthen. She chased her dream when she went to Florida where she debuted at Tampa Bay downs. Two weeks later, Julie won her first race, finally making a name for herself. Then in 1993, Julie did something amazing for women in sports. Julie won the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first women to win this race. When her career came to an end, she was inducted her into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

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LSA Themed Semester: Branch and Newman

I recently attended two LSA theme semester events on November 14th. One was by the acclaimed Taylor Branch, and the other was by Tarkington Newman. Both talked about the effect of an outside source on an athlete. Tarkington Newman’s outside source was the Youth Sports Leader, while Taylor Branch’s outside source was the NCAA. Although both spoke about different topics, it was clear that athletes can be negatively and positively influenced by many outside sources.  Read More

Music, Colors, and Individuality

Growing up, I was different. Not only was I different, but also I was so damn frustrated that nobody understood that I was different. I grew up in Los Angeles, a city ruled by sports media, the general understanding that all kids have to play on sports teams, elementary school sports teams, middle school sports teams, high school sports teams, and just about every other extracurricular league available to mankind. And from a very young age, both of my parents, my sister, and all of my friends instilled in me, that playing on every single sports team is the socially acceptable thing to do. Let me tell you, I played on just about every little league baseball team, mighty-mite football team, and rec-center basketball team around. I hated it. I absolutely hated it.

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Respect Women’s Sports

Photo by: Rachel Boettcher

Title IX is the representation of the efforts made towards reaching gender equality in collegiate sports. It has given female student-athletes the opportunity to participate in all kinds of athletic events by requiring schools to give the same amount of scholarships to men and female student-athletes. It is a huge step in the right direction to abolish gender discrimination, but I believe there is much more to be done. Regarding college sports, the fact that now women have equal opportunities as men in terms of scholarships available is great, but their efforts are still undervalued and not appreciated when comparing them to their male counterparts.

Professor Mika LaVaque-Manty mentioned in the chapter Being a Women and Other Disabilities of his book The Playing Fields of Eton (2009) that there are beliefs of women’s weaknesses, vulnerability and less capability that are linked to the reason why their athletic performances are undervalued. But from my perspective, the biggest factor as to why female athletes are not taken seriously is because spectators tend to appraise their bodies instead of appraising their athletic talents. I observed this behavior when I attended a University of Michigan Varsity Volleyball game earlier this semester and heard  all sorts of disrespectful comments. Take a look at the following video titled “Why you should watch volleyball: hot sports women” for example:

 

Videos like this are sexist and derogatory. Even the title encourages viewers to look down at women. The reason why you should watch volleyball is because these female athletes are extremely talented and they put a lot of effort practicing; not because they wear tiny, tight shorts. I found a bunch of other videos similar to the one above but I refuse to attach the link to them because I don’t want to encourage people to watch them, even if I just want to prove how wrong they are.

Photo of a NC student-athlete taken by Jarrett Campbell

 

I also attended a University of Michigan Women’s Varsity Soccer game and I did not hear any comments referring to the bodies of player’s from people on the stands like I did in the volleyball game. I only heard people talking about the plays, the team’s season and the athlete’s abilities. Is this pure coincidence? I don’t think so. I would dare to assume it has to do with the fact that the soccer players were wearing longer shorts, which are less feminine in a way. Will I fall under the hasty generalization fallacy if I say I believe the soccer player’s talents were being recognized at a greater extent because they were using manly shorts while the volleyball player’s abilities went unnoticed due to their tight spandex?

The role of women in sports has definitely improved a lot over the years, but women’s efforts are still not recognized as much as male’s. Women sports are not as popular, not broadcasted as much, and as I experienced in the volleyball game, a lot of people go for the wrong reasons. Professor La Vaque-Manty recognized that part of the problem is the general perception of women as vulnerable and weak. I think this misjudgment, added to the sexism evident when women wear certain athletic gear, only worsens the issue. From what I saw when I attended the volleyball and the soccer games, the more feminine (or provocative some could argue) the female athletes dress, the less recognized their athletic talents are. We need to stop sexualizing female athletes and start appreciating the effort they put into playing sports if we ever want to reach gender equality.