Friday Randomness – April 6

Pretty much every runner – and even some non-runners! – I know was buzzing about this New York Times article about masters champion Kathy Martin.  Martin took up running seriously when she was in her 40s, and now she holds several national records, in distances that range from 800m to 50K.  I mean, it’s astonishing enough that she’s running such incredibly fast times at the age of 60, but to be able to maintain such supremacy throughout such a wide range of distances is pretty incredible.  I love reading about ladies like Martin, who are redefining what it means to be an older woman in our society.  Here’s hoping that we see a lot more women like her in coming years.

Some recent research has found that cycling may not be a lady(flower)’s best friend.  A study found that women who cycle more than 10 miles a week are more likely to experience diminished sensation.  To which I say – NO DUH.  Glad it took a Yale study to figure out what everyone who has ever gone on a long-distance bike ride already knows.

I love this new blog called I Am a Pole Dancer, which features photos of ladies who do pole.   I remember a few years ago, how it seemed like everyone was all POLE DANCING = PORNIFICATION OF SOCIETY ZOMG, but fortunately it seems like that has died down a bit, which is good, because pole is really cool and beautiful, and the people who do it are impressive athletes who deserve respect, not derision.  I’ll probably be writing more about pole soon as my best friend is a pole dance instructor and I plan to take some classes from her after I complete my marathon!

Speaking of pole, the Atlantic ran an article about the winner of this year’s International Pole Championship, a 28-year-old woman who pulls off elite-level inversions and layouts and oh, by the way, only has one arm.  Total BAMF.

Pinterest is the latest social-networking platform to announce plans to crack down on pro-anorexia imagery. I have written before about the disturbing stuff that shows up under the guise of thinspo, a lot of which I have come across while searching for images to help motivate me in my own pursuit of fitness and sports goals, and it never fails to disturb me.  I’m glad to see that social-networking platforms are taking it seriously.

Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard has written a memoir, and most of the media around it focuses on the fact that she discloses her history of self-injury.  This excerpt from the New York Daily News is really intense and sad, and so please be warned before you read it.

Sad news: Micah True, also known to fans of Christopher McDougall’s “Born to Run,” was found dead in the Gila Wilderness area of New Mexico last weekend.  He had gone for what was supposed to be a routine run but he never returned home.  The cause of his death has not been released yet.

Check out this completely fascinating story of a murdered Russian businessman (and former KGB spy) and the effect his death had on the women’s basketball team he financially supported.

Erika Kendall shared this very personal piece of writing about the politics of women’s safety over at A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss: “When you see all of this, experience and encounter all of this on a regular and consistent basis, it promotes fear. It compels women to react not out of their own choice, but out of fear.”  The whole thing is worth reading, as she writes honestly and frankly about her experiences with feeling unsafe as a black woman in public.

From “Thin Ice” to “Whip It,” Anna Clark breaks down the history of women-in-sports movies over at Grantland.   She not only talks about the movies themselves but gives the reader some wider context for the movie’s subject matter.  (And also it reminds me that I really want to see “Personal Best,” not least of all because it inspired the title and cover of one of the best punk albums ever, “Personal Best” by Team Dresch.)

ESPNW published an in-depth report about the lack of opportunity for female coaches.  It’s a sad juxtaposition to read the stories of female coaches who were systematically shut out of coaching jobs and to contrast that with the sight of Muffet McGraw and Kim Mulkey on the sidelines of the NCAA women’s championship earlier this week (and also a recent New Yorker article about Nancy Lieberman, the only woman to coach a men’s professional basketball team and also a full-blown baller in her own right).  Women are obviously capable as coaches, and yet the opportunities – even to head women’s teams – are increasingly going to men.

Adios Barbie posted an interview with professional dancer/fat activist/all-around bad-ass Ragen Chastain about a recent movement she helped organize to pay for body-positive billboards with the goal of counteracting a anti-obesity ad campaign in Georgia that relied heavily on shaming kids to get its point across.

It’s that time of year again – the time when we all point fingers at Augusta and ask why they are being such dodos with regards to their failure to admit women into their He Man Woman Haters Club.  The debate takes on an extra dimension this year because, as Sara at Bloomer Girls points out, one of the CEOs who is traditionally offered a membership to the club is, OMG!, a woman!   Whatever shall they do?  Here’s an idea – how about they dispense with the fetishization of the past and join the rest of us in the 21st century?  I know, I know, this might be a lot to ask of a group that only deigned to allow black men to join in 1990.  Yes, 1990.

Oh, Saudi Arabia.  Speaking of the failure to join the 21st century….Saudi officials have announced that the 2012 Olympics will come and go without a woman as part of the official Saudi delegation.  Human Rights Watch has been agitating hard for the International Olympic Committee to lean on Saudi Arabia, saying their ban on women and girls in sport is a violation of the Olympic charter.  (P.S. If you are looking for some heavy, sad reading, check out HRW’s report on women and girls in sport in Saudi Arabia.)

4 responses to “Friday Randomness – April 6

    • You can see my thoughts in the comments of that post. 🙂 Here it is:

      Great post! I will admit that my most active board on Pinterest is the one where I share photos of buff women doing physical things like climbing mountains or doing one-armed handstands. I like these photos because they excite me and get me all pumped to go train my ass off. So I guess you could say that I’m really into fitspo.

      But at the same time I recognize that fitspo can really get very sketchy and a lot of it puts me off. For instance, I don’t like it when it focuses heavily on abs, nor do I like it when it just shows the woman posing. I also don’t like fitspo that tears down other people or other body types. When people do that, they are basically taking fitness and using it as yet another way of establishing moral superiority over other people. I mean, my love of running and lifting weights does not suddenly mean I am more valuable as a human being, nor that I am more worthy of love and respect. It just means I like to run and lift weights. I think that fitness enthusiasts need to be really careful about that, because I see it way too often and it really puts me off.

  1. Gotta say I love to see pictures of strong women doing impressive stuff. Love big muscles, gleaming sweat, all that good stuff.

    I’d feel guiltier about the “looksist” part if it if there weren’t such a dearth of Strong Women images in popular culture. Sure, fitness magazines have a few, but generally I think muscles and strength are often marginalized or even ridiculed in the popular press. So as far as I”m concerned, bring on the brawny gals who kick ass! Might help me crank out a few more reps next time I pick up some weights. Go Fitspo!

  2. I admit to being one of those “Pole dancing classes? WHY MUST BE ALL BE STRIPPERS?!” people, but I’m ready to listen to other perspectives.

    Pretty much. Ha!

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