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Nothing like the Olympics to remind the world how a woman can’t accomplish anything without either being compared to a man who does the same thing, being labeled as a “wife” or “mother” above anything else, or being blatantly patronized on national television.
Here are the most sexist things that have happened at the 2016 Rio Olympics thus far the key phrase being “thus far.” There’s still a lot of Olympics left to go, ladies. (And none of this new or unique to Rio, there is a long history of sexist Olympics coverage.)
1. As three-time world champion Simone Biles flies from the uneven bars and soars above the mat before sticking a near-perfect landing, an NBC commentator says, “I think she might even go higher than some of the men.” For whatever reason, a lot of the male NBC anchors decided viewers might not fully grasp just how talented these female athletes are without first comparing them to men. This was the first of many times they did this throughout the games, and each time was just as unnecessary as the first.
2. The Chicago Tribune labeled two-time bronze medal-winning Olympian Corey Cogdell as “Wife of a Bears’ lineman.” Not only is an Olympic medal-winning, world class athlete being reduced to simply a “wife,” but it doesn’t even matter which lineman she’s married to. Being married to the vague idea of a professional football player, no matter which one, is more deserving of a call-out than a women being one of the best trap shooters in the world. It’s great of The Chicago Tribune to acknowledge the feedback, because while there was no ill-will behind the tweet, and it was a way to localize an international story, they at least respect the fact that it struck a chord with a lot of women who are frustrated with the way the media covers women in sports, defining them more often by their appearance or martial status than by their strength or speed.
3. Everyone is making a big deal about U.S. Olympic gold medalist Dana Vollmer having a baby more than a year ago. “She’ll be the first woman to win a medal after having a baby,” the NBC commentator says, because they love to get real granular with the whole “first to win” labels. The media attention around her being a motherit’s hard to find an article that doesn’t mention she’s a “new mom”implies that women who have children are then incapable of all the things they did before giving birth. Which isn’t true, and in fact research suggests the opposite. While it’s an incredible feat to give birth and go on to train for the Olympics, a feat only a woman can accomplish, and being a “momma on a mission” is a part of Vollmer’s personal brand, she was still a world-class athlete before having her child, so the fact that she continues to be after giving birth isn’t that shocking. Women are strong as hell.
4. When 19-year-old Katie Ledecky was busy breaking a world record in the 400-meter freestyle by nearly a full two seconds, NBC commentator Rowdy Gaines said, “Some people say she swims like a man,” probably talking about his slew of sexist coworkers at NBC. “She doesn’t swim like a man, she swims like Katie Ledecky!” It’s great of Gaines to make this point, but it’s not a point he should have to make. People should be able to acknowledge her incredible athletic ability without comparing her to a man. I wonder if men understand how ridiculous this soundslike if a judge on Project Runway said, “People say he sews like a woman, but he sews like Jay McCarroll!” And to be clear, Gaines’ comment wasn’t sexist, he was calling out the many sexist comments made by fellow swimmers, like Ryan Lochte, who said her strokes and mentality were “like a guy,” and media outlets, like the Daily Mail, which referred to her as the “female Michael Phelps.” His comment highlights the sexism surrounding Ledecky’s media coverage.
5. Immediately after Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu broke the world record in the 400-meter individual medley, hard emphasis on individual, NBC announcer Dan Hicks immediately focused the attention on (and gave all the credit to) Hosszu’s coach and husband Shane Tusup, saying he was “the man responsible” for her performance. He’s since defended his comments, saying, “It’s impossible to tell Katinka’s story accurately without giving appropriate credit to Shane,” despite many believing Tusup uses fear tactics to push Hosszu. Even if Tusup deserves credit for his role in coaching Hosszu, she was still the one in the pool, she broke the world record, so maybe wait for her to at least dry off and accept her medal before gushing about Tusup.
6. Turns out even if you’re an Olympic athlete, you still can’t avoid being labeled as a “girl,” when you’re clearly a grown woman. At one point, NBC announcers referred to the “men’s cycling team,” and the “girls’ cycling team.” Ugh. And another commentator referred to four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin as an “enthusiastic girl.”
7. In between dominating the competition, the U.S. gymnastics team talked to each other on the sidelines. Most likely not about boys and makeup (but if they were, that’d be fine too), but probably about how they were leading the rest of the world by nearly 10 points. “They might as well be standing around at the mall,” Jim Watsonsaid, ignoring the fact that after training 30-plus hours every week, these young women probably don’t have too much time to go shopping. His response to criticism was even more cringeworthy, saying “Don’t boys hang out in malls too? I did.” And with that logic, sexism is solved.
8. NBC’s chief marketing officer John Miller declared that women aren’t into sports, but they’re very into reality TV. When explaining the network’s tape-delaying and packaging of the Olympics, Miller said,“The people who watch the Olympics are not particularly sports fans. More women watch the games than men, and for the women, they’re less interested in the result and more interested in the journey. It’s sort of like the ultimate reality show and miniseries wrapped into one.” This is offensive on all kinds of levels. For starters, he implies that “sports fans” and “women” are mutually exclusive. He also implies that women watch the Olympics because they’re hoping two people will fall in love and retreat to the Fantasy Suite, rather than, oh, I don’t know, actually wanting to watch sports. It’s also likely that more women tune in to see women’s sports, which are covered significantly less than men’s.
9. After Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom broke her own world record in the 100-meter butterfly, she was continually asked by NBC anchors if she was going to “do the samba on Copacabana Beach,” which she apparently said she’d do if she won. Not only was NBC oddly fixated on this, they even went so far as to suggest the offhand comment was “interesting for this reason: it’s unclear how seriously the Swede takes the 200m freestyle.” NBC, calm down. Have you ever been so hungry you’d “kill for some food.” That doesn’t mean you’re going to murder anyone, and it doesn’t mean you take air or shelter any less seriously. The expression on Sjostrom’s face when they asked about the samba indicates she clearly either didn’t remember saying it or thought American newscasters were ridiculous.
10. Rio promises the “sexiest ever” Olympic opening ceremony, with a source saying there will be “lots of nearly naked women doing the samba. The costumes have been designed to show off as much flesh as possible which means as little material as they can get away with.” They added that, “This is Brazil, after all, where the female body is celebrated like no other place on Earth.” While this is a nice sentiment, it’s also not entirely accurate, considering a recent report revealed a woman is raped every 11 minutes in Brazil. So maybe that wasn’t the best way to frame the opening ceremony, before a major world event where so many women have been training their whole lives to be looked at as more than just a piece of flesh, and more than a wife and mother. They’d like to be recognized as the badass, legendary athletes they are.
The Puerto Rican gymnast became the first U.S.-born Latina to make the team since 1984 on Sunday night. Cuban-born gymnast Annia Hatch did compete in 2004 for Team USA, but that still makes Hernandez only the third Latina in history to make the team and the first Boricua.
Hernandez, who was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, wowed audiences during the Olympic Gymnastics Trials thanks to her expressive performances she’s been nicknamed “the human emoji” and her always on beat floor routine. Not to mention, the 16-year-old is one of the youngest gymnasts on Team USA’s Rio squad.
After her first day at Olympic trials, Hernandez told reporters she didn’t feel extra pressure to succeed because of her heritage but instead felt happy to be able to represent her culture.
“I don’t see it as pressure, at all,” she said. “I see it as such an honor to just in some sort of way represent Puerto Rico and Hispanics and all the girls out there. You know what, I don’t think that being Hispanic, being Black, being white — I don’t think that limits you to anything. I think everyone should just go for what they want.”
And Hernandez certainly is going for what she wants, she’s a rising star on the team due to her charismatic personality and solid performances on the balance beam.
Hernandez won’t be the only Boricua representing the good ole U-S-of-A at Rio, John Orozco will also compete in Brazil for the men’s gymnastics team. The Bronx-born gymnast, who competed on the 2012 London Olympic team, broke down after qualifying for the team in June, overcoming multiple emotional and physical setbacks months prior.
We’ll certainly be looking out for their Puerto Rican star power on their road to Rio.
One man is helping kids find a little joy.
Jason Haney, a construction foreman, hides a life-size cutout he made of Where’s Waldo on site every day for kids who are staying at a hospital next door to find.
“It’s just for the kids to get their minds off of things,”Haney told The Huffington Post. “I just wanted them to have fun.”
Once the children at Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Bend, Indiana pin-point Waldo, Haney is notified and then moves the large cutout to a new hiding spot. It’s become so popular amongst patients and staff, that Haney has even started a Facebook group so people can post pictures of their finds.
Haney, who is working on a $50 million expansion at Memorial Children’s Hospital, got the idea after he and workers got word that a snowman they had built on the site last winter delighted patients and staff. Soon after that, Haney placed a blow-up snowman and a blow-up Sponge Bob Square Pants for the kids to see. Then a co-worker gave him a brilliant idea.
“He came up to me, and was kind of joking around, and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if there was a Waldo up here?’” Haney told HuffPost. “And I thought, ‘Yeah, that’s kind of cool.’ Then the idea sat in my head for a little while and I was like, ‘I’m going to make him, I’m going to do it!’”
Haney took a 4-by-8 sheet of plywood, drew the outline of the iconic children’s book character and cut it out. With the help of his teenage daughter, Taylor — who needed extended care at another children’s hospital when she was 3 years old due due to a stroke — they painted the plywood red and white until Waldo came to life.
In April, Haney debuted Waldo on the site, placing it within eye shot for pediatric patients on the sixth floor to see.
And just like the famous books, Waldo was a hit.
“He’s eight-feet tall and a pain in the butt to move around sometimes,” Haney admitted. “He’s 50, 60 pounds and he’s awkward to carry. But it’s worth it for the kids.”
I am an animal photographer named Grace Chon and these images are from my new photo series titled HAIRY.
I’ve always found before and after photos from dog grooming to be really funny. Usually it doesn’t even look like it’s the same dog in each photo! I had the idea of shooting a photo series that highlighted this extreme transformation. Each dog went way beyond their normal grooming schedule to grow their hair long and shaggy for the shoot. There’s something so funny to me about seeing a dog so shaggy that they can’t even see! I wanted the after photos to be really extreme by showing a type of cut that’s uncommon to most of us here in the United States.
All the dogs have been groomed in a Japanese grooming style, which doesn’t follow the usual breed standard cuts and rules for grooming that we’re used to seeing. Rather, the emphasis is on making the dog look as adorable as possible – cute on steroids- by highlighting the uniquely cute characteristics of the dog. These cuts are works of art – each haircut takes hours as the majority of the styling is all done with hand scissoring. All the dogs in the series were groomed by the incredibly talented groomers from Healthy Spot in Los Angeles, CA. Many of the groomers there specialize in this style of cut and have been trained by masters from Japan. Hope you enjoy!
In Cuba, the ballet is something of a national treasure. The dancers recruited into Alicia Alonso’s storied company Ballet Nacional de Cuba, for example, reportedly make more money than doctors and enjoy a level of fandom reserved only for pop stars in the United States. The Cuban government not only funds ballet training but also subsidizes tickets to ballet performances. Lovers of Cuban dance like to say the adoration and skill is in their DNA.
“You can find anyone in the street here in Havana who can dance as well as most professionals,” Cuba’s Ballet Rakatan choreographer Nilda Guerra told The Guardian.
And in a country historically associated with machismo, it’s not just women enjoying the allure of ballet. “Before, ballet in Cuba was a marginalized extravagance,” the New York Times wrote in 2005. “Now, men in one of the world’s most macho countries clamor to put on dancing tights.” Cuban-born Royal Ballet dancer Carlos Acosta reiterates the sentiment: “I wanted to play football and I was like this reckless child. But when I saw the professionals of the National Ballet School of Cuba perform for the first time, it changed my life forever.”
Photographer Omar Robles has long been entranced by the country’s legacy of dance. He recently traveled to Cuba to explore the men and women who have made ballet such a staple of their lives.
“Over the past two years I’ve devoted my work almost exclusively to photographing ballet dancers within urban settings,” Robles wrote on his blog. “Cuba has one of the top ranked ballet companies, thus why I dreamt of visiting the island for a long time. Their dancers are just some of the best dancers in the world. Perhaps it is because movement and rhythm runs in their Afro-Caribbean blood, but most likely it is due to the Russian school of training which is part of their heritage.”
The resulting photographs, featured on his Instagram, capture some of Cuba’s best talent jumping, twirling and stretching in the streets, providing a beautiful and even surreal glimpse of just how deeply rooted Cuban ballet is. Below is a brief interview with Robles on how he came to photography and how his trip to Cuba impacted his work.
This is probably one of my favorite images from my shoots in Cuba. While I was shooting Daniela Cabrera, this elderly woman got really close to her and just stood there watching her for the longest time. I’m almost certain she didn’t even notice me shooting. It seemed as if she was reminiscing about her own youth. As she stood, I moved back to adjust my composition and include her into the frame. #OZR_Dance || # || #Cuba
What is your background? Where were you born and how did you get into photography?
I was born in Puerto Rico August 1980. I moved to the U.S. in 2011, first to Chicago then to NYC in 2013. I started doing photography when I was finishing my bachelor’s degree in visual arts and communications. Photography was part of my curriculum. When I started photographing, I realized that, like mime theater, photography was an amazing nonverbal communication medium. Yet it allowed [me] to capture fleeting emotions and tell a story for a much longer time than mime theater could.
Speaking of mime theater, can you tell me a little bit more about how Marcel Marceau has influenced your photography?
Marceau had a lot of things to say, amongst them, he would often tell us: “Never get a mime talking, he will never shut up.” It was a joke, but what he meant to teach us from that was that as artists, we needed to be eloquent within simplicity. To be economical with our movements and to be able to evoke emotion rather than to show emotion. This was woven into my artistic DNA, and it is still the way I try to create even when I photograph.
How and when did you decide to pursue street photography with dancers?
It was about two and a half years ago. I had been building a portfolio shooting street and documentary photography. Part of me missed my performance background. Shooting dancers started to be a way of conciliating my performance background with my photography.
What brought you to Cuba?
I was able to go to Cuba thanks to a grant from the Bessie Foundation. I had dreamt about going there for quite some time. Historically, Cuban dancers are some of the best in the world, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to go there. At the same time, Puerto Rico and Cuba have a strong connection.
How would you describe your experience there, in the country and with the dancers?
I can only describe it as life-altering. Their philosophy and respect toward each other is incredible. Culture and art are highly valued and you can see how that makes a difference in the country’s perspective. In spite of all their struggles, the general atmosphere in Cuba remains optimistic. It was that optimism that stuck with me the most. The dancers have a great a sense of self-respect and pride, mostly due to the country’s attitude toward the arts. This also stuck with me.
Bim Adewunmi: The Jamaican 100m breaststroke swimmer has double cause to celebrate after her record-breaking win at the Fina World Swimming championships
A big congratulations to Jamaican swimmer Alia Atkinson, who isa new 100m breaststroke champion. Atkinson completed the race in 1minute and 2.36 seconds at the Fina World Swimming championships in Doha at the weekend, equalling the record set by Lithuanian swimmer Rta Meilutyt. Atkinson is the first ever black woman to win a world swimming title.
Atkinson, who mostly trains in Florida,where she also works with theInternational Swimming Hall of Fame to promote swimming toyoungsters from different communities, looked overwhelmed byher win on Saturday.
According to a 2010 survey byUSA Swimming, 69% of African American children have low or no swimming ability. The stereotype of black people refusing to learn how to swim is a stubborn one to shake, but with Atkinsons win and others such as Justin Lynch (an 18-year-old California swimmer who broke Michael Phelpss 2001 national age-group record last year) perhaps it is beingeroded.
After her win, Atkinson told AFP: Hopefully, my face willcome out, there willbemore popularity, especially in Jamaica and theCaribbean, and well seemore of a rise.
Only women are allowed to live in Umoja. Julie Bindel visits the Kenyan village that began as a refuge for survivors of sexual violence and discovers its inhabitants are thriving in the single-sex community
Jane says she was raped by three men wearing Gurkha uniforms. She was herding her husbands goats and sheep, and carrying firewood, when she was attacked. I felt so ashamed and could not talk about it to other people. They did terrible things to me, says Jane, her eyes alive with pain.
She is 38 but looks considerably older. She shows me a deep scar on her leg where she was cut by stones when she was pushed to the ground. In a quiet, hesitant voice she continues her story. I eventually told my husbands mother that I was sick, because I had to explain the injuries and my depression. I was given traditional medicine, but it did not help. When she told my husband [about the rape], he beat me with a cane. So I disappeared and came here with my children.
Jane is a resident of Umoja, a village in the grasslands of Samburu, in northern Kenya, surrounded by a fence of thorns. I arrive in the village at the hottest time of the day, when the children are sleeping. Goats and chickens wander around, avoiding the bamboo mats on which women sit making jewellery to sell to tourists, their fingers working quickly as they talk and laugh with each other. There are clothes drying in the midday sun on top of the huts made from cow dung, bamboo and twigs. The silence is broken by birdsong, shrill, sudden and glorious. It is a typical Samburu village except for one thing: no men live here.
My arrival is greeted by singing and dancing from the women. They wear traditional Samburu dress of patterned skirts, brightly coloured shirts and a kanga (a colourful wrap) tied on their shoulders. Necklaces made of strings of vividly coloured beads form stunning circular patterns around their necks. The colourful clothing contrasts with the dry air and terrain, and the harsh sun that picks out the dust that fills the air.
Every year thousands of artists get involved with Inktober, where for 31 days of October, you ink a drawing for each day.
I decided to go off the usual prompt and focus on mental illnesses and disorders.