The Continuation of Value Barriers

I remember the day so vividly. During the time of 2012 Summer Olympics, I was 16 years old. My mother and I had our eyes glued to the television screen as Gabby Douglas took the floor. I remember the two of us being so happy for this great accomplishment, not only for Gabby Douglas, but African American history as well. After Gabby had won I didn’t stay in the room to see her receive her medal. I can recall the next day my mother having a conversation about some comments made by Bob Costas after Gabby Douglas had won. My mom criticized Costas’ comments as well as opened my eyes to ideas I had not noticed before.

During his coverage for the 2012 Summer Olympics through NBC, Costas made the following statement:

You know, it’s a happy measure of how far we’ve come that it doesn’t seem all that remarkable, but still it’s noteworthy, Gabby Douglas is, as it happens, the first African-American to win the women’s all-around in gymnastics. The barriers have long since been down, but sometimes there can be an imaginary barrier, based on how one might see oneself.” 

Bob Costas of NBC photo taken from Examiner.com

Bob Costas of NBC
photo taken from Examiner.com

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The Doping Dilemma

Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entirety of the 2014 season for using performance enhancing drugs (from wikimedia.org)

Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entirety of the 2014 season for using performance enhancing drugs (from wikimedia.org).

Imagine you have an important exam coming up and are currently freaking out about it. The class itself is curved on a bell. In order to earn a high grade, you must outscore other students which obviously raises the stress caused by the exam. Then you hear from a friend in the class someone stole the answer key and supposedly many students have it. The friend offers to give them to you which would undoubtedly help you in your efforts to get a good grade. Obviously, this would not be a moral decision, but everyone else could be cheating and it is in your best interest to even the playing field. A very similar situation to this is faced by athletes everywhere, especially in Major League Baseball. Players face the pressure to use performance enhancing drugs. In contrast, there are moral reasons not to partake. This predicament is an application of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, to which Thomas Hobbes acknowledges the existence. Continue reading

What is it really?

Have you ever thought about what college really is?

In my Organizational Studies class, we read Robert Birnbaum’s piece, How Colleges Work. In it, Birnbaum elaborates on the idea that the collegiate system is an anarchical system, a model that can also be described as an “organized anarchy.” Defined by three characteristics, the system has problematic goals, unclear technology, and fluid participation. Much like some authors like Homer and A. Bartlett Giamatti, Birnbaum connects his argument to a sports match and games. Intrigued by the comparison, his piece proposes an interesting way to think of what college really may be, whether it be an anarchy or other type of dominant power.

“Imagine that you’re either the referee, coach, player, or spectator at an unconventional soccer match: the field for the game is round; there are several goals scattered haphazardly around the circular field; people can enter and leave the game whenever they want to; the entire game takes place on a sloped field; and the game is played as if it makes sense.”

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Feminine Essence

“Once, power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact, power has no sex.”
– Katharine Graham, the first female Fortune 500 CEO as CEO of the Washington Post company

Over the past week, we have been discussing the difference that gender presents in sports and in society. From Professor Mika LaVaque-Manty’s excerpt, “Being a Woman and other Disabilities”, to the “Either/Or” article on athlete Caster Semenya. Most recently a guest speaker, Suzy, an officer in the U.S. Army came to class and spoke of the inequities of being a woman soldier and the unfair, sometimes incensing treatment she has received based solely on her gender. Needless to say this week has been a fountain of new perspectives of how the experience of being a woman can vary. During Thursday lecture the class had to complete an activity in which we had to submit things that were “seemingly arbitrary gender norms.” The list ranged from girls liking pink to men not crying. And although the list of norms seemed to be silly in some cases, others were very thought-provoking. I rarely think about my identity as a woman. I am a Puerto Rican girl whose identity as a Puerto Rican supersedes that of a female. As an ethnic minority I allow my ethnicity to overpower my gender. It really wasn’t until this week that I started to think about the nuances and the complexity of gender roles. We discussed the often- forgotten difference between the biological category of being a male or female with the social category of being masculine or feminine. Both Caster Semenya and Suzy were females who in some way valued their professions more than their femininity. As women in the 21st century, must we abdicate being feminine in order to be more successful and respected in the professional world? Continue reading

Fortune is a Football Team

Russell-WIlson-shower.final

Russell Wilson celebrates the Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX win

This past February, as you may have known, the Seattle Seahawks played the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLIX at Metlife Stadium. I, being from New Jersey, and not wanting to pass up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, found a way to get tickets to this game. As I sat next to my brother and watched the Seahawks score touchdown after touchdown in their 43-8 rout of the Broncos, I couldn’t help but wonder, “How did they become so good?”. The Seahawks were a well oiled machine, on both offense and defense. It was one of the most lopsided super bowls in recent history. However, if a casual football fan was asked why these Seahawks played as well as they did, not many people would know. Their team is not star-studded; there are probably only three players that non-football followers could point out, even after the Super Bowl. So why and how could they be this good? Could it possibly be just good fortune? Continue reading

She’s A Man?

One my most favorite movies is the classic masterpiece, She’s the Man. Starring the geniuses of Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum, this wonderful story explores not only the problems that may arise when you pretend to be your brother, but it provides a tale of how far a girl will go just to do what she wants, despite being discriminated against based on her gender.

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“Non-Athletic Regular Person” I Beg To Differ

In this blog post, the writer talked about how athletes have advantages that are unfair to regular students and how athletes benefit more from all the extra academic help they get which in the writers case makes it “unfair” for regular students. In the article “Either/Or,” Ariel Levy explains how in races, category should be more fair than just male and female. The writer for the “Non-Athletic Regular Person” blog also brought up the Cater Semenya event which resulted in a concept of fairness and divide. It was said that she had an advantage in her reaches due to her inner hormone levels. It is hard to consider what is really unfair and an advantage. But I seriously beg to differ on the point brought up in the “Non-Athletic Regular Person” blog post that athletes have an unfair advantage over regular students.

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