Cheryl offers: I’ve been reading the newspaper a lot more carefully ever since Sara blogged about the Fort Hood incident. Remember the strapping brunette? I don’t watch TV so I haven’t seen any of the Olympics; instead I occasionally check the sports section of the newspaper. What grabbed me today was the tremendous success of the US Women’s hockey team. They have now moved to the gold medal finals on Thursday of this week against old rival, Canada. Yesterday they beat Sweden 9-1. This added to their fantastic record in 2010 of outscoring their rivals 40-2. Holy smoke! Did I find this on the front page of the Sports Section as was the men’s win against Canada which only moved them to the quarter finals? No, it was on page 5. That isn’t what grabbed me though. It was the writer’s comment “A scrapbooking party couldn’t have been more competitive.” Say that about the men’s team and see what happens. This type of comment, from a female writer by the way, takes me back to Pat Heim’s book Hardball for Women. She shares “Men respond to strength and a part of your capacity to ultimately lead is a capacity for you to demonstrate your strength.” There are players on this women’s team with degrees from Harvard and job offers from Donald Trump. These women are strong leaders, athletes, and role models for young women. What made me laugh was the image in my head of the ever competitive Donald at a scrapbooking party! Now that’s a LOL.
Sara adds: I do watch television and saw some of women’s hockey…nothing wimpy about those women!! What Cheryl points out, makes me more than a little sad. Kristen Kaufman of The Dallas Morning News is quoted in She wins, You Win by Gail Evans as saying, “Women… are not helping one another to achieve power in the work world – and they may even be putting one another at a disadvantage….” I wonder what it will take for media in the US and Canada to become gender-neutral?
Sara offers: There were many heroes during the horrific shooting at Fort Hood, but one who grabbed our attention is Sgt. Kimberly Munley. She responded to a radio call and was instrumental in taking out the shooter. But I have to tell you…I am so tired of hearing about this “petite blonde.” One report described her as “tiny but tenacious.” Did you know she weighs 120 pounds? I noticed that as I read on that no one described her partner (Sgt. Mark Todd) as a “strapping brunette” or a “stocky, slightly balding but tough” cop. Actually, I have no idea what Sgt Todd looks like – by the way, he hasn’t gotten any photo coverage. But what’s the difference here? No really, what’s the difference? She is described in physical terms, he is not. This is about subtle prejudice; what do those little feminine descriptors really mean? It may just be a cute way to get our attention. Why does it need to be “cute?” Stop asking us to look at Sgt. Munley as though she is little girl. If you read What Men Don’t Tell Women about Business, Christopher V. Flett invests a whole book describing how people take advantage of others through subtle prejudice and manipulation. My message is: We must recognize prejudice in our own language and stop it.
Cheryl offers: A huge THANK YOU to Sara for raising the awareness in me and likely many others!