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29 December 2009

Feminizing Women’s Sports Teams

via Sociological Images by gwen on 12/29/09

In the book Strong Women, Deep Closets: Lesbians and Homophobia in Sports, Pat Griffin discusses the pressure on female athletes to constantly prove they, and their sport, are acceptably feminine, for fear of being labeled lesbians. Women who engaged in, and openly enjoyed, sports have often been viewed with suspicion or concern, ranging from beliefs that physical exertion might make them infertile to a fear that women’s sports teams serve as recruiting sites for lesbians. Some college coaches even try to get young women to play on their teams by hinting to their parents that other schools their daughter is considering are known for having a lot of lesbians and it might not be the “type of environment” where they want their sweet little girl to go.

Female athletes, and women’s sports teams, thus often feel a lot of pressure to prove their heterosexuality to quell homophobic fears and to make women’s sports appealing to a broad audience. One way to do so is to dissociate themselves from lesbians. Another is to emphasize the femininity of female athletes, signaling that they are, despite their athletic abilities, still physically attractive to, and interested in, men.

Stephen A. sent us a link to Florida State University’s women’s basketball website that made me think of Griffin’s work. The Meet the Team segment of the website includes images of the women dressed in formal dresses, with make-up and hair done, posing in or on limos:

Similarly, Texas A&M put out this promotional media guide, which features an image of the male coach surrounded by the team in sexy clothing:

TexasAM

While these types of materials have traditionally been for the media, they’re increasingly used as recruiting tools for players as well. Those who produce them argue that they’re just trying to put out something distinctive that will set them apart. And as Jayda Evans at the Seattle Times says, it’s not like men’s sports teams are never photographed off the court.

But as many researchers have pointed out, and as Evans herself discusses, female athletes are often photographed and discussed in ways that largely erase their athletic abilities. When men’s teams are dressed up for publicity materials, it’s usually for one or two images that are outnumbered by ones that highlight their sports participation. For female athletes, images that exclude any connection to sports often become nearly the entire story. And despite the fact that the creators often stress their interest in doing something unique and distinctive to set themselves apart, there is a very common set of elements in promotional materials for women’s sports: clothing, make-up, hair, and poses that sexualize the players and implicitly include a reassurance to parents, potential players, and fans that the women are pretty, charming, and feminine, regardless of what they do on the court or the field.That is, they are blending masculinity and femininity by being athletic and pretty, not giving up their femininity altogether.

Of course, part of an acceptable performance of femininity is showing that you want male attention, and that you actively try to make yourself appealing to men. So while these materials might do many other things, they also carry a particular message: these girls like to pretty themselves up, and that should reassure you that it’s not a team full of lesbians.

The effect of all this is that female athletes may feel pressured to keep their hair long, wear make-up even on the court, and emphasize any relationships they have with men or children to “prove” they are straight, and a lesbian who likes makeup and sexy clothing may face less suspicion and stigma than a straight woman who doesn’t.

Also see our posts on Serena Williams’s ESPN cover, Candace Parker “is pretty, which helps,” groundbreaking female sailor is also pretty, sexualizing female Olympic athletes, diets of champions, media portrayals of female athletes, and valuing dads in the WNBA.

(View original at http://contexts.org/socimages)

Posted via email from jimuleda's posterous

..if not here, where?

via Gort42 by Gort on 12/29/09

The Dunmore town council shot down a Methadone Clinic because of zoning, parking and pedestrian issues. But that is not the real reason according to Not Cease and NEPartisan. It's a classic case of NIMBY (not in my back yard). We went through this argument in Plains Township a few years ago and the NIMBY crowd was led by the then Mayor of Wilkes-Barre Tom McGroarity. In the end the place they put it was zoned for a medical treatment facility with a Dialysis Clinic next door so the Plains Twp fathers/mothers and interlopers from other towns couldn't block it.

As far as I know there has not been one police call to the Plains Twp Methadone Clinic since it opened.


People make stupid decisions in their lives. Does that mean you just turn your back on them when they want to make it right? I'd rather have someone hooked on methadone than heroin living on my street. And believe me, they live on YOUR street.

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

27 December 2009

CCAC Job Prep Courses

CCAC to put workers on career fast track

Buzz up!

 

By Mike Cronin, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, December 27, 2009

Related Articles

·         Demands high for new job skills

 

Welders and EMTs, please apply.

Wastewater operators and information technology-support specialists, too.

"The jobs are on the state's high-priority list," said Judy Savolskis, interim vice president for work force development at Community College of Allegheny County. "If you're trained in one of these areas, you will probably find a job."

Beginning next month, CCAC will offer accelerated-certificate, diploma and other types of programs in 18 career areas, including those, said Mary Frances Archey, CCAC's vice president for learning and student development.

"When we started to see the economic conditions in the area, we knew individuals wanted to get back to work much faster than a traditional community-college student who takes semester-long classes," Archey said.

Students can acquire skills, or "retool" existing ones, in three to six months, Savolskis said.

That's a lot faster than many students perhaps thought they could obtain necessary training, said David Hoovler, CCAC's spokesman.

The compressed programs ensure that working people, and people looking for work, aren't "sidelined longer than is really necessary," Hoovler said.

"This program could change people's minds," he said. "It shows them what they can do."

Two programs are almost booked, Archey said: Phlebotomy, the practice of drawing blood, and welding.

Welding is so popular that CCAC offers a class that begins around midnight and continues until roughly 3 a.m., Savolskis said. Students can take welding during mornings, afternoons and evenings five days a week -- and several hours on Saturdays, she said.

"The thing about welding is that it is used in all types of occupations, from working on bridges to the automotive industry," Savolskis said.

Other areas, such as IT, offer people the opportunity to update abilities to current standards, she said.

"That's important for the employer and the employee."

CCAC officials plan to assess the effectiveness and popularity of the condensed schedule and the classes offered, and then decide whether to continue it, Archey said.

"It's possible we'll keep a certain portion of this format all the time. We're already talking about what we're going to do in the summer and next fall."

PROGRAMS

Computer and Business Programs

• Basic Computer-aided Drafting -- South campus (West Mifflin)

• Information Technology Support -- North campus (McCandless)

• Project Management Boot Camp -- West Hills center (Oakdale)

• Property & Casualty Insurance Career Preparation -- South campus

Health Care and Child Care

• Child Care -- Allegheny campus (North Shore)

• Emergency Medical Technician -- Allegheny campus

• Home Health Attendant -- Downtown center (Stanwix Street)

• Medical Office Manager -- Allegheny campus

• Nurse Aide Training -- Downtown center or Boyce campus (Monroeville)

• Phlebotomy -- Boyce campus

Green Programs

• Drinking Water Operator -- West Hills center (Oakdale)

• Wastewater Operator Certificate Program -- West Hills center

Manufacturing and Technical Programs

• Advanced Manufacturing/Integrated Systems Technology "Mechatronics" -- West Hills center (Oakdale)

• Electrical Motor Repair -- West Hills center

• Electrical Systems -- West Hills center

• Mechanical Systems -- West Hills center

• Programmable Electrical Controls -- West Hills center

• Welding -- West Hills center

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

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