Sexism and Riley Curry

After Warriors MVP Stephen Curry showed up at the post game press conference with his 2 year old daughter, Riley, I became a Warriors fan. Curry is showing the world that he’s a basketball star and a dad, He’s multitasking, something moms are more known for. (Women are “naturally” better at doing several things at once, right?)

I was impressed and touched that the stellar player brought his daughter to work. While Riley tried to grab the mike, made faces, and clowned around, Curry answered reporters’ questions, all along taking obvious delight in his spirited offspring. While I was so grateful for this public image of the Currys, others criticized the player, his daughter, and his parenting claiming Riley should have been better behaved. The criticism reached a point that Riley’s mom, Ayesha, wrote an essay defending her family:

Last week, Riley joined her father in a press conference, and some thought she stole the show. I thought it was beautiful, and I wouldn’t change a thing. There can be more than 50 people and 10 cameras—not counting camera phones—in the room during press conferences, so it can be overwhelming. But my husband handled his duties on the podium with ease and class. And my daughter was who she is—vibrant, spunky, and full of life. I hope she carries this with her through adulthood.

Stephen attends practice every day, and gives his all during the games on an almost-nightly basis. When that’s over, all he wants is to see his family, and on the day of that press conference, our daughter wanted to be with her father. I thought it was beautiful for him not to push his daddy duties to the bottom of the list just because all eyes were on him. I believe you should let your children be children, and don’t be afraid to be a parent, regardless of who’s watching.

Family matters! Our children matter! At the end of the day, when all the lights dim, and the cameras are gone, we are still here as his biggest, loudest, and most supportive cheerleaders. We are also extremely proud that in spite of some criticism, Riley was able to share in that experience with her father and bring joy and laughter into the lives and homes of many all over the world.

I’ve blogged endlessly about how the public prefers that girls are seen and not heard. We like our girl children “quiet” and “well behaved.” We will tolerate “boy energy”– boys wrestling, yelling, or clowning around– because that’s “natural,” it’s just how boys are. What’s “natural” for girls? They’re “artsy” and “verbal.” Girls prefer quiet activities like writing, reading and making pictures, they’re just better at that stuff than boys are.

Those stereotypes are bullshit. I don’t know how to be more clear. They have everything to do with sexism and nothing to do with reality. The question I’ve asked often on Reel Girl is this: If females are artsy and verbal, why throughout human history, are the “great” artists and writers mostly men? The answer by the way, is more sexism of course. It’s OK for girls to be good at art and writing as long as there is no power, money, or status involved.

Quiet kids can be easier to be around. I get it. My three daughters are loud. They are active, play instruments, and sometimes yell. I enjoy silence and solitude, and sometimes my family is challenging for me. Did I mention my husband is a drummer? On occasions, I do validate my kids behavior simply because that’s what I need. When I give my daughters positive affirmation for being quiet and negative for being loud, it’s important to realize I’m doing this for me, I’m valuing my kids and training my kids to act in a way that is useful to me, not because its their “true nature.” My goal is to let my kids be kids. They have their whole lives to be grown-ups, though like Ayesha Curry writes, I hope they never learn to stay quiet to make other people comfortable. (I’m not talking about misbehaving in restaurants, obviously.)

On the blog What If We Were Free?: Riley Curry and Blackgirl Freedom, the writer also delves into the racism around Riley Curry, and this image is captioned:

So, since this didn’t cause a controversy, I guess this is what “respectable blackgirls” look like in public.

kobegame4

AP Tweets NFL had tape, time to fire Roger Goodell

The AP Tweets that the NFL is lying about viewing the video.NFL-Union-Leader-Says-Players-Don’t-Trust-Roger-Goodell

According to the AP, a law enforcement official has proof that not only did he send the tape to NFL execs, he has a voicemail from the NFL offices confirming that the tape was “terrible.”

How much evidence is needed to show that the Commissioner of the NFL needs to go?

Before this breaking news, NOW began circulating a petition under the hashtag #ResignGoodell:

With the release of the second video in the Ray Rice domestic violence case, it has become clear that you are only concerned with the NFL’s image – not the League’s violence against women problem. The following are just few examples that exemplify your failed leadership:

*According to FiveThirtyEight.com, the relative arrest rate of NFL players is fifty-five percent for domestic violence, and thirty-eight percent for sex offenses.
*Since you started as commissioner, there have been fifty-six instances of domestic violence, but players were suspended for a combined total of 13 games and only 10 players were released from their team.
*Days after announcing the NFL’s new domestic violence policy, you said that Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers, who is facing a felony domestic violence charge, could play in the team’s season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
*Greg Hardy is still playing for the Carolina Panthers, even after being convicted in July of choking his former girlfriend and threatening to kill her.
*You have been silent in the face of accusations that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sexually assaulted a woman.
The NFL sets the example for college, high school, middle school and even elementary school football programs – the example currently being set by the NFL is simply unacceptable.

We the undersigned demand that you resign from you position as commissioner of the NFL and that your successor appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and to recommend real and lasting reforms.

New leadership must come in with a specific charge to transform the culture of violence against women that pervades the NFL. That’s the only way to restore honor and integrity to the country’s most lucrative and popular pastime.

Another note on Goodell’s priorities? Last May, when Brown’s receiver Josh Gordon failed a marijuana test, Goodell suspended the player for a full year, but after watching Ray Rice drag his unconscious wife out of an elevator, the commissioner opted for a 2 game suspension.

I signed NOW’s petition and I hope you do to, but I’m also sick of signing petitions. I don’t know we’re sitting around waiting for him to choose to resign. Enough already. Do something right, NFL owners. It’s time to fire Roger Goodell.

Sorry, Janay Rice, but domestic violence isn’t a private matter

After the public’s outraged response to violent video of football player Ray Rice punching his wife, Janay, in an elevator, today she defends him on Instagram:

I woke up this morning feeling like had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend…no one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family.

Janay’s words echo a public domestic violence case in San Francisco where I live, when in 2012, video evidence surfaced that city’s new sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi, had abused his wife, Eliana Lopez. At a news conference after his swearing in, Mirkarimi called the situation “a private matter. A family matter.” A few months later, upset that the Bay Area public didn’t want an abuser as the sheriff, Lopez defended her husband in an op-ed for the local paper:

From the beginning, my public voice has been ignored and treated as irrelevant. Many in the media keep saying that I just don’t get it. But I do get it: I get that I am being used to bring my husband down…Ross has paid an unfair price for his side of our family disputes. I have paid a terrible price, too. So has our son, Theo. The man I married is a wonderful man, a considerate father, and a loyal public servant who is demonstrating his ability to become better in all ways.

Violence is not a private matter. Abusers tend to offend repeatedly, often ending with the death of the woman. When Janay Rice or Eliana Lopez defend the violence, it’s much more than “not getting it” but helps to put all women at risk. Until we all take a stand and recognize that violence against women is not a private matter, it will continue to be epidemic in the USA and around the world. Here are some stats:

 One in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime.

 

Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.

 

Domestic violence is one of the most chronically under reported crimes.

 

Only approximately one-quarter of all physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes, and one-half of all stalkings perpetuated against females by intimate partners are reported to the police.

 

On average, more than three women are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.

While some argue to look away, that watching the video of Rice abusing his wife is voyeurism, Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter has another opinion, writing on her Facebook page:

So, I’ve decided one should watch the video and discuss it with kids who are of an age where they will likely see it, ESPECIALLY boys. Because it is adult men who decided Rice only warranted a 2-game suspension when they saw him dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator. And because when they handed down that suspsension they made this comment, which shows that they really can’t conceptualize what domestic violence really is or what it means to hit a person so hard she goes unconscious: “We respect the efforts Ray has made to become the best partner and father he can be. That night was not typical of the Ray Rice we know and respect. We believe that he will not let that one night define who he is, and he is determined to make sure something like this never happens again.”

 

I agree with her. We need educate the next generation much better than we have in the past about violence against women. If we can’t recognize it, we can’t stop it. Goodell didn’t see the video, do we want to look away too? The Washington Post reports on Goodell’s reaons for ignoring the footage:

The NFL claims in a statement that no one in the league office had previously seen the tape. That is almost surely not the truth, unless the NFL wanted it that way. This is a league that works with Homeland Security, confers with the Drug Enforcement Agency, collaborates with law enforcement and has its own highly equipped and secretive private security arm. You’re telling me it couldn’t get a hold of a grainy tape from an Atlantic City casino elevator? But TMZ could?

 

Of course, as someone comments on Reel Girl’s Facebook page, when Goodell saw the first video, what did he think happened inside that elevator, that Rice kissed his wife on the ear? Last May, when Brown’s receiver Josh Gordon failed a marijuana test, Goodell suspended the player for a full year, but after watching Ray Rice drag his unconscious wife out of an elevator, the commissioner opted for a 2 game suspension.

I’m deeply sorry for Janay and the horrible time that she’s going through, but this isn’t only her problem. As long as Americans look the other way when domestic violence happens, it will never stop being a national epidemic. A crucial next step? Fire Roger Goodell. He doesn’t deserve to be the Commissioner of the NFL.

Update: Janay Rice makes another public statement: I want people to respect our privacy in this family matter.”

Jeffrey Toobin makes a similar point as I did here, writing for CNN: “It’s not up to victims to decide whether their husbands should be prosecuted. Abusers damage the community, not just the women they assault.”

I am not blaming Janay Rice. There are complicated reasons why women stay, and I have no idea what she has to say right now in order to be safe, but again, her abuse is not a private matter. To support that myth of privacy, of abuse being “a family matter” is to support a culture of violence towards women.

Art creates reality: Imagining gender equality in the fantasy world

Some good quotes here. Let me know what you think

Bono on Jay-Z in November’s Vanity Fair:

In music, we love the idea of the screwed-up, shooting-up. fucked-up artist. The one bleeding in the garret having cut his own ear off. Jay-Z is a new kind of 21st-century artist where the canvas is not just the 12 notes, the wicked beats, and a rhyming dictionary in his head. It’s commerce, it’s politics, the fabric of the real as well as the imagined life.

 

Stephen Mitchell in Can Love Last, the Fate of Romance Over Time

It is the hallmark of the shift in basic psychoanalytic sensibility that the prototype of mental health for many contemporary psychoanalyitc authors is not the scientist but the artist. A continual objective take on reality is regarded as neither possible nor valuable in contrast to the ability to develop and move in and out of different perspectives of reality.

 

New York Times, October:

Public narratives about a career make a difference. The most common career aspiration named on Girls Who Code applications is forensic science. Like Allen, few if any of the girls have ever met anyone in that field, but they’ve all watched “CSI,” “Bones” or some other show in which a cool chick with great hair in a lab coat gets to use her scientific know-how to solve a crime. This so-called “CSI” effect has been credited for helping turn forensic science from a primarily male occupation into a primarily female one.

Jezebel reacting to New York Times piece:

The New York Times today would like to suggest that storytelling is powerful, that, in the whole art/life dynamic, it’s life that imitates art, not the other way around, at least not when it comes to kids imagining viable career paths for themselves.

 

Whoopi Goldberg:

Well, when I was nine years old Star Trek came on. I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.

 

In the fantasy world, anything is possible, so why do little kids see so few female heroes and female protagonists on TV and in the movies? While boy “buddy stories” are everywhere you look, why is it so hard to see two females working together to save the world? Why are females, half of the kid population, presented as a minority in fantasy world? Why are TV shows, movies, and books about boys “for everyone” while shows and movies about girls “just for girls?” When we pass on stories to our kids, what are we teaching them about gender, about who they are right now and who they will become?

One more quote for you from neuroscientist, Lise Eliot:

“Babies are born ready to absorb the sounds, grammar, and intonation of any language, but then the brain wires it up only to perceive and produce a specific language. After puberty, its possible to learn another language but far more difficult. I think of gender differences similarly. The ones that exist become amplified by the two different cultures that boys and girls are immersed in from birth. This contributes to the way their emotional and cognitive circuits get wired.”

Eliot believes: “Simply put, your brain is what you do with it.”So let’s all use our brains to imagine gender equality in the fantasy world, take actions to manifest that vision, and see what happens next. I bet it’ll be amazing.

Kids, skis, fashion, and the gender police

Thanks so much for your suggestions about how to respond to the gender police/ kid squad. The response I like best for the times when your kid is asked by another kid “Why are you wearing that?” is “I like it.” As you wrote, that sentence is simple and to the point.

But here’s the challenge. I wrote this in the comment section, but am posting here too for larger discussion. My kids complained bitterly about their ski clothing. They didn’t like it at all. I think that it wasn’t so much the color, but that they were unused to it. They thought it was puffy and baggy. I think it felt odd to them. I told them no one cares what they look like. All that matters is that they are warm and dry. That is the purpose of ski clothing.

The clothing they wore belonged to a friend of mine who owned the house we were staying in. Everything was unusual and different for them. My kids barely see the snow, hardly wear mittens or boots or scarves or frankly, even jackets. Here’s my only pic of all 3 kids together in the borrowed clothes.

3girls

The little pink one actually ended up switching to gray because it fit her better. Here she is in the next day, in action and in gray with one of her older sisters behind her who is also in black and gray.

alicerose

My kids’ discomfort or insecurity or challenge with newness is a big part of the issue with all this gender police stuff. If you have a kid who loves blue, you can support her. She will insist on wearing blue and that’s great. She has her passion behind her. But what if your kid, like so many kids, isn’t sure about what she’s wearing. She doesn’t know. She could go either way, or one of many ways. It’s that state of mind that marketing and peer pressure hones in on and exploits. That’s when they nab you, and I hate that. Because you can act like you’re giving a kid a “free choice” but what choices are free?

Say, for example, there’s a kid with a feminist mom. That kid might wear blue, but it’s a blue dress. And she’ll wear it with jeans. No ski pants at all. Or mittens, for that matter. Here’s my infamous nine year old daughter on our last day of the trip.

bluedress

They’re going to send me back to the Mama Factory for this one. At least she’s wearing her helmet.

 

How do you respond to the gender police, kid squad?

My daughters had two incidents this week where other kids asked them why they had boy stuff. The first time was when my nine year old daughter was in ski school and another girl asked her if she had a big brother because she was wearing boy clothes. My daughter was wearing a black parka and gray ski pants. My daughter told me that she lied to the girl, saying she didn’t have a big brother but she had a boy cousin who was older. The girl was wearing white ski clothes and her skis were covered with a pink design that my daughter thought might be birds.

girlskis

My husband told my daughter, “Just say to her, ‘Did you eat something pink? Because it looks like you threw up all over your skis.”

I kind of like that. I need help from you about how to respond to kids like this. I know exactly what to say to adults but I don’t want to get all intellectual on kids. I also don’t want to shame the kid, even though part of me does. Here are my three daughters, learning how to ski, being brave, taking risks, trying something new, and some little kid makes them think about how they appear? How they look? ARGH.

Have you had similar experiences and what has your kid said or you said that you felt good about?

The next event happened to my six year old daughter. Usually she gets school lunch, but that day, she brought a lunch bag to school that is blue and gray. A boy in line asked her why she had a boy lunch. A boy lunch?

Again, the last thing I want my daughter focusing on is how her lunch looks.

The focus on appearance starts so young with girls, and I hate watching it get programmed into their growing brains. Kids are resilient but girl children get so much attention for what they look like, you can literally see them learn “how I look = attention= love.” Unlearning that message, when it is reaffirmed everywhere for a lifetime, is challenging to say the least.

If there were any way to win this battle of appearance= happiness, maybe I could get behind it. But there is no way for females to feel good about themselves when their identity and power is shrouded in how they look. Even if a woman spends all of her time, all of her money, and all of her mental energy on looking good, say she’s Kim Kardashian, people will still call her “fat” and “a hairy Armenian.” No woman who is in public on any level will escape being called ugly to insult and degrade her. But even say, magically, some woman were so perfectly “beautiful,” she was immune to ever having a bad photo on the internet. That woman will age and then she will be “ugly.” There is no way for a woman to win the “beauty” game. That is why I hate that tiny baby girls are taught by parents, doctors, and teachers that their bodies are valued for how they appear and not for what they do. And one of the saddest things ever is watching little kids do this to each other, because you know who has taught them this– us.

 

Coach Morra’s self-righteous misogyny: He’s scum, he’s a coward, he’s…a girl!

In a public rant, UCLA Coach Jim Morra let his misogyny flag fly and no one called him out on it.

When UCLA safety Randall Goforth’s Twitter account was hacked and the imposter insulted rival players, Gorforth’s coach, Jim Morra, was beyond furious. In a media conference to clear Goforth’s name, Morra let out a deluge of insults, within 2 minutes and 47 seconds calling the hacker: knucklehead, idiot, sickening, lowest form of lifeform, scumbag, coward, and a girl.

Wait…a girl?

Let me get this straight: Morra is thinking of the absolute worst names he can call someone, “lowest form of lifeform” included, and “girl” is his finale? Morra says this in a news conference, no less, and everyone just lets that fly by. Is misogyny that normal in 2012, in America? Not only in the football world but to everyone listening?

Sports talk radio is on frequently in my house. Not to mention regular talk radio. I don’t want my kids hearing an authority figure think of the absolute worst things he can call someone, right after saying the guy should go to jail, and then calling him a girl. What are they supposed to think about that?

Hey, Coach Morra, I understand that you’re angry. But don’t equate unethical behavior and cowardice with femininity. There is no connection. Don’t proclaim your misogyny publicly and self-righteously. That is really scummy.

Good morning. I just want to address one thing and that’s the false twitter stuff going on there that someone attributed to Randall Goforth. It is absolutely 100% not Randall. I’ve talked to Lane Kiffin. He’s talked to his guys. I’ve talked to my guys. It’s a total non-issue. Some knucklehead’s out there trying to stir it up So it’s been shut down. Randall was in tutoring session when this idiot was tweeting. It’s ridiculous. The power of the social media is amazing and when it’s used for negative, in a negative way it’s sickening. So that’s it

(Media – Chris Foster: How do you really feel about it?)

I think it’s a frickin’ joke that somebody would do that. I think you’re the lowest form of lifeform if you would portray yourself as a young man, an 18 year old young man trying to do his best. Trying to stir it up like that. Attributing comments to him that aren’t his. I think he ought to go to jail. That’s how I feel. I think you’re a scumbag.

(Media: what do you think would be an appropriate sentence?)

Bring his ass out here.

(Media: You’ll put him to work?)

We won’t put him to work. He won’t make it very far with this team.

(Media – Foster: I think you’re limiting your chances of him actually showing up)

Yeah, because he’s a coward That’s what cowards do, cowards hide behind print.

(Media – Foster: Print? Excuse me?)

That’s what Twitter is, right? It’s print.

(Media – Foster: Maybe be a little clearer on that , please)

You know what I meant

(Foster laughing: I know)

Yeah, I challenge that guy to come on out here. Whoever he is. He won’t though. He’s a coward. Or a girl, whoever it is.

A day later, Morra acknowledged he went overboard, not with the sexism but in saying the hackster should go to jail. In reporting that, ESPN.com along with everyone else, still didn’t mention the misogyny at all.

Sexism in the Olympics: a retrospective

There’s a photo going around the web:

The caption reads: What if every sport was photographed like beach volleyball?

I’m glad the post is circulating.  I was blown away by the sexism in the Olympics twelve years ago when I wrote about it for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Did you read that part about 12 years ago? I thought things would be better by now.

So has anything changed?

Honestly, the rampant sexism seems even worse to me now than it did then.

I suppose in 2012 more people are actually talking about the sexism, acknowledging it, possibly due to social media. Awareness has to come before change, right? Maybe we’re moving into the awareness phase. That’s the best spin I can come with, because otherwise, things look pretty bad to me.

Here’s what I wrote for The Chronicle in 2000. Tell me if you think things are any different.

In the photo she’s wearing a tight two-piece suit. Legs parted, head thrown back, eyes closed, she smiles.

The woman is not a Playmate of the Month but Olympic high jumper Amy Acuff in Esquire magazine’s cover story/pictorial entitled “America’s Ten Sexiest Athletes.” But on closer examination, Amy is not lying down; she is jumping.

A perusal of recent issues of men’s magazines reveals the latest sex symbol is the female athlete.

Sports Illustrated features Olympic swimmer Jenny Thompson topless with her hands covering her breasts. And Gear has a photo of the Australian women’s soccer team, all players completely naked with their arms and legs placed strategically.

It’s no coincidence that this fascination with women athletes as soft-core porn stars comes right as women are making enormous strides in achieving parity with men in the Olympics. One step forward, two long jumps back.

At the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, more women will compete in more sports with more media coverage than ever before. With 4,400 participants, women will represent a record 42 percent of the competitors. Most exciting, women will be competing in what were once exclusively male domains. New categories for women include weightlifting, pole vaulting, water polo, tae kwon do and the triathlon.

But the slew of wet T-shirt pictorials reveals a powerful cultural bias. The American public is still uncomfortable seeing women as successful athletes and celebrating them for embodying the qualities that athletes possess. Magazines like Maxim are undermining hard-won progress by reducing all female competition to just another beauty contest.

Athletes are valued for what their bodies can do, not how they look.

Athletes are competitive, ambitious and they know how to win, but those attributes just aren’t ladylike. Photographing sports superstars in lace panties and sheer camisoles keeps them safely inside the parameters of womanhood.

While girls learn early on they will be judged for their looks, boys learn that athleticism equals attractiveness. Ever since high school, the jocks were the big men on campus, a guy’s skill made him hot and the best player sealed his status by getting the prettiest girl.

The grown-up world isn’t much better. Male athletes are worshipped for their achievements. Joe DiMaggio won Marilyn Monroe, and that wasn’t because he looked good in his uniform.

For women, athletic skill doesn’t equal desirability. In a capitalist world, the girl with the most money wins. Blond and buxom tennis star Anna Kournikova makes $11 million to $15 million in endorsements, though she has never won a professional tournament. Her earnings equal those of Martina Hingis, who has earned her money by winning 26 career titles, and are much more than 43-time winner Monica Seles’ $7.5 million or defending U.S. Open champ Serena Williams’ $6 million.

Even a pretty female player isn’t valued like a male player. Tiger Woods gets $47 million; Michael Jordan, $40 million, and 70-year-old Arnold Palmer makes $19 million.

The excuse is that men make big money because their sports make more money from television contracts, but it’s all a vicious circle. When women aren’t valued for their skills, aren’t trained properly and aren’t celebrated the way male athletes are, they’re at a severe disadvantage.

While many call this just bad luck, the law calls it illegal. More than 20 years ago, Title IX, which demanded gender equity in sports funding, began to be enforced. A generation of women growing up under it is a major reason why female athletes have been able to make the advances they have.

Even with this law, females make up only one third of interscholastic and intercollegiate athletes.

Summer 2000′s gold medal favorite, Stacy Dragila, was once told women don’t have the upper body strength to pole vault. Today, pole vaulting is the most popular new women’s event, with Dragila holding the world record.

For reaching that record last summer, Dragila got only half the $60,000 prize money that men get for the same competition. But, she was able to generate more income and media coverage for her sport by posing with other track and field women for a sexy calendar.

Athletics should be the one place where there truly is a meritocracy, where women are rewarded for how high they can jump, how fast they can run or how much they can lift. But once again, the rules are different for women.

This summer, along with their shotputs and discuses, female Olympic competitors will need lipstick, good lighting and lingerie if they want to get the gold.

Ban Saudi Arabia from Olympics for not allowing female athletes

Saudi Arabia won’t allow its female athletes to compete in the Olympics. The International Olympic Committe has a policy not to allow participatory countries to discriminate.

So why hasn’t the IOC banned Saudi Arabia?

The Guardian reports:

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday faced calls to ban Saudi Arabia from London 2012 after the country’s Olympic chief ruled out sending women athletes to the Games.

The Saudi Olympic Committee president Prince Nawaf bin Faisal said he was “not endorsing” female participation in London as part of the official delegation.

Sue Tibballs, chief executive of the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF), said that was unacceptable. Tibballs said: “Saudi Arabia’s current refusal to send sportswomen to the Olympics puts them directly at odds with one of the IOC’s fundamental principles as laid out within the Olympic Charter.

“It reads that ‘any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, sex or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement’.

“If today’s reports are to be believed, we would expect the IOC to defend the Olympic Charter and exclude Saudi Arabia from IOC membership and the London 2012 Olympic Games.”

The IOC excluded Afghanistan from the Sydney 2000 Olympics due to its discrimination of women under the Taliban regime. “The IOC needs to send a clear message to Saudi Arabia that they will not tolerate continued gender discrimination,” Tibballs added.

In 1964, South Africa was banned from participating in the summer Olympics in Tokyo because of the country’s racist Apartheid government. That ban lasted until 1992, when South Africa’s white-only government passed a referendum that approved the reform process.

I just blogged about how women’s rights around the world are still considered a ‘cultural’ issue and not a political one.

Women, like all human beings, are entitled to full human rights

A major reason that South Africa ever changed its racist government was because the country was condemned by the global community. Gender Apartheid cannot be tolerated and ignored by the rest of the world or it will never stop.

The Women Sports and Fitness Foundation has a petition on Change.org. As of this posting, it only has 32 signatures. Please add your name to the petition now.