Social commentary

The Accidental Jock

The Accidental Jock
Article by Monica Nolan, Illustrated by Aya Kakeda, appeared in issue Fun & Games; published in 2005; filed under Social commentary; tagged athletes, competition, games, play, She's Got Game, sports, stereotypes.

I’m not an athlete. I’ve always disliked team sports, with their conformist, vaguely fascist associations. While as a child I longed to be a tree-climbing tomboy, I had to admit a preference for tea parties, dress-up, and long afternoons at the library.

Then one summer night, three years ago, I played my first game of bike polo. It’s an elegant game: With mallets in their right hand, players ride their bikes up and down the field trying to whack a grapefruit-size ball between two orange cones. It was instant love.

Sims Like the Real Thing

Sims Like the Real Thing
Article by Tish Parmeley, Illustrated by Aya Kakeda, appeared in issue Fun & Games; published in 2005; filed under Social commentary; tagged games, play, She's Got Game, sims, video games.

The Sims is a game that consists of little more than creating characters and pushing them through the day, making sure they eat, sleep, stay clean, make friends, advance in a career, and buy stuff. The bodily functions are tedious and the rest is everything I hate about life in a capitalist society. So how to explain why I own all seven expansion packs for the first game, as well as Sims2 and its expansion pack, University?

Board of Education

Board of Education
Article by Jackie Regales, Illustrated by Aya Kakeda, appeared in issue Fun & Games; published in 2005; filed under Social commentary; tagged capitalism, competition, games, play, She's Got Game.

Each semester in my American popular culture class, my students and I spend a night playing board games. I start them off with games for small children, like memory cards or Strawberry Shortcake adventure games. They play self-consciously, giggling at the losers who can’t master a game for preschoolers, but loosen up enough to start looking beyond the activity for the deeper meanings.

Muddy Daughters

Muddy Daughters
Article by Andy Steiner, Illustrated by Aya Kakeda, appeared in issue Fun & Games; published in 2005; filed under Social commentary; tagged children, games, independence, parenting, play, She's Got Game.

The year my oldest daughter turned 4, her little sister was born, and that spring, in desperation, I let her play more or less unsupervised in the neighbors’ yard. When I came up for air from the endless diaper changes and nursing sessions, I’d catch a glimpse of her through the family-room window. Sweaty, dirty, and wild-eyed, she ran behind the neighbors’ pack of crazy, good-natured, and mostly unsupervised boys.

Laughing All the Way to the Polls

Laughing All the Way to the Polls
Article by Audrey Bilger, appeared in issue Fun & Games; published in 2005; filed under Social commentary; tagged female politicians, funny, gender roles, Hillary Clinton, humor, jokes, politics, power, presidents, voters.
Do Female Politicians need a New Punchline?

Once upon a time, politics was serious business. These days, however, presidential merit is measured as much by frat-house standards as by traditional approval ratings (apparently, American ­voters would rather have a beer with Bush than with Kerry), and a well-timed joke can sometimes sway public opinion more effectively than a reasoned argument.

Alpha Mom, Omega Journalism

Alpha Mom, Omega Journalism
Article by Juliet Eastland, appeared in issue Fun & Games; published in 2005; filed under Social commentary; tagged breeding, children, media, motherhood, parenting, procreation.

With all the world in strife, one might think the moms of New York would cut each other some slack.... That motherhood, in short, would serve as a safe house where civility and mutual respect rule. Think again. Motherhood, for all its well-documented joys, has become a flash point for envy, resentment, and guilt.

Ralph Gardner Jr., “Mom vs. Mom,” New York, October 21, 2002

"One might think,” in other words, that mothers could comport themselves in a more seemly manner. Because if we don’t get ourselves under control, we’re going to explode.

Cornering the Market

Cornering the Market
Article by Lisa Katayama, appeared in issue Fun & Games; published in 2005; filed under Social commentary; tagged activism, art, politically incorrect, race, racism, slavery, stereotypes, tokenism.
Damali Ayo and the Business of Race

When Damali Ayo was 12, her parents sent her to day camp with 20 white kids. The kids were fascinated by the way Ayo’s hair maintained its texture in the pool. Even after she deliberately dunked her head in the water, they were convinced that black hair doesn’t get wet.

This experience stuck with her as she launched her art career in the predominantly white city of Portland, Oregon. Ayo often felt she was the token black person relied upon for opinions and advice precisely because of her skin color.

Holy Rollers

Holy Rollers
Article by Tammy Oler, appeared in issue Fun & Games; published in 2005; filed under Social commentary; tagged competition, riot grrrl, roller derby, sexualizing, sports, violence.
Is Roller Derby the New Burlesque?

Talk about old school. In skating rinks around the nation, saucy dames are getting together and strapping on old-fashioned quad rol­ler skates to jam, block, and pummel each other. The roller derby revival is on. More than two dozen leagues operate across the country, with an average of 30 to 40 active skaters each (some leagues even boast as many as 60), and many more are in the works.

Out of Bounds

Out of Bounds
Article by Jacob Anderson-Minshall, appeared in issue Fun & Games; published in 2005; filed under Social commentary; tagged biological determinism, competition, gender, gender roles, Olympics, sports, transgender, transsexual.
Do Transsexual Athletes Throw Like Girls?

See that blonde weaving through the strip on Roller­blades?” writes Details magazine in a March 2005 article. “Please puff up her denim miniskirt just enough for us to drink in the full length of her long, bronze legs.”

No, this isn’t a fluff piece on the latest centerfold hottie. It’s Details’ self-proclaimed “extraordinary” article on professional golfer Mianne Bagger, whose biggest challenge this year was winning the right to step onto the green with other women. In her quest to find acceptance in professional competition, Bagger has overcome the resistance of both golf’s governing agencies and other female pros who worried that Bagger would have an inherent physiol­ogical advan­tage. That’s because, although Bagger has played golf since she was 8 years old, she only turned pro in 2003—10 years after what she calls “a transsexual past.”

Ode to Joystick

Ode to Joystick
Article by Joshunda Sanders, Illustrated by Aya Kakeda, appeared in issue Fun & Games; published in 2005; filed under Social commentary; tagged games, play, She's Got Game, video games.

How can you not love Ms. Pac-Man, a woman for whom power pellets, peaches, and pretzels constitute a steady diet?

This is how I feel about her now, but my love for the little yellow gal with the red bow began when I wore bows myself—when I was around 11.

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