The most competitive sport in the Olympics, I would argue, is storytelling. Everything from the opening ceremony to the national uniforms athletes wear is carefully planned to create a specific story about the unique identity of countries (I'm not sure what story Norway's curling team uniforms are telling, but I know it would for sure involve a sweet soundtrack).
This show explores the spectacle of Olympic narratives. First, figure skating enthusiasts Andi Zeisler and Sarah Marshall talk about media coverage of female figure skaters, specifically revisiting the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan scandal. Then, I dig in to how Olympic host cities make themselves over to create a shinier version of themselves for the international spotlight. Finally, we talk with Russian queer studies scholar Roman Utkin on the impact of the Olympics on LGBT politics in Russia.
Before you tune into the Olympics next week, listen to the show and excerpts below! A transcript is below the cut.
• Germany’s new third-gender law that gives an alternative to declaring babies male or female on their birth certificates may seem positive, but it was not written with any input from intersex activists and it may actually put intersex babies in more danger. [The Advocate]
• La Luz, a great female surf band that Bitch reviewed for our next print issue, was in a serious car accident this week, totaling their van, destroying their gear, and causing injuries to the band members. If you want to help them out, they have a Paypal account set up here. [Seattle Weekly]
• The National Center for Transgender Equality released a new report highlighting the challenges of transgender immigrants. [Colorlines]
• According to the head of animation on the new Disney princess movie Frozen, animating female characters is super hard because they need to have emotions and look pretty. Here's the quote: “Animating female characters are really, really difficult, ’cause they have to go through these range of emotions, but they’re very, very — you have to keep them pretty and they’re very sensitive to — you can get them off a model very quickly. So, having a film with two hero female characters was really tough, and having them both in the scene and look very different if they’re echoing the same expression.” [The Mary Sue]
• Ohio’s abortion restrictions are an example of the pro-life incremental strategy: pushing the boundaries of Supreme Court guidelines without technically violating them. And it’s working: only 11 clinics remain in Ohio, and some more may be forced to close. [NYT]
• Marvel is running a contest based on Thor's Jane Foster: they give high school girls the tools to find and interview professional women in STEM industries, then offer a prize for the best video about the girls' love of science, career hopes, and experience talking to their new mentor. [The Mary Sue]
• Planned Parenthood is suing the state of Iowa for quietly banning the largest telemedicine abortion program in the country, a service that primarily serves low-income and rural women who can't make an in-office visit. [ThinkProgress]
• The NYC Girls Project aims to show young girls that their value comes from "their character, skills, and attributes – not appearance." [NYT]
Being the queerio I am, I have this pass time of regularly Googling queer sex related topics in the news for fun. Hey, who knows, maybe there's some new sex toy I need to learn about #possibleTMI. Well this time, I stumbled across some less-than-awesome news: black women are less likely to get HPV Vaccines than other demographics. According to new research, only 18 percent of black women from 18 to 24 have gotten the vaccine, as opposed to over 30 percent of white women.
• San Antonio, Texas has passed a historic nondsicrimination bill that will ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and veteran status. The ordinance, said the city's mayor, is a definitive statement that "there are no second-class citizens in San Antonio." [BuzzFeed]
• Some enterprising asshole created a site called GhettoTracker, ostensibly so that users can aid travelers by pointing out "which parts of town are safe and which ones are ghetto, or unsafe." After a well-deserved public shaming, the site has been retitled "Good Part of Town," but no worries—so far it looks to be just as racist and horrible as its first incarnation. [Gawker]
• In better-than-usual toy news, Lego unveiled its newest figurine—or "minifig," if you're hip to the Lego lingo—and she's a female scientist! In what's probably just a coincidence, she also looks exactly like my 8th-grade biology teacher, Ms. Rofman. [Fuck Yeah, Feminism]
Look at the set of flasks on her, huh?
Anything you want to add? Let us know in the comments!
Photo: Ma Rainey and her backing band in 1925. Via NotesOnTheRoad.com
When Gertrude "Ma" Rainey—known as "The Mother of Blues"—sang, "It's true I wear a collar and a tie… Talk to the gals just like any old man," in 1928′s "Prove It on Me," she was flirting with scandal, challenging the listener to catch her in a lesbian affair. It might not seem like a big deal to us now, but back then, pursuing same-sex relations could get you thrown in jail.
Today is not just any Wednesday—it's the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. All of today's links are about the impact of the speech and the civil rights issues we still face today.
• What problems still limit equality in our country? This piece sums it up: "It's about systematically cutting off certain groups of people from the right to vote, to earn a living wage, to make choices about their own bodies, to recognize and provide for their families." [Advocate]
• The name of the original march was actually the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." We've made progress promoting civil rights, but many of the march's original goals for creating economic equality have been forgotten. [PolicyMic]