FeminismMedia & Technology

Why This Mom Has Banned the Olympics in Her Home

I was really looking forward to watching the Summer Olympic Games with my kids. As an athlete (marathoner and yoga teacher) and a mom, it’s so amazing to watch them get excited about sports and what they might accomplish some day. To be honest, I don’t think that any of my children have the potential to compete at a world level in any sport save for tantrums, dance parties, and whining, but anything that gets them interested in being active and setting goals rocks.

But, then I started watching NBC’s coverage. The messages have been, well, let’s just say, not appropriate for most audiences.

It started during the opening ceremony where Gisele Bundchen was described by the male announcer as “one of Brazil’s most recognizable exports.” No mention of her accomplishments. She’s a person, not a commodity, asshole. Then, he commented on how emotional she was. Vomit. Of course she’s emotional, she’s at the Olympics, in her home country doing her job for what may be the last time.

There have been the yucky examples of everyday sexism. After the U.S. Women’s Gymnastic team fiercely owned the qualification round, a commentator said they looked like they “might as well be standing in the middle of a mall.” Ummm. No way would you say something like that about the men’s team after literal world domination. How about highlighting how all four competitors on floor scored so high that the U.S. took three of the top four spots? Or Simone Biles’ near perfect vaults, which were among the most difficult in Olympic history and her equally impressive beam performance? Or Madison Kocian’s spectacular bar routine (her only event at the games, which she nailed)? Or Aly Raisman’s amazing performances on floor and vault? Or even how despite finishing third in the round, Gabby Douglas won’t get a chance to defend her gold medal, because the U.S. can only send two to the all around finals? I also think it’s worth noting how the team has great representation of badass women of color. Nope, let’s be cutesy and talk about the mall. I mean, that’s what girls like, right?

parentsNBC commentator Al Trautwig’s now deleted tweet about Simone Biles’ adopted parents not being her parents was insensitive and weird. Her adopted parents are her real parents, fuckwad, not her grandfather and his wife, as you kept referring to them during the games. This not so subtle racism is gross. Fuck you. And why even focus on this when you are talking about one of the most amazing gymnasts at the games? Her accomplishments are not less important than the fact that her mother was an addict.

CaptureAnd then, when Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszú won a gold medal and broke the world record in the 400-meter individual medley, NBC sportscaster Dan Hicks called her husband (and coach) “…the man responsible for turning his wife into an entirely new swimmer…”” He is her coach and husband. He is not the person responsible for her medal or her swimming achievements. SHE is the person responsible for her badassery.

deleckySpeaking of swimming, let’s talk about the ridiculous claim that badass warrior goddess Katie Ledecky swims like a man. First, trying to diminish the accomplishments of one of (if not the) greatest athletes in the world, because she’s a woman is horrible. Second, she’s a woman, she swims like a woman. And she is amazing. Fuck you.

Other athletes like Corey Cogdell-Unrein, who won her second Olympic bronze medal in trap shooting, are only notable, I guess, because their husbands play football. If she were a dude, the Chicago Tribune would probably celebrate a hometown hero, instead of pointing out that the hometown hero’s wife did something neat. Their tweet didn’t even mention her name. Their headline didn’t mention her sport: “Corey Cogdell, wife of Bears lineman Mitch Unrein, wins bronze in Rio.”

And because Twitter brings all the MRAs to the yard, there’s this dude mansplaining cycling to an injured Annemiek van Vleuten.13920990_10209455699019692_4411064201771244231_n

Women athletes make up 45% of the competitors at the Rio Games. It should be a great opportunity to highlight to our daughters (and our sons) how women can not only be athletes, they can be the best athletes on the planet. Instead of the media focusing on performance and achievement, a recent Cambridge University Press study shows huge gender divides in the language of sport. Women (and not men) are often noted for their marital status, motherhood, or age, rather than their ability. While men are “the best,” or “dominate,” women “strive” and “participate.” Fuck that noise.

The coverage of the games is not only lacking, it is failing, big time. And I don’t want my kids to think that’s okay. I don’t want to normalize sexism and gender roles in our home. So, for now, while we should be gathered around the TV watching amazing women make history, I’m screening clips without NBC commentary to see if they are suitable for young audiences. And that is an Olympic-level tragedy.

Featured Image Credit: U.S. Gymnastics Team

Other Images: Twitter


Steph is a mom, stepmom, freelance writer, and advocate. When she's not busy writing, chasing kids around, cleaning up messes, and trying to change the world, Steph enjoys snuggling, making pies, politics, reading paranormal fiction, yoga, and fitness. A fully recovered natural parent, Steph now trusts science, evidence, and common sense to lead the way. She has been actively involved in the reproductive and women's rights movements for more than 20 years and is a passionate pro-choice feminist. Her writing can be found on Grounded Parents, Romper, The Cut, and other print and online publications

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  1. Sorry but this is the dumbest thing I’ve read. If you are so offended by this, don’t ban your children from watching sporting events were their heart and souls go into every heat, match, game, ride, routine, etc. Here’s a thought, since you think you’re one of those holier than thou parents, MUTE THE TV. There, problem solved.

    1. WOW, what a well-thought out comment. /sarcasm. The word ban is used as a literary device known as hyperbole. If you read the article, you would read that we are watching without the commentary. I love the Olympics, but I hate sexism and racism. I don’t want to expose my children to any more casual sexism than they will certainly receive existing in our culture.

  2. I do think that some of the commentators have said obvious things that are derogatory towards females athletes but I completely disagree with your statement about Katinka Hosszu and saying that she alone is responsible for her medal and her swimming achievements. I’ve coached quite a few Ironman triathletes as well as shorter distance triathletes (currently I’m coaching my wife to her first Ironman). I am as committed to their success as they are. I can promise you that her husband spends more time coaching her than she spends training. She may be doing the workouts but he’s the one that is periodizing her training (both in the pool and out), making sure she is resting adequately, he could be tracking her nutrition (I don’t know if he is), adjusting her training/racing schedule as needed for injury and more rest, helping her through physical and mental struggles, he probably also performing swim stroke analysis. But you’re right he had nothing to do with her success. He only adjusted her training paradigm and turned her from a 4th place 400 IM swimmer  in London to not only a gold medal 400 IMer but a world record holder.

    I assume that you have never had a coach train you for any of your marathons otherwise you would be able to recognize the time and effort that they put into your training.

    1. Thanks for mansplaining. I didn’t say that he didn’t put effort into her training. Are my college professors responsible for my graduate degree?

      1. You are defensive aren’t you?

        I wasn’t “mansplaining” I was “coachsplaining”. You obviously don’t understand the role a coach plays in an athletes life so I was trying to help you understand that side of things.

        Could you have gotten your graduate degree without them? No. So they did bear some responsibility for your degree.

        1. oh sweet baby Jesus you’re thick. First she’s unaware of how coaching works, then she’s defensive. Oh yea, you’re TOTALLY not the problem here. Just a chick who don’t know coachin’.

          I guess since your mom gestated you and used her own blood and cells to make your brain anything you do with it is attributable to her. Do try not to disappoint her with your mansplaining anymore, k?

          1. You’re going to start name call huh? Great. Have fun with that. I won’t take you’re bait.

            Let me explain how you are now misconstruing what I said. Believe it or not I am one of the least sexist people that you will ever meet. I have supported my wife through a great many things including getting her PhD. So don’t even try and implicate me as some misogynist that thinks all women should be in the kitchen.

            Not everyone can understand how coaching works. This is no fault of hers. So for those that don’t know, they shouldn’t really make any comments about how responsible a coach is for an athletes success.

            I don’t even know what point you’re trying to make in the final paragraph.

            “A chick who *doesn’t* know coaching”

        2. The author, an athlete herself, obviously knows what coaching is. You obviously don’t know what mansplaining is, so I will spell it out for you: When a female author points out that a woman’s achievements are being undermined by the implication that a man is really the only reason she’s great at what she does, and then another man patronizingly explains that said author is wrong because x (a facile, irrelevant litany defending the Greatness of the Man), it’s called mansplaining. This behavior is frustrating for women because it happens all day long, day after day, and some men can’t get out of their own egos enough to recognize and acknowledge it. This is why the author’s frustration, incorrectly characterized by you as defensiveness, is justified.

          1. If she had ever had a good coach then she would understand the time and commitment that a coach puts into their athlete.

            The sports commentator never said that her coach was the only reason for her success. He is a big part of it though. You can’t deny that. All the people that are taking this quote are adding the “only” or “all” to the responsibility when it’s not there. I know first hand how much an athlete sacrifices to reach a new level in their ability.

            You do the same thing in your comment. You say that the explanation of her success is solely due to her male coach. No one ever said that. You did. What I’m trying to explain here is that a coach, male or female, has a great deal to do with an athletes success.

            I’m not even touching on the misogyny that you think I am. I’m only approaching this from a coaching standpoint. I can’t say that I fully understand the struggle that women have in athletics or in the work place since I’m not a women but I do understand that it’s there and that it shouldn’t be.

            My comment was not meant to offend or down play the struggles that women face each day. it was to simply point out that no athlete can achieve Olympic level success without a highly dedicated and knowledgeable coach and to discount that is a great disservice to her, or any other, coach.

      2. Heres a little “chicksplaining” for you. Partially your professors are responsible. They taught you the info needed to pass the courses. They prepared you for a career in your chosen field. Hell Im sure the professors and school record determined where you choose to go to graduate school. Why?  Because those professors apparently turned out students you whose success you wished to emulate.

        1. I don’t understand what you’re trying to say in that last sentence. Could you please explain it better? It’s the “students you whose success…” part that I don’t understand.

          1. I was watchin the olipics too, and i saw the same things Steph saw, specialy the coach husband, yes he helpt her get where shes at put competing was all her, and the credit should if been hers but they had to add the husband or coach, in other words way the other coaches from all other competitions were not mention. I am a soccer coach, and i coach many soccer players, and i can say i am very good at it because all my players come through and are great, but there are some players who go above and beyond, and that is all on them, not me, .y job is to give them the skills and motivate them to push them self to success, what they do with it, is all them. And Steph is right on how the olimpics were talk about by the commenters. It was sexist and in some cases rasist too. Maybe not on purpose, but it was. Excuse my typing if any errors as spanish is my main language.

          2. It was a typo. It was supposed to say “students whose success you wish to emulate”. Meaning you aren’t likely to attend a graduate school that puts out people who cannot get hired in their chosen field.

        Steph – My apologize for calling you defensive. I took your comment as a shot across my bow and I came or swinging.
        My intent was to not even touch on the misogyny point of your article. I’m only approaching this from a coaching standpoint. I can’t say that I fully understand the struggle that women have in athletics or in the work place since I’m not a women but I do understand that it’s there and that it shouldn’t be.
        My comment was not meant to offend or down play the struggles that women face each day. it was to simply point out that no athlete can achieve Olympic level success without a highly dedicated and knowledgeable coach and to discount that is a great disservice to her, or any other, coach.

        1. On this we definitely agree. I love my coaches. I think it’s awesome that you support your spouse in competing and play this important role. Goodness knows I would not have been able to race without the support of my husband, parents and my tribe of badass warrior goddesses who cheer me on. Cheers.

      1. Interestingly, I had a conversation with our 10 year old today about this. She said, “This is why I don’t like sports.” 🙁 I teared up a bit. We absolutely need to have conversations about sexism and show them examples. I would rather it not build up on their psyche through osmosis, though, if I can help it.


  3. Steph, you overzealous, miserable $&@%. Grow the fuck up and find something to do. You’re obviously bored and I feel sorry for your kids.

  4. 23scadoo, she’s right, you’re wrong. I get where you’re coming from, I do. But you are missing the point, which is that when women achieve something great, the media tends to fob it off as something a man is responsible for. Case in point, Hillary Clinton makes history by being the first woman to be nominated as a presidential candidate, and newspapers put up photos of Bill under the headline. How often do you see coaches of male athletes being pointed out as the reason for their success, while completely disregarding the triumph of the athlete? You don’t, because as a society, both here and globally, women are still treated as objects, as decorations and not capable of achieving anything on their own. We are considered adjuncts to men, and our purpose is to serve men whether by being sexually available and attractive (but never sluts or whores), bearing children and keeping house. Any other attempt to achieve any kind of recognition or achievement labels us as aggressive or bitchy-for exactly the same qualities as men possess and are lauded for. Congrats on being a great coach, but in the end, you are not the one competing and you are not the one who wins or loses. Credit should go to coaches, sure, but not when it takes away the accomplishment of the athlete by reducing her to a product of someone else’s effort and not her own.

    1. I agree with your point. Women have historically been oppressed and not given the same opportunities for success as men have.

      My issue is only with the Hisszu comment and only from a coaching perspective. No ones ever said that her coach was the only reason that she has been successful but the backlash has said that she alone is the reason for her success which is not true.

      Have you read anything said by Hisszu herself? She has also said in many ways that her husband/coach is responsible for her success.

  5. I’m thinking the better idea here is to watch the olympics with your kids and then have a conversation with them about why the coverage and social media reactions are wrong.  Get them understanding what is right and wrong now, with a prime, real-time example.

    1. Totally, and I can do this better if I screen it first. On live TV it happens so quickly and I can’t always be available. Young children take so many things for granted and as truth.

  6. Let’s just start by saying I firmly believe parent how you see fit, but you wrote a blog to share your feelings so I figured I can share mine. It’s gonna be long but hopefully someone, anyone ?, reads it.

    Letting your children listen to comments you deem sexist won’t teach them they can’t do things, but it just might teach them what not to say or accept in society. Hell it might encourage them to go out and prove all these “sexist” announcers wrong.

    * the comment “they might as well be standing in the mall” was in reference to the team being so prepared, so heads and tails above the competition that even on the largest stage of their lives, they are unbothered. The team has teenaged girls.  Not sure if you’re aware but teenaged girls traditionally love the mall. Every single comment you made after that regarding their achievements was shared numerous times through out the night by the announcers

    *  the adoption comments really hit home from me as I am adopted. The story should’ve been shared as a backstory on an athlete. It was in no way racist, it was purely ignorance.

    * Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu participated in the Olympics in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. 2016 was the first time she medaled. The difference between those times and this one??? Her husband. Her coach. Athletes need coaches, whether they are male or female. Also they always show coaches. Her husband was overjoyed for her. What’s wrong with that?

    * the comment “Katie Ledecky swims like a man” was followed up with “no she swims like Katie Ledecky!”  But just so we are clear she’s the best woman out there but she’s no where near a male swimmer in speed. You may not like that fact but a fact it is.

    * As far as mentioning children, spouses etc Michael Phelps has had his fiancé and son mentioned every five minutes. Announcers have claimed they are what changed and focused him for this Olympics. How sexist of them.


    It would seem to me if we are trying to raise accepting, goal-oriented, take no shit kids, the more they are exposed to, the more they are shown the diversity in people’s opinions, the more likely we are to raise kids that don’t need safe spaces to deal with college classes and Internet posts.

    1. As a parent I get to choose what media I screen first for content or censor for me very youn children. Just like you do. It’s impossible for me to keep up with the poor commentary and casual sexism presented live, so I chose to watch it first and provide context.

  7. I’m female, so wouldn’t have been “mansplaining” and I had very similar thoughts to your post as 23scadoo. In fact NBC explained in detail how it was her husband who got her back in the water. I’ve been impressed with some of their commentary that shows that they are not just athletes, but humans as well. 8 yrs ago maybe even 4 yrs ago, we would have not heard near as much about the depression some of these athletes have experienced.

    But hey what do I know, I’d be more concerned with allowing my children to read your post than watching the Olympics.

  8. I think that announcers’ commentary on the Olympics should be sparse. One of the nice things about the Olympics is that the events mostly speak for themselves. It isn’t baseball, where commentary is necessary to fill up loads of otherwise empty moments. To the extent the announcers speak at all, they should minimize editorializing as much as possible.

    Too bad its not like a home professional sporting event, where you can mute the TV and turn on the radio instead.

    1. Or, I don’t know, very clearly related to what we might be seeing and not understand. “That move is called the … It has a difficulty rating of … because …”

      1. Yes! Could you imagine that? I would love to hear exactly what the judges are looking for in, say, the floor routines. Because while they all looked awesome, the judges were clearly deducting points for something. Perhaps Olympics announcers don’t know very much about the sports they are covering, and so babble about other things.

    1. True, but if things were truly gender neutral, she wouldn’t have even made it to the semi-final round.  So, saying she swims like a man isn’t an insult at all.

  9. Yeah we should raise all our children as gender neutral until they are old enough to choose. My spawn is currently awaiting it’s gender selection party in a few years. Until then we give it dirt to play with and dress it in potato sacks. Seriously, men and women are different, deal with it for fucks sake…

    So fun fact, girl swimmers are faster than the boys in their younger years. Not until they start hitting teenage years do you see the gap.

    In other news, well…news media is trash and so are the announcers. Just ignore them.

    One slightly mean comment, being a “marathoner” aka “Finisher” and yoga person is really not the same caliber as an Olympic athlete. I know a lot of triathletes would beg to differ, but lets be honest, being an adult and training at that level is a big deal. Sure we can relate on some level, but lets please keep them on another level. Training for a long time doesn’t make you an automatic “super athlete”.


  10. Boy, do I hear you! I suggest you try and find a CBC broadcast to watch instead. I’m Canadian, and watched NBC for the first time this morning as the swimming prelims weren’t on CBC yet. OMG, I was yelling at the TV, and telling the idiot MALE sportscasters to “Shut the Fuck Up!” (If you knew me, you’d know that that language is totally out of character for me). Watching the WOMAN’S 200M free relay, there was more time spent discussing Michael Phelps, than commentating on the actual race. The heat that the Canadian women were in, and placed third in, there was one, perhaps two mention/s of Canada in the whole 8 minutes. But several minutes of discussion about Michael. I guarantee that the CBC version discussed the US women in their heat, and I’m also sure that they wouldn’t be talking about male swimmers for most of the telecast!

    NBC swimming commentators EPIC FAIL!

  11. A few quick thoughts for your consideration:

    The Olympics is about the human body in motion and competition. That’s what a lot of the comments are naturally going to be about.

    Host country, Brazil is the largest nation in the Latin world. Latin culture and countries where Catholicism dominates, are relatively more patriarchal than the U.S. The NBC folks know there are millions of Americans of Latino Heritage watching their broadcast.

    All entertainment television – I’d argue all commercial television – is about driving target demographics to your program for the benefit of commercial sponsors. Watch the commercials: fast cars, beer, financial services run about every break.

    Past stats show a majority of viewers of Olympics competition are women. But networks love to market to men in the 25 to 55 age bracket because they statistically still make many of the major buying decisions in the U.S. 

    The Opening Ceremony is a bit different because it is television aimed overwhelmingly at female audiences. It to a large extend showcased Brazilian history and culture – beautiful and captivating – and the most sexualized in this Hemisphere.

    Gisele Bundchen has had a wonderful career and made near a billion dollars displaying her incredible body in lingerie, swimsuits, and sometimes less. In her field, physically beautiful women are very nearly commodities.

    And “Steph” must have either missed or chosen to omit reference to NBC’s Meredith Vieira and Hoda Kotb’s very unprofessional, sexist and fawning comments about the Tonga flag bearer in the parade of nations. To say nothing of their girlish gossipy critiques of all the wardrobes.

    Put aside Steph’s resort to vulgar insults when trying to advocate respect for women, or her declining to identify herself (understandable), she needs to hop down from her high horse and stop bitching. Like Lady Godiva her naked bias weakens her writing, and her argument has no clothes.

      1. Thank you for your reply.  I completely understand that you would question my use of quotation marks.  As I may question whether Steph is a nom de plume or your real name.  It is apparent also that you do not understand expository writing on a fully developed level yet.  I hope that you do soon.  I am happy to assist you, as my intent in these forums is to raise the level of civil discourse on par with where grown up parents ought to be, if for no other reason than to set good examples for their children.  Please reply if you have the Ego (gender irrelevant) to do so.


    Wow, this thing is a real stretch.  I’d say you don’t understand what “color commentary” is, but you’d probably think that would be a racist statement.  Did you watch the coverage for the men’s sports?  Same kind of comments about coaches, wives, things that guys like, etc.


    Also, guess what – men and women swim differently, men and women are not the same.  They perform other sports differently too, you let a technical comment about swimming  (The gallop stroke requires tons of core strength, the sort many male swimmers possess but few females do.) become a sexist remark?

    By the way, let’s look at your own profile.  How dare you say cutsie stuff like “chasing kids around, cleaning up messes …and making pies”   I wonder what you would have said if you had heard that commentary about a female Olympic athlete.  We want to hear about your accomplishments!

    I guess just don’t let your kids read it.



    1. Umm, the difference is that I wrote those things about myself. I can like those things. They are wonderful accomplishments. I can be cutsy. Your point?

      1. Open up your mind and be intellectually honest with your reply.  Let’s say Steph is going to the Olympics to compete.

        She fills out a bio sheet, on it she writes “When I’m not training, I’m chasing kids around, cleaning up messes, and making pies”

        During your event, while you’re doing your archery or whatever, and they are talking about the competition, and your performance, the score, and your competitors, the color announcer says “When not training, Steph is chasing kids around, cleaning up messes, and making pies”  reading right off your bio sheet – from your own words.  His intent, and HIS JOB is to humanize you to the audience by providing some insight –  so they can imagine you outside of the competition.

        Don’t you think the social justice warriors would be upset?  Should they be? Wouldn’t you be?  I’m guessing you would be based on your article.

        The Athletes PROVIDE that information.



  13. As moms we all have the right to censor what our children watch, however,  I can’t help but hear your own underlying sexism. Using words like “mansplaining” or being mad when a woman’s emotions are pointed out, is sending a wrong message. I can’t help but be disappointed when I see overt feminists nowadays that can find sexism in a group of lesbian peace corps volunteers. It is this reason I tell my daughters to be wary of feminism.  To me feminism has all but ruined society. Yes, it may have gotten us higher wages but it has led to thinking that women don’t need men at all. The family unit has suffered a great loss. Instead of women embracing the most important job in the world,  they are cringing at the very thought of loving home and family. It is sad to see the amount of man-hating,  penis envy that goes on around me. Loving being a girl, whether you’re an athlete or pageant queen is ok and we have to send that message to our kids, boys AND girls.

      1. But you failed utterly in doing so.  Judging by the number of critical and intelligent responses to your original post, you have convinced no one of your position.  If persuading was not your goal; if communicating with an audience to invite a diverse dialog was not your goal, then your time may be better spent penning entries in your diary.  If your message was exactly what you wished to convey, you are left alone as a satisfied and aggrieved person who just needed to get some @#$&/! off her chest so she could deal with her kid(s) peacefully, have another glass of Chardonnay, and get another restless night’s sleep.  Hope tomorrow is brighter for you.

        1. Jimmyh, you are wrong.  But I bet you enjoy the attention that this conversation has created.

          I often think about these issues as the father of two girls.  I found much in this commentary that resonated with my own thoughts.  I especially enjoyed the Cambridge University Press language article, which I think has a nice empirical base for some of the comments made here.  Thanks for posting.

  14. If you google a country by the name of Tonga (a place I will admit that I’ve never heard of before this year) the first results you will get are for an oiled up male athlete being fawned over relentlessly by female news anchors, including one specific video of several hosts applying oil directly to his body while swearing they are listening to him tell the story of his journey to the Olympics. A whole country is now fully represented by an oiled up set of abs trying to be human while everyone treats him like meat.

  15. This saddens me. Tonight while watching the gymnasts NBC did a promo commercial with 2 of the gymnasts. The girls both shared their stories of sacrifice, training but also how this was their life’s goal. This was their dream and they are living it!! What a powerful message for your kids to hear.

  16. As a woman navigating my way in, around and through the glass ceiling, I get it. I see it. I hear it. I work for government in a state where women are still very much the minority in the legislature. It get disheartening sometimes. I have been bursting with excitement and joy for our lady Olympians, but I have also seen many triumphs overshadowed or talked about awkwardly by some of the NBC commentators…and even some of the women. I am not going to waste my time reading other people’s rude comments because I know and you know that sexism is real and some people don’t see it and we just have to keep speaking out and fighting for ourselves and helping our children get it, and if that’s by muting your TV during the Olympics, you do it Momma! No one knows what’s best for them but you. Thank you for speaking out and voicing the unequal treatment!

  17. As the mom of an 8yr old girl and 12yr old boy who are both athletes and competitors, I really understand your view! My 12yr old son plays soccer and baseball and has for 8yrs now (yes since he was 4) and he has been very into watching the soccer games, both Men’s and Women’s, and he noticed how in the Men’s games he heard more of “look at that power” “What an athletic player” and during the Women’s games he heard more of “She looks great on the field” and “Look how hard she tries” and he said to me “Mom, don’t they know that the Men and Women are playing the same sport?”

    My 8yr old daughter plays soccer, baseball, ice hockey AND is a pageant competitor so she hears a LOT of “Wow you are a girl and you play Ice Hockey” or “Pageants are bad, they are just about beauty” No one ever mentions to her how badass she is that she is 8yrs old, 4ft tall, weighs 46lbs and goes out to play ice hockey with kids twice her age and twice her size wearing no other padding other than a chest pad and helmet because they don’t have padding in her size. She gets “pucked” (nailed in the thigh with a puck) several times a season and still plays! When she does pageants often people comment on how “beautiful she looks on stage” rather than on how well spoken she was during her introduction, or how she performs sign language routines to songs that take her MONTHS to learn.  As her mom I always make sure she KNOWS she is badass! She will tell people, in regards to pageants, “You know it is not just wear a dress and be pretty right? I practice year round to walk that pretty on stage, I spent months learning a new sign language routine, and I spend a week practicing 3-5 hrs a day the week before a pageant. It is not PRETTY that gets me that crown and title, it is WORK!!!” I have people tell me that it is WRONG for her to do pageants, that I am MAKING her do it…. yeah, NO…. she is a competitor through and through and she ENJOYS getting on stage and showing just how badass she is! She CHOOSES to do pageants, CHOOSES to practice WAY more than I would ever say to, AND heck…. SHE made ME do a pageant with her this year because (and it is a direct quote) “Mom, you taught me to be this awesome and cool, and I won! Now it is time for me to show you how awesome and cool YOU are!!”

    Now I am the kind of mom who reminds my kids daily that they never need to blend, that to stand out is just fine! I have bright pink hair all the way to my behind, so blending is not my deal LOL! My kids never shy from doing their best, from performing at their best, and if they don’t succeed or win, I remind them that doing their best is the important part!

  18. It was distasteful to pan immediately to the coach and make that statement, but the coach absolutely deserved some credit at some point.



    After a sitdown with national team coordinator Martha Karolyi and visits with a sports psychologist, Biles soon became unstoppable, winning that summer’s US championships and becoming the first African-American to claim the world crown.

    Same story.  Simone Biles struggled, then some coaching helped turn her career around.  This time it’s attributed to a team coordinator who is a woman.

    If giving credit to coaches is wrong, why isn’t this story catching flack too>?

    1. Huh. Could it be that I wrote this story two full days before that one came out. If I only had a handy dandy time machine. Besides, it’s about context, not necessarily the fact that a coach was mentioned. The fact that the camera immediately planned to him, as you pointed out.

  19. You made some valid points but unfortunately didn’t make them without committing some of the very same social offenses that you accuse others of committing. It’s no big revelation that the media, in large part, are buffoons, especially at events like the Olympics with color commentary.  The commentators become so intent on presenting the human interest story that they forget their own humanity. They do that with male athletes as well so I would say, looking at the whole picture, one could argue that they are equal opportunity offenders. The most bothersome part of the entire experience of reading your post was your in response to a comment where you said that your 10 year old daughter said “this is why I don’t like sports” From birth to the age of 10, children are much more influenced by involved parents than they are by media or anything else. Clearly, if a 10 year old feels that way, they have picked up the wrong signals. Maybe signals of anger and bitterness which will, without fail, hold them back in life; much more so than an ignorant comment by a clueless media hack. Children, both girls and boys need to be encouraged with positivity and the undying knowledge that their parents believe in their ability to set goals and work to achieve them despite negative social attitudes that appear intent on keeping them in their place. After all, they are solely responsible for their own success, right? I’m not trying to talk down to you. Clearly, your article left many of the readers with the same impression of frustrated bitterness. I’m not womansplaining or manslaining. Maybe I’m old lady- seen a lot of lifesplaining, just asking you to check your dripping attitude.  You’ve got to knock that chip off your shoulder before it falls off and whacks your kids on their little noggins.


    1. Comments about my parenting are abusive and uncalled for. Generally, ad hominem attacks are used by people that don’t have an argument or lack confidence.

  20. -For someone who is so sensitive to language and the lasting impressions it can leave did you ponder how peppering fuck throughout your entire thesis hinder it?

    -Sid you think about how taking certain color commentary out of context and re apropriating it doesn’t tell us much besides the lens through which you see things?

    – did you ever think about the blatant commercialism involved?

    -did you ever think of the blatant nationalism involved?

    -did you talk to your daughters about how they won’t be seeing women from certain countries, because they’re too busy building up their athletic prowess in order to avoid bombs?

    – Did you speak to your daughters about duality and the danger of black and white thinking?

    – the physical branch of yoga is not meant to be athletic it is a means to a more meditative mind–did you consider your western re interpretation  of it as a sport?

    – Have you talked to your kids about becoming humans in this lifetime as opposed to warrior goddesses as it seems we could do with less gods and wars and more humane beings?



    1. I converse with all of my children about a variety of social issues and gender issues in age appropriate ways. It seems that you may have difficulty hyperbole and/or understanding social commentary. I don’t have to write about 100% of the things I care about 100% of the time. This post highlighted sexism in media coverage. Thanks for the comment.

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