G-chats: Call Me Maybe Edition

22 Aug

Tara:  Here’s something for Mislabeled, perhaps?

Rachel:  Or this?

:)
 Tara:  Oh wow, this is WAY better than the College Republicans ‘Call Me Maybe’ cover.
—–
This post is brought to you by Google, which also agrees that ladies do it better than CRs.

Too Legit to Quit

21 Aug

Legitimate.

I really fucking hate that word sometimes. As a young person, as a woman, as the daughter of a teenaged-mother, and as a supporter of equality, I’m tired of having people judge whether my life, my choices, and my words are good and true enough to be recognized.

It’s hard for our generation to find a job when we’re told that our volunteering, our online and computer skills, our community and campus organizing aren’t “legitimate experience.”

It’s hard for women to walk down the street without being harassed and hard for survivors of sexual assault and rape to come forward when told that their words and experiences don’t constitute “legitimate rape” or a “legitimate complaint.” Surely, they were asking for the unwanted attention, the assault.

It’s hard to listen to conservative rants about “family values” and the havoc that single mothersand marriage equality would bring to the American family unit. My parents were 17 and not yet married when I was born; I was – as they say – an “illegitimate child.” Fuck that; my parents have been married for 24 years and my family is incredibly close. And my LGBTQ friends aren’t leading legitimate lives? Bullshit. They’re people and they love who they love so get the hell over it.

And these internet trolls complaining about “emotional outbursts” in regards to attacks on young people, on women, on the LGBTQ community? You’re damn right that we’re having emotional outbursts; these attacks are personal. I can find statistics and studies to back up my opinions, but you’re not going to listen to me anyway, so whatever.  Also, we’re fucking human beings. We have emotions. Reacting emotionally shouldn’t carry the stigma that it does; I guess since emotion is so typically associate with the feminine, it’s way too much for your patriarchy-loving minds to take.
Do you want to get pissed when I incessantly post articles about and reactions to Rep. Akin’s heinous comments? Do you want to keep bitching that my generation is whiny and entitled and why don’t we all just get jobs and stop complaining about student loans (but you won’t hire us)? Do you want to keep supporting candidates and companies that promote intolerance and hatred and deny your fellow human beings their basic rights? Do you want to tell me that my parents—an Army vet and loving, supportive mother and military wife—screwed up the American family by having me a bit earlier than planned?
You want to tell us — all of us — that we’re not legitimate. Our relationships aren’t legitimate, our jobs aren’t legitimate, our concerns are not legitimate.

You want to? Go right ahead. But we’re sick and tired of it. When you’re done spewing your hate, we’re going to have emotional reactions. And you want to know what’s great about having an emotional reaction to something that touches you deeply because you’re a decent human being? It’s fucking legitimate.

This post brought to you by Dawn, who does think she can blog.

Lasting Impressions of London 2012

20 Aug

After four posts that I scribed over this week, this will be my final one. The only way I know how to wrap it all up is to give you a list of my favorite moments that happened over the fortnight.

1.)     The first night. When I landed on Friday, 27 July, I walked around Olympic Park and looked at the Village, deciding on what I was going to do that evening.  I found out, courtesy of the BBC, that there was a huge outdoor viewing area in Hyde Park and they were going to show the Opening Ceremony and host a concert.  The concert featured Snow Patrol (Northern Irish/Scottish), Duran Duran (English) and Stereophonics (Welsh). All three were pretty good, but watching the crowd go NUTS over Duran Duran was simply unexpected and hilarious.  The Brits love their 1980s pop bands.

But, the memorable moment of the night came during the beginning of the Opening Ceremony. You may or may not remember the maypole and the songs that were played, but they were extremely significant to the Brits.  It was very emotional to when all the Englishmen who were at the concert started singing (well, kind of just yell) the words to Jerusalem,  the pseudo-anthem of England (they are only allowed to have the official anthem of the UK:  “God Save the Queen”).  The Scots followed their English brethren with “Flower of Scotland,” while the Northern Irish belted “Danny Boy,” and the Welsh recounted “Bread of Heaven.”  After all four songs were sung, the crowds sang “God Save the Queen.”  (Remember that the United Kingdom is actually made up of four different nations:  England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  There is some bad blood between the four different countries and so it was very special to hear them sing their own “anthems” followed by British anthem of “God Save the Queen.”)

2.)    The victories of Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis.  Simply put, it was one of the greatest evenings at the Olympics for all British people, and I must say I loved it too!  Jessica is an amazing athlete and has such a modest, sweet personality to her.  Watching her and Mo come across the finish line, I was just in awe of their accomplishments: truly incredible.  And the support of the British fans was overwhelming.  I was watching from another outdoor venue and we could still hear the loud roar for both, even though we were about 25 miles away from Olympic Stadium. Then when Mo won his second gold, it was just icing on the cake.  Seriously.

Even more memorable:  their reactions.  The pressure of the home crowd is sometimes too much to handle, but like many of the British athletes, they used the crowd to their advantage.  Watching Mo and Jessica cross the finish line and realize what they accomplished is truly an awesome thing to see.  They’ve worked their entire life to achieve greatness and they were able to do it in front of their own countrymen.  Sensational stuff, that.

3.)    Sarah Attar.  Wow.  I’m actually getting goose bumps and a bit teary-eyed just thinking about this moment in Olympic history.  Sarah Attar, dual citizen of Saudi Arabia and USA, was part of the Saudi delegation to the Olympics, making her one of two women to represent the Kingdom.  This was the first time the Kingdom’s delegation had women on the roster.  Sarah competed in the 800m portion of the track and field events at Olympic Stadium  She didn’t win a gold, or silver, or even bronze.  She didn’t place high enough to even get out of Heat 6.  She finished about 30 seconds behind the second-to-last runner and 43 seconds off her heat’s leader (who placed fourth in the finals).  When she was finishing her lap and started coming down the last 200m or so, the crowd at Olympic Stadium all began to cheer and stand for her.  She was going to finish last in the heat!  She wasn’t going to win anything!  But she won all London’s admiration that day.  Everyone had heard of her story and everyone at the stadium wanted to show their appreciation and support to her for being a trailblazer.

She was very overwhelmed when she crossed the finish line and thanked the crowd. But that is what the Olympics are all about, right?  Being able to participate is such an honor, but being able to be one of the first women your country has ever sent to the Olympics must be pretty special.  Then to get the reception from the London crowd had to be quite emotional – I know it was for me, and I wasn’t Sarah Attar. She will definitely be a celebrity on Pepperdine University’s campus this coming semester.  Thank you, Sarah, for giving all of us who watched that special moment of the Olympics.

These moments are just three of the countless memories I have from the London Games.  The motto of this Olympiad was “inspire a generation”.  I truly believe that Sarah Attar, Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, the women of Team USA basketball, the rowers of Team GB, the boxers of the USA and GB, the judo champions, and cyclist Sir Chris Hoy have all inspired little boy and girls to pick up sporting equipment around the world and be the very best that they can be.  Those kids just may be future Olympians, and they will all say it was “Olympian X” who inspired them all the way to the Games.

To the people and city of London – Cheers!

This post was written by our Olympics correspondent, Matt.

Girl Power Games

18 Aug

Paraphrasing a British newspaper, suffice it to say that the Olympic Games of London 2012 can be easily summarized as the Girl Power Games, especially when the Spice Girls re-united (the second time) for the Closing Ceremony.  It is true, though, that these Games were historic not just because London played host for the third time; it was the first time all participating countries sent a female representative to compete.  That may sound like a shock to many of you, but it was such a huge moment to see Saudi Arabia and Oman have women in their squads for the first time in Olympic history.   In my next post, I’ll discuss a bit more on the Saudi track athlete and how monumental it was to see her take the track of Olympic Stadium.  Of course, I do not have the facts and figures for every participating country, but I do have some knowledge on Team USA and Team GB, so I thought I’d share some interesting points with all of you.

For the first time in the history of Team USA there were more women athletes than men (268 to 261), and they did Team USA very proud.  Over the two weeks of competition, Team USA won 104 medals (46 of them gold), and the women of Team USA brought home 58 of them (29 of them gold).  So, the men of Team USA only brought home 17 gold medals, which is very surprising to many, including myself.  The 59 medals that Team USA women brought home would have put them in fourth place in the medal standings, and the 29 gold would have tied them for third with Team GB.  Pretty astonishing.

Other great TEAM USA highlights:

-          Our youngest Olympian, Katie Ledecky (15), is from the Washington, D.C. area, and won the gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle, beating Team GB hopeful, Becky Adlington.

-          Team USA women’s soccer team won its third straight gold medal, and four out of five since 1996, when soccer was introduced to the Games.

-           The American women’s basketball team won their FIFTH straight gold medal (seventh gold overall), which is unprecedented in women’s sport.  They dominated all of their opponents the entire two weeks, proving that America is still home to the best female players.

-          Keri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor finished their Olympic career in style by winning their third straight beach volleyball gold medal, something that has never occurred in the sport, and cemented their place in history as the best team on the sand.

-          A nod must go out to my favorite two female athletes: Serena and Venus Williams.  Serena and Venus teamed up for the third time in the Olympics’ doubles competition and won their third gold medal.  Since Venus won singles’ gold in Sydney 2000, it seemed only fitting that Serena would win her first singles’ gold on the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon, where she picked up her fifth Wimbledon title a few weeks prior to the Games.  These two sisters have always demonstrated the determination and desire to play for their country and they haven’t let America down.

Team GB women were equally impressive overall.  The women gave the host country their first gold medal in rowing and continued to produce wins in many of the sports.  Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Royal and granddaughter of HM The Queen, helped Team GB equestrian win a silver medal in the evening competition.  She became the first British royal to win an Olympic medal.

Also: I watched Gemma Gibson win a silver medal in Judo (losing out to an American), and it was truly inspiring. I know nothing about the sport, but the sheer determination that Gibson showed was inspiring.  This is especially true when you learn that she lost her mother recently and was the main catalyst for Gemma turning to judo in the first place.  Pretty emotional stuff.

Team GB women won 36 percent of all medals and 10.7 percent of them were gold.  They were led, of course, by Jessica Ennis, who won gold in the women’s heptathlon and was crowned the greatest female athlete in the world.  She was the first of three gold medal winners for Team GB on “Super Saturday” (the others were Mo Farrah and Greg Rutherford).  I was at an outdoor venue watching her finish the 800m portion and the crowds were just screaming her name.  There was a burst of euphoria when she crossed the finish line and became a gold medalist.  Remarkable event. 

Team USA and Team GB have women to thank for their great standings on the final medal table, and I was glad I was able to watch some of these great women compete.  In my next post, I’ll be describing some of my favorite and emotional moments of the Games.

This post was written by our Olympics correspondent, Matt. 

Inside Olympic Park

17 Aug

ImageSince many in the United States did not have a chance to really see Olympic Park or the other venues that were used for London 2012, I thought it was important to highlight what the London 2012 Planning Committee created.  The Olympic Park, located in Stratford (East London), was built on a 500-acre piece of commercial and industrial wasteland.  This area was a site where businesses and factories used to flourish, but soon failed. The area became a contaminated zone.

London 2012 reshaped the area (and created jobs) to build the new facilities, many of which that will be permanent structures to the East End skyline.  The Games of the 30th Olympiad have become known as the “greenest Olympic games”, and you could tell.  Throughout the Olympic Park, recycling centers were color coded to make life easier on the spectator.  The Park added over 500 bird boxes and 150 bat boxes to promote and maintain the environmental integrity of the region.  Flowers, shrubs, and trees were planted throughout the 500-acre space, while waterways were refurbished to create a more scenic atmosphere.

The three “current-day” artists who  performed during the closing ceremonies – Jessie J, Tinie Tempah, and Taio Cruz – were all born and raised in the East End of London.  When the Olympic Flame was being extinguished, a phoenix rose from the flames.  Just like the bird rising from the ash, East London has risen to become a completely different, and better, place.  It was fitting to see these hometown celebrities pay tribute to the city they love, and also the part of the city they called home for a long portion of their life.  Many people know that David Beckham was an advocate for the London 2012 – he is also from the East End of London  and was a huge proponent of making the Olympic Stadium a permanent structure to the East End landscape.  The Aquatic Center, the Velodrome, and the Olympic Stadium will all continue to be used in the years to come, which will only benefit the community of East London and continue creating a lasting legacy for the Games of 2012.

This post was written by our Olympics correspondent, Matt. 

Unforgettable thoughts on Vagina Monologues

15 Aug

I’ll never forget when she said that: “And you guys, this is sick. All I could think was, why wasn’t I good enough [to be raped]?”

-from a Mislabeled friend’s new blog, Lilac Shrieks & Scarlet Bellowings

The Games Themselves

14 Aug

I started planning this voyage across the pond way back in February 2011.  I wanted to attend these Games for one sport:  tennis.  You may or may not recall, I wrote for this blog regarding tennis’ accomplishments of creating equal pay for equal play.  Well, the tennis portion of the London games was held at the Mecca of the sport:  Wimbledon. Image

Now, I visited Wimbledon in December 2008, and walked on Court No. 1 and sat in the booth where BBC presenter Sue Barker interviews players. But I’ve never watched live tennis on the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club. So I put in my ballot through the U.S. Olympic Committee and asked for tickets to see tennis, men’s basketball (I’m a die-hard Duke fan.  Coach K was the head of Team USA Basketball), beach volleyball, swimming, water polo, and cycling.  I received tickets for all of those events, except for cycling. I had two days of tennis at AELTC, a day at water polo and an evening for swimming, beach volleyball, and men’s basketball each.

My first two events were tennis and they did not disappoint.  I will not bore you with all the stroke-by-stroke detail, but it was an awesome experience.  To be able to watch future gold medallists (yes, I’m using the British spelling) Serena Williams and Andy Murray play was simply perfect.  The crowd, obviously, was much more “pedestrian” than the usual Wimbledon crowds, but again, London 2012 was an event for everyone.  These spectators created an atmosphere that you would only see in maybe college basketball or during a World Series game 7.  Every time Murray won a point, or was break point down, the crowd cheered him on with “Team GB” or “Andy…clap, clap, clap”.  It was fun getting to watch how a crowd truly can propel an athlete to victory. Image

I witnessed this throughout the games that I attended, be it live or by watching at Hyde Park, where London 2012 set up 6 or 7 big screens to view the action, free of charge.  I encountered the most American spectators at men’s basketball, which was no surprise to me.  Our NBA’s finest players were on display with college basketball’s biggest-winning coach on the sideline, and Team USA did not disappoint.  At each game, the players seemed like they were learning more and more from each other and from Coach K, until their hardest test came in the gold medal game, which they won 107-101 over Spain.

My next few posts will talk about the Olympic Park; the unforgettable moments that shaped these Games; and women at the 30th Olympiad. Stay tuned…

This post was written by our Olympics correspondent, Matt.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: