Friday, February 26, 2010

6 x 11 inches
pen on paper

This year's Winter Olympics has no female ski jump event. The world is rightly infuriated at this news. The International Olympic Committee provided feeble arguments to support this decision. Elaine Bergstrom explains the issue in her article "Women ski jumpers are denied an Olympic event" by writing:

"The IOC states that ski jumping is too dangerous for women, which has done little to calm the anger of the female jumpers. A number of them took their battle to the Canadian courts, arguing gender discrimination, which is illegal in Canada. It would have been a slam-dunk victory were the Olympic committee a Canadian entity. But since it is not, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that it cannot order the IOC to hold the event."

Furthermore, Gian-Franco Kasper, the president of the International Ski Federation was quoted saying the sport "seems not to be appropriate for women from a medical point of view." WHAT?!!!! Can he be serious?!!!!!! I think women have come a long way since the time of half court basketball and fears that too much exercise would make a woman's uterus fall out. Women's Ski Jumping Vice President Vic Method hits the nail on the head when he says, "This is a big macho even in Europe. If suddenly you've got these little size-four girls jumping comparable distances, the men don't look so macho anymore." Let's not forget that a woman, not a man, named Lindsey Van, holds the WORLD record for the 95-meter jump. Because of the shortsightedness of a few people in key positions, Lindsey will not be competing this year. What kind of message does this send to young girls around the world?

See Elaine Bergstrom's Article- Women ski jumpers are denied an Olympic event
See Steve Rozin's Article on the Women's Ski Jump- Their Rejection: Our Loss

"Spillover Effects"
11 x 14 inches
charcoal on paper
The American Society of Criminology found that, "...among college students, athletes tend to be disproportionately represented in reports of sexual assault, abuse and intimidation. Moreover, there is a significant association between athletic participation and sexual aggression and willingness to use force to coerce potential sexual partners." This may come as no surprise when one scans a newspaper and finds the numerous stories of athletes charged with sexual assault or violent acts. A study by Sarah McMahon from Rutgers University found that the culture of a male student athlete supports rape through "the fostering of a sense of privilege and entitlement for male athletes; the sanctioning of violence and aggression within the context of a sport with possible "spillover" effects; the use of derogatory language to describe women in team settings; and the belief that there are certain circumstances when sexual violence is "unintentional" or the victim's fault." This drawing shows the correlation between the violence learned on the field and the violence afflicted towards women. I used black charcoal to emphasize the darkness and pain that many women are forced to endure while our patriarchal society condones male behaviors that lead to sexual violence and abuse.