The NFL cheerleader

34]

“How would you like it if there were beautiful women whose only job was to keep you entertained? Women who kept their bodies toned to your exact specifications; spent thousands of dollars on their hair, makeup and clothing so they always looked their best for you; and had invested in years of training to do complicated acrobatics designed to bring you joy. Now add to this fantasy that these women brought you hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits and you give them almost nothing in return. Sound like a fairy tale? It should be.”

– time.com 

NFL season is back and the next several months will be consumed with Facebook posts, commercials, billboards, merchandise, and all things football.  I am not a big football fan by any means but my spouse genuinely enjoys following a specific team and I like to watch with him.

This past weekend, we were invited to join some friends for the home opening game.  I had several observations throughout the day, but what struck me the most was watching the cheerleaders.  I have never sat and really focused on them much.  I couldn’t believe how little their uniforms were, how small their physique was, and how tanned and airbrushed they all looked.  I don’t live in a hole, I know that cheerleaders exist and that they look a certain way; but it struck me how overly sexualized these women were.  While the discussion misogyny in the NFL is a whole different animal, watching the girls this weekend got me wondering, how much does an NFL cheerleader make?  What is the history behind cheerleading and the NFL?  Do cheerleaders really add anything to the sport and why are they necessary?

Unknown

I got home and starting to do some digging… my findings were disappointing to say the least:

A brief history

In 1954 the Baltimore Colts were the first NFL team to showcase cheerleaders on the sidelines.

Today

26 out of 32 NFL teams have a cheerleading squad

Wages and Pay

  • Cheerleading is an extremely physically demanding sport that requires many years of training and hours and hours of practice
  • Most cheerleaders make approximately $50-$150 per game
    • Some game days can be 12 hours long, leaving cheerleaders making less than minimum wage ($4.50-$12.50 per hour)
  • Cheerleaders are not compensated for practice time
  • Many Cheerleaders are not compensated for uniforms, make up, hair, and beauty treatment requirements
  • In a recent lawsuit many strict rules that the cheerleaders were held to were exposed.  These rules encompassed everything from; skin tone/tanning standards, beauty products that were acceptable to use, diets (ex. the amount of bread you can consume at an event), hair color, and what feminine products to use during menstruation
  • It is a cheerleading industry standard that women can be benched or fined for weight gain
    • A recent lawsuit agains the Buffalo Jills sited that the cheerleaders needed to undergo a weekly “jiggle test” to discern who would perform at upcoming games
  • During promotional events several Buffalo Jill’s reported that they were sexually harassed.  They claimed that they walked around in bikinis at a casino event and were auctioned off to ride in golf carts on men’s laps

What value do they add?

“Eric Smallwood, senior vice president at Front Row Marketing, has estimated that the TV appearances of cheerleaders on game days alone are worth about $8.25 million to the NFL, or $317,000 per year for each team in the league. Cheerleaders also provide value by promoting ticket sales and promoting the NFL brand.” – time.com

What’s being done about it?

“The issue is gaining traction. In just the last two years, professional cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals have filed wage theft lawsuits against their respective teams, alleging labor violations including misclassification, meaning that some cheerleaders were treated as independent contractors, not as employees, and therefore didn’t receive the wages or benefits they deserved. (So far, the Raiders and Buccaneers have settled lawsuits by agreeing to pay more than $2 million in back wages.)”- newyorktimes.com

Dallas-Cowboys-Cheerleaders-nfl-cheerleaders-16417633-666-800

***Read the full articles here*** 

Time.com: http://time.com/3752957/nfl-football-cheerleaders-minimum-wage/

NewYorkTimes.com: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/12/opinion/cheerleaders-until-they-see-their-nfl-paychecks.html?_r=0

Advertisements

Heroines of 9/11

110905110257-obrien-beyond-bravery-firefighters-00013427-horizontal-gallery

New York (CNN) — At the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, a group of about two dozen female rescue workers walked onto the platform overlooking ground zero.  Most had not seen the place in years, not since big iron beams rose into the sky to build the skeletons of a new office complex, not since the footprints of the Twin Towers were filled with black stone and waterworks, not since all the progress that followed those dark days back …
… THEN.
New York Police Department Deputy Inspector Terri Tobin was buried in the rubble of the old towers twice on September 11, 2001. She had a huge glass pane lodged in her back and cinder block cut her skull. She rose from the debris like some kind of superhero and rescued people who were in a panic — the injured, the desperate, the scared. At one point, she clung mightily to one man’s arm and said: “I’m with the NYPD. I’m not gonna let go.”
She didn’t let go. None of these women let go.
Capt. Brenda Berkman searched relentlessly for her fellow firefighters. She still cries, to this day, about the 343 who died. She knew most of them. Officer Carey Policastro searched the pile of debris for weeks, exposing herself to horrible conditions. Then she dedicated herself to preparing for the next attack, training first responders around the country.
There were women from the Salvation Army and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, emergency medical technicians and clergy.
There were plenty of female journalists there, too, including one of my producers, Rose Arce. She was featured in a book called “Women At Ground Zero” — along with all these first responders — written by Susan Hagen and Mary Carouba, two California authors who wanted to memorialize the accounts of the women. That book was published nearly 10 years ago and memory fades.
I don’t think there was any task that was performed down there by men that were not performed by women.
–Terri Tobin, NYPD
A few months ago one of the female firefighters from that book came to speak to the kindergarten class of my producer’s daughter. A little boy asked her how she could be a “fireman” if she was a girl.
In answer to that question, we produced a documentary that premieres on Labor Day at 11 p.m. ET and PT. It is called “Beyond Bravery: The Women of 9/11.” It chronicles the heroics and hardship of these women as they have worked to repair our nation in the decade since the terrorist attacks. As one woman in the documentary says: “Little boys and little girls need to know” that women were there and served with courage.
It was hard for the women to stand in that space where they fought so hard and lost so much. To this day when anyone looks out over ground zero, the question lingers: How do you fill this void?
Tobin became a deputy inspector of the New York Police Department, helping it cope with a traumatized force that has turned over a third of its ranks since 9/11. She also answers calls at a hotline for cops under stress. Berkman gives tours of the Tribute WTC Visitor Center to recall the losses suffered that day.
In my conversations with these women, I have heard their stories of how they sacrificed their lives to rebuilding, recovering and restoring hope. They want to fill that physical void of ground zero with a fitting tribute to the friends they lost. They want to see people working and living and smiling again. They are fighting to get good health care, to contribute to U.S. efforts at homeland security, to prepare the fire and police departments for potential attacks, and to help others repair their psyches after witnessing the worst possible.
What makes the women different is that they fought for the jobs they had on September 11. Berkman sued the fire department, paving the way for women to join in 1982. Regina Wilson, who was hired in the wake of that lawsuit, was a probationary officer on 9/11. She rode to the flaming towers that day and was one truck away from being killed.
There is a memorial to firefighters near ground zero that has no identifiable women’s faces, but they were there.
Many of the women felt slighted in the days following the attacks because they heard talk of a brotherhood of rescue workers that had performed heroically. The public forms images from big historic events like the terrorist attacks about who was heroic.
“There were female carpenters,” Tobin told me. “I believe there were female iron workers. I don’t think there was any task that was performed down there by men that were not performed by women.”
When I asked her if she thinks the public knows that, she shook her head sadly.
“No.”
Yet their journey this past decade stands out because they are still fighting to bring women into the ranks. There are fewer female firefighters, and they are a smaller piece of the force than they were on 9/11. The police department is just 17% female, generations after the first woman joined. These are not unusual percentages in this country, although the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is one-third female after being formed in 2003.
There is still resistance to the presence of women — and minorities — in the uniformed services, even as they actively recruit them. The New York fire department has for years been defending against a racial discrimination lawsuit.
The women don’t dwell on the conflicts though. They prefer to recruit by example, by putting themselves out there in uniform and talking about their work. There is nothing like seeing a real-life hero and dreaming you could be one too. They don’t limit that PR campaign to women.
That day on the platform, it was raining and gray and sad as cranes lifted beams in preparation for a September 11 unveiling, a test of whether a memorial can coexist with office towers. The women chatted about the height of the new towers, remembered tearfully where they were the day of the attack, and marveled at how much time had past.
It was just as well the sky was gray. Berkman said to me recently: “September 11 made us all feel like we could never trust a sunny day again.”

45 Unknown

9-Year-Old Girl Challenges Sexist Advertising | Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls

Hey Smarties, allow me to introduce Adair Mahoney from North Carolina. Yeah, she may only be 9 years old, but this girl is taking action against hyper-gendered advertising and we think it’s totally awesome. While shopping online at Vineyard Vines with her Mom, Adair noticed a difference in the description of boys vs. girls pajama pants. The boys’ pants were called ‘Lounge’ pants, while girls’ pants were called ‘Lazy’ pants. This discrepancy, naturally, didn’t sit well with her. In an interview with ABC News, she said,”I thought, uh, did they really just call me lazy? Why do boys get to ‘lounge,’ but when girls just want to spend the day chilling on the couch in pajamas after a trying week of third grade, they’re lazy?” So, Adair took matters into her own hands. She wrote a letter to Vineyard Vines pointing out that, “boys and girls and men and women should all be treated the same. I don’t want to wear lazy pants because it makes me feel bad. Can’t we all just wear comfy pants?”

Source: 9-Year-Old Girl Challenges Sexist Advertising | Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls

As I walk through toy aisles…

I have a few weeks off from work and I am loving spending my days with my son.  We plan little adventures every day but also make sure to take time, slow down and spend one on one time doing art and reading books.

Unknown

Today we took a trip to … Toys R’ Us…and oh my…SENSORY OVERLOAD.  We don’t frequent toy stores and I try to keep the stuff in our house to a minimum.  I have always believed in owning fewer quality toys as opposed to loads and loads of inexpensive toys.  Thankfully, we have also been blessed with hand me downs and haven’t had the need to do much shopping.

With that being said I was totally overwhelmed with trying to shop in Toys R’ Us with C.  Holy cow, there is so much junk!  We walked through the store and it was hard to navigate the isles.  I was also shocked by the amount of plastic.  Everything was plastic, it was difficult to find any wooden toys.

Of course, I couldn’t resit taking a stroll down the gender aisles.  Everything was as expected, overly feminine dolls, babies, and dress up clothes and hyper masculine action figures, cars, and sports for boys.  I was interested to see that the majority of the toddler and infant toys were fairly gender neutral; kitchens, learning toys, stackers, blocks, etc… there wasn’t a lot of pink and blue designated toys.  It was the older kids toys that really started the separation.  I made a point to walk C down both the boy and girl isles.  Honestly I think he was so overwhelmed by everything around him that he couldn’t take it all in.

We won’t be taking a trip back anytime soon.  I only wish I had thought to take photos!

Visbility Matters: Gender Observations at a Recent Conference

The-Boys-Club-Logo-PNG1-e1346114925763

I have worked in my industry for almost 10 years now.  I am passionate about my profession and am proud of what I have achieved in my career.  I have experienced the “glass ceiling” a few times with different companies.  When that happened I simply moved to a different company, or location, and the problem solved itself.  Currently, I enjoy the corporation I work for, and ultimately believe in their vision and values.

From time to time, a few of my colleagues and I have talked about feeling like our workplace can be a “Boy’s Club”.  I have always thought that was something I felt solely based on the location I work at and that my concerns were not a company wide problem. Additionally, I have recently heard more and more about our company’s initiatives to better diversify and have more female leaders in key positions. This excites me!  The thought that my career could be fast-tracked to help diversify our North America leaders is promising and something I am very excited about.

Recently, I spent a week at a National convention for my corporation.  There were approximately 800 attendees in key positions from all over North America.  While the overall message of the conference was a good one, I felt baffled and frustrated throughout the week.  I have noted my observations below:

  • Presenters:
    • Total # of key speakers: 12
      • Total # of women on that list: 2
    • Total # of talks I listened to: 32
      • Total # of times a woman spoke: 7

Within the first few hours of the conference I was disappointed by the lack of representation of women on the stage.  How is that we could have a captive audience of 800 people and only 7 women presenting?

Throughout the week I thought a lot about the term “visibility”.  While I think it is great that companies have programs to support women, visibility matters.  If you want your company to be diverse, and for women to feel there is equal opportunity,  make space for them.  Make sure that you have women presenting and speaking at meetings.  It is that simple, if you want to be more diverse, then be more diverse.  Make a conscious effort to have equality in presenters and information.  Appeal to both the women and the men.  Strive for balance beyond one or two token women.

ch3

When my son wears pink

One of my favorite shirts that C owns is a bright pink Ralph Lauren polo.  The shirt itself has sentimental meaning to me as it is a gift from a close friend.

IMG_1118

Throughout his life, thus far, C has been mistaken for a girl only 4 times.  All of those times were the days in which he was wearing his pink polo.  Now I know that everyone’s child is mistaken for the opposite sex, at some point.  I also don’t have a problem with people thinking my son is a girl.   With that being said, it is interesting to me how people respond when they seem C in pink:

  • A little girl on the playground came up and asked me if C was a boy or a girl.  I told her that he is a boy and she said “but he’s wearing PINK.”  I love the mind of a child because the next question she asked was “Why is he wearing pink if he is a boy?”  I told her that he was wearing pink because it is a pretty color and he likes to wear pretty colors.
  • I had a woman in her 80’s stop me in the store to tell me that I had a beautiful daughter.  I thanked her for the compliment and let her know that “he” was actually my son.  Similar to the little girl, she said “Wearing pink?” and shook her head and walked away.
  • There was one woman who asked how old my daughter was and when I told her that “he” was 18 months.  She looked at me with a disappointed gaze and told me that he shouldn’t be wearing pink if he was a boy.

It is interesting to me how we have such strong associations of what boys and girls wear.  I am not surprised by it; but my spouse and I have made a conscious effort to raise our child in a gender neutral environment.  We want C to be able to run and play in the dirt, love trucks and sports; but also to be in touch with his emotions, play with dolls, and express himself through art. Most importantly we want him to make his own choices and follow his passions without limitations.  It concerns me from time to time that our approach to parenting will cause C to feel negative consequences to the choices he makes.  If we allow him to wear a skirt to school, or become attached to a special doll, what happens to him out when he is out in the world?  I don’t want my son to be teased, harassed, or forced to conform to the gender expectations of a “boy”.  But I am left feeling discouraged after just a few outings in a shirt that is pink in color.

My observations have left me wondering when society became so gendered in toys, dress, and colors.  I can distinctly remember in history books seeing boys in dresses and I know it isn’t possible that boys and girls have always conformed to the gender identities that are the norm in today’s modern society.  I did a little research and here is what I found…

4142bea448bd8464b60c9c6a0d59eb4d Mid 18th century: An oil painting with a boy in a blue frock pink-and-blue-Franklin-Roosevelt-2.jpg__600x0_q85_upscale1884: Franklin Delano Roosevelt as a young boy pink-and-blue-Baby-Bobby-3.jpg__600x0_q85_upscale 1920: Paperdoll of a boy with pastel and lacy clothing08d321c15d60c05b9c76d759ee6079391970: Sewing patterns with unisex clothing

All of these images are courtesy of a Pinterest board that is dedicated to celebrating Jo Paoletti’s book, Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America.  Jo Paoletti is the Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland. Her book discusses “the decline of the white dress for boys and girls, the introduction of rompers in the early 20th century, the gendering of pink and blue, the resurgence of unisex fashions, and the origins of today’s highly gender-specific baby clothing.”  She makes many interesting points and shows the flip flopping of what is common for boy and girl dress throughout the centuries.  She also talks about the rise of highly gendered clothing.  She attributes society’s fascination with gendering our babies with pink and blue to the beginning of the medical advances that allowed us to determine the sex of our children prior to birth.  Jo Paoletti writes an intriguing and thorough account of our social norms and constructions around boy and girl clothes.  Over all a great read and some wonderful historical insights. A summary of Ms. Paoletti’s findings can be found here: When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian.

Until the days in which our gender norms change once again, I am excited to continue to allow my son to make choices to dress himself in the ways he choses. I can only hope that our choices as a family will contribute to a more conscious and open society.

Donald Trump just gave a master class on how to get away with sexism

Donald Trump just gave a master class on how to get away with sexism – Vox.

After hearing and watching the behavior that Donald Trump displayed on the GOP debate this week, I was utterly disgusted in this man and his behavior.  I found a great article on vox.com that talks about about how Donald Trump’s behavior is a classic case of dismissing mistreatment of women and ultimately trying to make himself the victim.  Watch the clip, see what you think, the article below the clip brings up some great points.