Sunday, February 28, 2010

Women and The Olympics

So I'm not actually following the Winter Olympics that much, I'm not super into snow sports, and I've been so occupied lately with other parts of my life that I've just hardly watched very much except for a few snippets here and there.

However, I have always loved the Summer Olympics, and recently I was at my local library and saw the book "Rome, 1960" featured...I had heard of this book before and picked it up. It's about the 1960 Olympics in Rome. It's really fascinating, 1960 was really a seminal Olympics in a lot of ways. I would highly recommend it.

Anyhow, so I'm waking to a luxurious Sunday morning and continued reading...and read that women ran the 800m in the 1928 Olympics, and apparently, the sight of women collapsing at the finish line after such an all-out effort greatly disturbed the powers that be, and they banned 800m races for women because they were too frail to complete it, as evidenced by the 1928 Olympics. Men collapsed at the end of the 800m all the time, but women so fatigued was apparently "too much" for the men to witness and they banned it. The roots of this came from the founder of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, who was known to be disturbed by the notion of women and sports, according to the book:
He said he was disturbed by the very notion of women competing in sports, often citing how upset he once was to see women whooshing down a snowy hill on sleds.

What in the fuck does that even mean? It doesn't even make sense.

But back to the 800m. So it was reinstated to great controversy in 1960. Apparently in the press box, Don Graham (son of the great great Katherine Graham), overhead a British journalist saying to another journalist:

how it was "unconscionable --- they should never allow women to run so far."

I mean, seriously, when I really think about this stuff, I get so disturbed. 800m? 800m is not far. It's two fucking laps around a track. 6 years olds can run 800m without dying. How could this be the prevailing attitude? What the FUCK? I don't know why I'm so strongly affected by this.

Anyhow, despite all the brouhaha, the momentum had begun, and twelve years later, women were allowed to run the 1500m. Until 1972, people thought women weren't fucking capable of running a distance that is not even quite a fucking mile. Finally, in 1984, women were allowed to run the marathon. 1984? 1984???? That's in my lifetime. Did people seriously think women could not handle marathons until 19-fucking-84? Jesus fucking Christ.

It almost makes me want to run one to show all those fuckers wherever they are that they were full of fucking horseshit. At the very least, I've run more than a couple half marathons, and I'm still alive. In fact, I am fucking awesome.

It's times like this that I remember how recently it was that women were considered weak-ass nothings...and how latent that kind of sentiment could be just bubbling under some surfaces, since it was so recent. We have come a long way (no longer chattel, at least), but there is still a long way to go before everyone thinks of every woman as a strong and legitimate human being capable of anything men are capable of.

If you think about it, 100,000 years ago, there is no way ancient cavemen could have survived if the women, the ones who bore the children couldn't even run fucking 800m. Duh.

Ok, I'll stop ranting now. If you are interested in a less swear-word-laden synposis of women's running in the Olympics, check this out:

Friday, February 12, 2010


Watch Out, Computer Engineers: Barbie Wants Your Job

Thanks to all you guys who voted to make Barbie a computer engineer, this occupation won the popular vote!!!!!

This is so exciting to me. I might actually buy this Barbie and put her in my office. I can't describe how....validating this feels. Part of me feels that is pathetic, but part of me feels proud that the forces of the world united to show Mattel that people want Barbie to be a nerd. Can you imagine? How many women (and men) nerds out there joined together for this? This tells me that I am not as alone as I feel sometimes. That there are other women out there like me, and men (like CPP who voted for Computer Engineer!!!!) who are supportive. This is not some little online poll, this is a vote that made an international toy giant choose Computer Engineer for Barbie's next career! I am gushing. I am embarrassed by my joy.

The other part of this which I think is important is that, apparently, the Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering both had a hand in designing her outfit. And let me say, I would wear this outfit. Computer Engineers don't have to be Mountain Dew-addled guys who haven't showered in 4 days. I know a few of those, but they are vastly outnumbered by nice normal people - and this is a truly widespread way of reducing that stereotype. Computer Engineers can be girls. Computer Engineers can wear cute (albeit geeky) cloths. Computer Engineers can have long, lustrous, beautiful hair. Computer Engineers....can be Barbie. And maybe now, so will a lot of little girls. Who knows, maybe I'm putting to much stock into this. But it's such a lonely world out there for us girl geeks....that this makes me really quite happy.

Happy Hacking, Barbie :).

Sunday, February 7, 2010


my in-laws like to keep their house at 55 degrees. when i'm around, sometimes they raise it to 58.

my fingers are cold. it is hard to type. time to make myself some tea.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bizarre co-worker

I have this co-worker - well, I wouldn't call him that, but he works for the same company as me and is on the same floor, but I have never spoken to him, don't know his name, or what he does.

What I do know, is the man is seriously socially inept. The floor is maybe 5-10% women, not really sure exactly. I've occasionally passed this man in the hall and each time, he is very obviously completely pretending I don't exist. Now, it's more than that, I don't really care if he thinks I exist or not, but it's that if he turns a corner and sees me, he almost involuntarily looks up at where the wall meets the ceiling and continues to stare at it as he walks by. If I turn a corner and surprise him, the same thing happens. I can always see that he is walking normally (staring at the floor a few feet in front of him), but when I come into sight, it's eyes up to the ceiling. It's comical.

I guess I can just thank FSM that he doesn't automatically stare at my boobs.

The weird thing is, there was a company lunch the other day, and dude comes in and sits a few people down from my table while I was getting food, and I heard him say to the people around him, "Hi guys, I don't know you guys, how's it going?" And I was like, WHAT? So he IS a social animal, and it's just me? Or what?

I guess if he worked in the same group as me or near me, or I had to liaise with him sometime as a part of work, this would annoy me more, but as it stands now, I just find it a bit pathetically amusing. Poor little man.