Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hijab no longer will block elite weightlifter

by Thomas Roberts.

After a hard-fought battle in the name of her faith, Muslim weightlifter Kulsoom Abdullah is now able to compete without violating her religious beliefs.

Kulsoom Abdullah will get her chance to prove how strong she is at the U.S. weightlifting championships in July after she proved how tough she is as an advocate.

Abdullah, 35, who was born and raised in Georgia and boasts a PhD in computer networking from Georgia Tech, qualified for the championships, but she was ruled out because, as a Muslim, she refuses to compete without wearing her hijab.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported yesterday that after a challenge from Abdullah, the International Weightlifting Federation approved new guidelines that give women "the option of dressing in attire that doesn't leave their legs and arms exposed."

The barrier came to national attention this week after's Kari Huus spotlighted Abdullah's dilemma. 

"I think it would just be nice that in any sport, if there's a lady who covers her arms and legs … they could still be involved," Abdullah told Huus. Turning to her chosen sport, which is male-dominated, she added: "With the dress code (as it is) Muslim women might think it's not something they should do."

Abdullah said yesterday that she was "really happy" with the ruling, telling the Journal-Constitution:

"The one advantage to all of this is that it raised a lot of awareness. I hope it will help with other sports that other (Muslim) women participate in."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Was that racist of me?

So, the gym I have recently joined has classes. Today I went to the 'Latin Heat' class. I was excited. I mean dancing salsa at 8:30 in the morning. Awesome!!! Not because of the "exercise", but because I love Latin music and any excuse to dance is always welcome in my world.

I go to the gym. Finding parking was tricky so I was about 5 minutes late. When I entered the room my eyes started searching for the teacher.

Now before I tell you what happened, answer this for yourself. If you were going to take a LATIN HEAT class, who do you think would be teaching that class? What would your "Latin Heat" teacher look like? And I don't just mean thin/fat/sexy/ etc....

Well as I walk to find a spot in the room, my eyes scan the room to see who is teaching. It turns out to be a white blonde woman. Immediately I thought.."pha why is she teaching a Latin dance class?". In that moment I didn't think she had any business teaching that class. I questioned whether she could even move her hips the way you are supposed to in Latin dance. Needless to say my excitement for the class already entered the world of doubt.

But then I checked myself. I mean after all I conduct diversity training for other people. I should know better. how could I even think that way? So, after a little bit of self-scolding I decided to get with the program and dance the hour away.

She wasn't bad. She knew her moves and DID move her hips the way you are supposed to in Latin dance. But then why wasn't I having FUN????!!!! Was it me or was it how she was teaching the class or was it the fact that 90% of the students in that class were older Jewish women ready to get some LATIN HEAT on. In between their shaloms to each other and gossiping about stuff and watching other people, move they would step on the floor and try to follow the teacher.

So, perhaps the teacher was teaching at the level that these women could follow. Is THAT why I felt that she was a bad, uninspired and uninspiring teacher? Or am I truly biased in thinking that if you don't look brown but you want to teach or do Latin dance, then you better work hard to prove yourself? Just like the brown people have to prove themselves when they try to do something where white people have dominance. Skin color matters because its the most obvious trait we all have and it has SO much meaning.

To end the story...I walked out of the class half way through. I could not be in that room. It was too much work to TRY to enjoy what was an absolutely beginning level, slow Latin dance class. It didn't challenge me.

But what I wonder is....had the teacher been a brown man or woman....would I have stayed the entire class? Even despite the fact that because of the older ladies the class was never going to be as challenging as I would have liked it to be. Would I have stayed???? I don't know.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Serena Williams' Top Five Body Image Quotes

There is no one who embodies the word "fierce" better than Serena Williams. The tennis star returned to the court yesterday after more than a year in recovery from a series of injuries to defeat Arvane Rezai at Wimbledon in England.

This was Williams' 15th Wimbledon, and fourth Wimbledon win. No doubt about it, she’s on fire. If you’ve ever wanted to know the secrets of her killer confidence, look no further. Here are some of her most memorable body image quotes:

Serena WIlliams Top 5 Body Image Quotes
1. She told Harpar’s Bazaar in 2010 that “my smile is my favorite part of my body. I think a smile can make your whole body."
2. “I have it in me,” she told ESPN 2009. “I believe in my game, and I believe in me. At the end of the day, I’m my biggest fan. Well, maybe my dad. But other than that, you have to be your biggest fan. I’m working on trying to stay positive."
3. She shared some words of wisdom that her sister had given her in 2009: “Venus told me the other day that champions don’t get nervous. That really helped me a lot. I decided I shouldn’t get nervous and just do the best I can.”
4. “I want women to know that it’s okay. That you can be whatever size you are and you can be beautiful inside and out. We’re always told what’s beautiful, and what’s not, and that’s not right,” she said in  2009.
5. "I told you guys I'm delicious," she told The New York Times in 2009. "Today I was vicious and ambitious."

By Alanna Nunez


Monday, June 20, 2011

‘Franklin and Bash’ episode 'Jennifer of Troy' - a missed opportunity

I started watching this new show on TNT. Loved the pilot episode. Sure it has misogynistic moments but it has the quality that Two & A Half Men also had. I don't know why but I loved that show as well and will miss Charlie Sheen. Ashton Kutcher can't do what Mr. Sheen did. Hugh Grant would have been a GREAT replacement. Anyways, I digress.

So F&B (Franklin & Bash) is about 2 young and brash attorneys who in the pilot episode get hired by this white haired British dude to work in his huge law firm. Great!

Then the 3rd episode airs. Title- 'Jennifer of Troy'. Basically, F&B want this supposedly big case where a woman has been fired from her job for "being too beautiful". This woman who got fired is Jennifer, played by talented Jillian Bell. 

 A screenshot from the episode of F&B in question.
 As she appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm on an episode where she gets fired for wearing short t-shirts that exhibit her fat belly and sides and the boss, Larry, feels disgusted by it.

This is her Headshot from her IMDB profile.

Now of course the "joke" is on F&B because they don't know that she is in fact "not beautiful". So before they meet her they are confident that they will win the case. She is their client. And when they meet her they totally want out of the case. To add to their paranoia, Jennifer works at this magazine where every woman is literally a walking-talking 6 feet tall model.

So of course immediately my interest in this episode doubles. I am excited to see how they will handle this story. I am thinking they would go in the following direction:
This woman was fired because she was "too beautiful" to work there, but then it turns out that that was the company's way to fire her because she in reality isn't pretty enough to work there.
So a fairly simple story I'd say. But then we meet Jennifer and she has a great personality. She is upbeat, confident and truly thinks that she IS beautiful. And even perhaps a little more beautiful than these other woman at her company, but not by much (she likes to say). NOW I am really excited to meet this character. Part of me thinks - She is crazy and deluded to think how she thinks. (Yes I am biased. Shame on me). Then part of me wonders...what if she TRULY does believe that she is beautiful. And my brain is having a hard time with it. Cuz my brain says how can a sane, smart woman in today's age who looks like Jennifer/Jillian believe that she is as beautiful (if not more) as the models. So....I continue to watch in intrigue.

My husband is watching with me and he believes that this is how the story is going to go:
She is so confident and charming that in fact it was her inner beauty and her strong eye contact that feels threatening to the other women around her. They fail to understand why men stare at this Jennifer all the time. And this is the "too beautiful" to work here reason. 
I got very excited now. Yes!!! THAT would be exciting. That this woman somehow escaped all the awful body-image issues we deal with. Somehow her sense of self was not attached to a size zero body etc. Oh that right there is my ideal woman. So, now I am really into the episode. Can't wait for F&B to feel her magnetism and be pulled into it and .....gosh I don't know what I expected.

Needless to say none of that happened. Well, not exactly. Turns out that the reason she was fired had nothing to do with the way she looked. That in fact her boss fired her because boss's father (true owner of the company) thought of Jennifer as a daughter. And the 'real' daughter felt jealous but wouldn't play/hangout with her father like Jennifer did. Boss's daughter wouldn't take off her heels to play ball, for instance. So, Jennifer was fired.

What????!!!!! Really? Way to give up on a fantastic opportunity to tell a great story(if it was what I imagined it was going to be that matter how idealistic and fantastical that might have felt to some). The Jennifer that was introduced to me in the beginning of the episode---I wanted to be friends with that woman, I wanted to be that woman. She could walk tall and look into men's eyes without feeling fat/unworthy/loser/etc.

Well, the writers and Exec Producers of the show clearly don't care to rock my world. But oh that they could have.....Oh the possibilites.....Oh the missed opportunity.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Too scared to venture in

It has been too scary to get back to blogging about body. Why? Because writing about it, thinking about it bring it to the surface in an uncomfortable way. Not that it is ever COMFORTING to think about my body. But at least when I don't think about it I don't think about it. I may subconsciously be thinking about it all the time but .... its like that background program running on your computer. It loads up when you start your computer and keeps humming away in the background, affecting the overall CPU performance.

But if I stay away from the dialogue then how am I affecting positive change? Right. So, I am back.

A few things got my attention today. Here is one of them.
Dove beauty ad
So, one would start out as a black woman with not so good skin and by using this product become a white woman with smooth skin. Why? Do all white women have beautiful smooth skin? Do all black women have bad skin? Does this shower get product contain bleach? And why would I want to be white? Do I need to be white to feel good about myself? Truly disturbing. I learnt about this photo from the following blog (

The day gets better. Check out this Yoplait commercial. So if you have been dieting and feeling good about yourself and look as thin as the women in this commercial...guess what? You are gonna feel fat once you watch this commercial. Because CLEARLY you are not thin enough still.

Then there is this video which I am not even sure how to process.

So, when I first came across this I thought wow! Empowered and empowering teens. Yes we need that.

Then I looked at the girl and thought - really? YOU are supposed to be the "fat" "non-pretty" one? Then I am the ugliest there can be.

Then I went...woah woah...back off. This girl FEELS these things. You cannot judge that. And this is probably also the more PC response.

BUT I can't help but feel jealous about how she looks and feel resentful that the issue of body-image is in her hands. Or I should say in her hands ALSO.

If you are reading this blog and have made it this far....what do you think? I want to be a better person but....hmmm.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bollywood A-listers are doing tummy tucks

Traditionally, Indian women have knowingly or unknowingly flaunted their navel, thanks to the sari. No one embodies this better than Savita Bhabhi, the online porn creation, who embodies the fantasy Indian housewife, with a penchant for young neighbours and travelling salesmen. "It's a return to tradition," says art writer Deepanjana Pal, "but a cinematic rather than artistic one.

Read more here