Women in our world have been busy lately. How have you been using your time? After you're done taking in the activities of our sisters, share what shapes your days and drives your goals.
A record-setting three women drove in the recent Indianapolis 500 - Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick and newcomer Milka Duno. Patrick consistently finishes well but not first - like most of her male counterparts, some of whom race for years without a win. Despite the amount of press given to the novelty of having three women behind the forty thousand dollar high-tech steering wheels, one commentator still managed to put his microphoned foot in it when, describing Duno's crash, he announced that, "he [Duno] had been running 22nd" when the car veered into the marbles, skidding against the wall. Although having almost thirty names to keep on the tip of one's tongue during an event that stretches through several hours must be a challenge, the attention given to gender should have made it easy to remember that Duno is, in fact, a woman. Although the commentator did not draw attention to his (the commentator's) mistake, one of his (the commentator's) colleagues soon chimed in that, "SHE [Duno] had been running 22nd" when the crash occurred. I hope that Duno got a big fruitbasket of apology out of that. Also notable was the stream of discussion about the rain delay: an obviously sensitive enboothed "expert" noted that usually at this time of Indy500 Sunday, the winner would be "making victory laps, he would be drinking milk, he would be celebrating his triumph, he would have his name on the trophy, he would be driving into winner's circle." Despite my disdain for Danica Patrick's decision to exploit her femininity to ensure sponsorship, she nonetheless has led laps at the 500 - something many drivers would love to do and never have. She actually makes it plausible that for the first time, lipstick could be left on the rim of the traditional bottle of victory milk. Given that three women participated, the odds of long-lasting ruby red marks lingering on the glass go up even more. The thoughtless adherence to the assumption that normally "he" would be basking in a win suggests that coverage of these events should include former female racers like Lynn St. James in the booth. If the gentlemen who cover the starting of the engines fail to remember the ladies, perhaps ladies would be best to share their birds-eye view of the race. Rain delays don't phase you when you're wearing waterproof mascara.
In other news, "air hostesses" for some Indian airlines have been told to lose weight or lose employment. In a legal battle contesting this demand, the air hostesses lost, due to a ruling by a
(shortsighted) female judge. The ridiculous reasons given by the airline included "safety." Because high altitudes were flown, air hostesses must be in peak condition to assist passengers. Interestingly, these air hostesses are often uniformed in short skirts and heels. How easy is it to respond to emergencies in stilettos? Connected to the case was age - one air hostess two kilos over the limit had worked for this company for over twenty five years, and pointed out that they were looking for young women. Although this seems incredible to the contemporary American mind, the airlines won, but women all over India lost. In light of the continual battle against sex trafficking in India, this latest story of women being treated as sex symbols inherently sanctions the attitudes which continue to enslave women throughout southeast Asia. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6710845.stm for the story. Next time you're weary of your employment, be thankful it doesn't depend on your water weight.
There's currently an interesting interview with Condi Rice on iVillage. This woman travels across the water to speak with world leaders but has also had procedures done for fibroid tumors. Having a national leader who can sympathize with your trips to the gyno: priceless.
Speaking of women, apparently no one wants to be one: there's a scuffle on the sidelines of a mainline. A "transgender" pastor is drawing attention in the United Methodist church, with conservative renewal groups outraged and the minority activist segment proud. Should credence even be given to this Jerry Springer scenario? One hardly knows whether to treat it with serious discipline or laugh it out of the arena. What's next, "Baby's real father to be revealed next Sunday after the offering"? The "pastor" started out as female and pursued surgical alteration to match her..er, his...body with his True Self. Another attempt to centralize the margin and make the the fringe the norm. A news article noted that the UM Book of Discipline does not have any statements on transgender clergy. This pundit would like to note that it most certainly does not have any statements on sex with elephants on circus trains, either, or how to serve laity with a phobia of white vestments, or how to ordain aliens. Circus trains, no; but a circus? let's hope not. How freeing it would be for the United Methodist church to be able to take resources spent on ridiculously self-centered individuals and instead put those resources towards ministering to AIDS orphans or liberating women from sex slavery. Let's not water down the gift it is to be a woman by making ourselves men, and making everyone acknowledge us as such. Ever been around a kid who insists you call him by another name? "Don't call me Timothy. I want to be called Hugo. Today, I am Hugo." I refuse to be bullied into calling another person Hugo until they change their mind again and want to be Timothy. The church must not be hijacked by spoiled kids.
Here's to women who don't pigeonhole easily yet remain women: women who crash at 220 mph, apply lipstick and international policy, fight for dignity at 30,000 feet, and remain content in their well-moisturized skin. To the women who learn Latin and Lamaze in the same week, who exercise humility and foster family, who drop off food to a funeral dinner and present reports to the board...Thanks, ladies, for all that you do, for who you are and how you share it as you grow. When the mudpuddles come, women are indestructably waterproof.