Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Future is Female

Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes.  This includes seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.
 
Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women's rights, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to work, to earn fair wages or equal pay, to own property, to receive education, to enter contracts, to have equal rights within marriage, and to have maternity leave. Feminists have also worked to ensure access to legal abortions and social integration, and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. Changes in dress and acceptable physical activity have often been part of feminist movements.


I think feminism means different things to different people.  To me personally, feminism means equality and freedom.  Equal pay, equal rights, equal opportunities, freedom from sexual harassment, freedom from persecution of sexual preferences.  I think feminism is about being what ever you want to be and being supported.  If you want to be a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist, great!  Go for it!  If are most happiest being a stay at home mom or volunteering at your child's school, wonderful!  Raise those little humans to be great grown-ups!  I think feminism is not questioning someone else's decisions.  I've always said I've been on both side of the working mom/stay-at-home-mom fence (as well as the great "to breast feed or not to breast feed" debate) and one is not easier than the other.  You've got to do what's best for you and for your family.  Women don't need to bash other women and I hope I've instilled that in my girls.  You don't need to put someone else down to raise yourself up. 

So here we are, almost a full month into 2019 and we've had some incredible "firsts" so far this year.  It got me to thinking about where we're headed in sports, in business, life in general.  And how far we still have to go. 
 
 In case you missed it this month: 

Sarah Thomas  is an American football official from the United States, and is currently an official for the National Football League (NFL). Thomas was the first woman to officiate a major college football game, the first to officiate a bowl game, and the first to officiate in a Big Ten stadium. On April 8, 2015, Thomas was hired as the first full-time female official in NFL history,and for the 2018 NFL season, she is on the officiating crew headed by referee Ronald Torbert. She was originally assigned officiating uniform number 153 (as seen in many photos), but currently Thomas is a down judge with the NFL officiating uniform number 53, worn in past seasons by umpire Garth DeFelice, line judge Bill Reynolds, and field judge Frank Kirkland.  
Thomas was born in 1973 in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  She attended Pascagoula High School, where she lettered five times in softball. She attended the University of Mobile on a basketball scholarship and was an academic all-American.

Thomas began her officiating career in 1996, when she attended a meeting of the Gulf Coast Football Officials Association. She worked her first varsity high school game in 1999.

In 2006, Gerry Austin, Conference USA's coordinator of officials and a former NFL official, invited her to an officials' camp. Austin was impressed with her skills and hired her for the Conference USA staff.  In 2007, Thomas became the first woman to officiate a major college football game, working a game between Memphis and Jacksonville State.  Before that game, Austin said, "She came highly recommended by two NFL scouts. She has a good presence and demeanor. I feel like she has the ability and courage to make a call, and the guts to not make one, too."

During the 2009 season, Thomas was one of five female officials in major college football and the only one at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.  She was assigned to a crew and given a full schedule of 11 games. At the end of the season, she was selected to work the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl between Marshall and Ohio, making her the first woman to officiate a bowl game. Regarding her presence, Marshall running back and game MVP Martin Ward said "I noticed her before the game, but that was it. Once the game started, she was just doing the job that the line judge does in every game we play. It didn't matter that she was a woman at all."

On November 12, 2011, Thomas became the first woman to officiate in a Big Ten stadium, working as a line judge when Northwestern hosted Rice.

Thomas has officiated United Football League games, and in 2010 worked the league championship game.

In 2013, Thomas became one of 21 finalists in contention for a permanent NFL officiating position. 

Thomas worked New Orleans Saints scrimmages and was part of the NFL officiating development program, spending three days at the Indianapolis Colts minicamp.

On April 8, 2015, the NFL officially announced that Thomas would become the first permanent female official in NFL history. Thomas made her NFL regular season debut in a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on September 13, 2015, as part of Pete Morelli's crew as the line judge.

In 2017, Thomas moved to the down judge position. The change in the position name from head linesman coincided with the move in order to use a gender-neutral term. 

Thomas is the first woman to earn an on-field assignment for a playoff game. She was named to the crew for the game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers on January 13, 2019.  She was an alternate for the 2018 Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams Wild Card game.


NHL 2019 All-Star Competition
The Skills Competition took place the day before the All-Star Game on Friday January 25, 2019 at the SAP Center. The winners of each event were awarded $25,000 in prize money.  The league invited Renata Fast and Rebecca Johnston from the Canadian Women's National Team, and Brianna Decker and Kendall Coyne Schofield from the U.S. Women's National Team, to demonstrate some of the events. After Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche (Central Division) pulled out of the fastest-skater event due to a bruised left foot, Coyne Schofield was named as his replacement, becoming the first woman to compete in the All-Stars skills competition.
Brianna Decker demonstrated the premier passer skill, but she was not part of the competition. She was, in fact, three seconds faster than Leon Draisaitl and would have won had her time been included as they did with Kendall Coyne Schofield.  This prompted the hashtag #PayDecker on Twitter, as women's hockey salaries are a fraction of men's hockey salaries.  On January 26, hockey equipment company CCM announced they would give Decker the $25,000 she would have received for winning the competition.

 
Super Bowl LIII
History will be made Sunday night at Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta, but it will happen on the sidelines, not on the field.

That's where you'll spot Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies when the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams. 
 
Peron and Jinnies will be the first male cheerleaders at the Super Bowl in NFL history, cheering for the Rams alongside their female counterparts. The men already made history at the start of this season when they -- along with dancer Jesse Hernandez of the New Orleans Saints' cheerleading squad -- became the first male cheerleaders in league history.
 
In a tweet last week after his Rams secured a spot in the big game, Peron sent out a shout out to his squadmate:  "Napoleon, you think Atlanta is ready for us?" Peron tweeted. "NAHHHHHH. We're going to the Super Bowl!"
 
The men, both dancers, made the Rams cheerleading squad back in March. Jinnies called making the team a "humbling and amazing" experience. Peron said there wasn't a good reason for him not to try out for the squad.
 
"I was at (an L.A.) Lakers game (right before making the team) and I was watching the Laker Girls," Peron told "Good Morning America" last summer, "and I was asking myself, 'Why can't I be down there?' I've choreographed for girls who dance on pro teams, I've danced with girls on various pro teams. I just thought, 'why not me?'"
 
Other teams, like the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens, have had stuntmen before, USA Today reported, but Peron and Jinnies danced alongside their female teammates and did the same moves during the season.
 
Peron and Jinnies' success inspired 25-year-old Jesse Hernandez to try out for the New Orleans Saints' Saintsations cheerleading team.
 
He told CNN affiliate KATC that his mom sent him a link with their story.  "She told me it was my time to shine," he said in a video posted before his final audition.
 

And then we have this bullshit.  Which, sadly, is not the first time this has happened nor will it be the last. 

The Bachelor
Caelyn, who is competing for Colton Underwood’s heart on season 23 of The Bachelor, was sexually assaulted during her sophomore year at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The 23-year-old Miss North Carolina USA opened up to Underwood, 27, about the incident during last night's episode. 
“It’s definitely the most difficult thing in the world,” a teary Miller-Keyes says to the former NFL player in a teaser for Monday’s episode. “It’s affected every single person in my life.”

After she was raped in college four years ago, “my life was flipped upside down,” Miller Keyes tells PEOPLE. “And even though I’ve moved on, it is something I will struggle with forever.”

A girlfriend at the get-together, who had not been drugged, alleged that one of the men had had sex with her while she was lying unconscious in the bed. In addition, before the alleged assault, Miller-Keyes says that a friend alleged that  “another guy, I was passed out on a couch from the drugs, and … in front of his fraternity brothers … lifted up my dress, they watched and laughed and took photos and Snapchats. It was horrible,” she told Underwood on The Bachelor.

“These situations happen when you’re safe,” she tells PEOPLE. “They don’t necessarily happen when you’re walking down a dark alley. It’s when you’re comfortable and when you let your guard down.”










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