I would like to start this posting off by saying that all of my life I have been proud to be an American. Given, there are times when I question what and how we do things within the boundaries of the purple mountains across the seas of grain, but it is very much like having millions of siblings to me. We may squabble among ourselves, but when another dog comes into our house, the fight is on cause we are one. I am not trying to sound dramatic…just set a stage of understanding for the painful thing that I am about to say. When I see something so visibly wrong in our country and people too dazzled by the waving of the stars and stripes to realize what is ugly behind the glamour, I am reminded that it is not wrong to speak out…it is the very foundation of our Constitution.
As I watched the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in China, I too was amazed by the movement of lights mixed with human bodies to create a magic rarely seen in any arena. In a style typical of the majestic Asian culture, the historical past met with the present to show the world a beautiful flare of heart and harmony. However, I have always had one pressing question about every Olympics.
Why does the Olympics hate women?
If you are speechless now, breathe deep and keep reading please because I come to this place disheartened by the incredible lack of concern shown by the people of the greatest country in the world: America. Every time, as I watch the young women marched out onto the floor, I don’t see world class athletes.
Here is what I see that disturbs my heart:
- Young female bodies sculpted by starvation and over activity. If you met most of those girls on the street, your first inclination would be to buy them a cheeseburger and a car load of french fries. They don’t look healthy or well defined. They look unfed as if they had grown up in a third world country.
- The teachings of anorexia and bulimia forming in the minds of young women not able to understand that healthy does not mean zero percent body fat. Healthy is not measured in keeping a body weight under a certain amount to keep from having a period. (For the men of the world and those who are not knowledgeable about weight loss, the female body will stop menstruating if it drops below a % of its needed weight.)
- Young girls walking out onto the floor with braces and wraps on almost every part of the body. Accepted, I was an athlete in high school and college. I know sometimes you play to support the team—even hurt. But there has to be a point at which the injury is about the person and not about the team. And, if there are 5 out of 10 young women with the same injury, then is that not enough of a pattern to tell someone that the approach needs examination. Instead…it tells them that the weakness is in the female body.
- Young pasty face girls that look like they have not seen fun or sun in the last 5 years of their lives. I always wonder if these little girls, touted as the ideal athletic specimen, will know the pleasures of running barefoot on a late summer night in the yard, learning to drive their first car, and anticipating their prom.
Perhaps what bothers me most is the comparison between the male athletes and the female athletes. The men look like Adonis resurrected. Strong and steady…ready for battle…they seem able to take on the world. The women look like fragile cancer patients recovering from their most recent chemotherapy treatment. Is that a harsh judgment? Yes…it is a harsh judgment. But, the images do not lie.
And…it seems that the American populous psychologically understands this too. After all, I know Apolo Ohno (click the link!! Really…..click the link!)…does he look like he is missing out on life? Can anyone name a female Olympic Athlete of the last four years? No fair hitting Google!
In reality, what I am worried about is not only the representation of the USA on the world stage of the Olympics, but what happens to these women a few years down the road when the brain washing has worn off and their minds, bodies, and spirits are crippled by the experience? Do we then remind them that it was all for the glory and what an honor it was to represent the greatest country in the world? Do we then say at an age too young to drink or vote you traded your life for a shiny piece of gold? (sound familiar?)
Or, do we hold those accountable now that should be protecting these young women? The American motto has always been to protect the helpless. Would we do any less for those warriors to stand up in our colors, wrap themselves in the flag, and tell the world that they are the best America has to offer? ~~Dee