Feminism

The Most Hated Man In The World

The self-professed American dating expert Julien Blanc has been banned from Britain. The UK has declined to issue a visa to Blanc, an executive coach at Real Social Dynamics (RSD), a group that charges clients thousands of dollars to learn what have been described as sexist, misogynistic and violent acts towards women. He claims to teach clients how to approach women, but his tactics are often described as offensive and abusive. Earlier this month, Blanc was forced to leave Australia after an online campaign pushed venues to cancel his bookings, and authorities to revoke his visa. 150,000 people signed a change.org petition to ban his entry to the UK. Petitions also call for him to be barred from South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and Iceland.

Blanc said he felt like he was the most “hated man in the world”.  When I heard him say that, I snorted out loud and actually said “cry me a river”. Of course a man who teaches such atrocious things will gain criticism and rightful so. It is horrible to promote rape- to teach rape- and think it is okay. Julian Blanc isn’t sorry for his actions or thoughts he’s sorry he’s gotten caught and became infamous worldwide.

However, his bar from Britain is an important victory for feminists in Europe. It is critical to set the message that rape or violent behavior towards women will not be tolerated. By preventing him from entering the country, Britain took the first step towards changing misogynistic thoughts and anti-feminist ideals. Teaching men to rape women is not an art form or any type of seduction it is just simply rape, and it is very wrong. Other European countries can follow Britain’s lead and not allow Blanc to get a visa into their countries. With the issues of women’s rights in the spotlight, especially due to the oppression in the Middle East, it is critical that democratic, idealistic, European countries take the initiative to dissuade anti-feminists and people like Blanc who believe it is okay to hurt and humiliate women.

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Oumaya Naji al-Jabara Is The First Iraqi Women To Be Named “Sheikha”

ce0892f2-697c-49c6-955c-529a8da894f6_mainOumaya Naji al-Jabara
Photo Courtesy of A+ News

According to a report by Al Arabiya news, Oumaya Naji al-Jabara is the first woman in Iraq’s history to be granted the title of “Sheikha,” or tribal leader.

“Jabara is the first woman in Iraq’s history to be given this title. This is to honor her heroic role in fighting ISIS criminals,” said Marid Hasoun, head of the Iraqi Tribal Affairs Office, in a statement to the Al Sumaria news.

Jabara was reportedly killed on June 22, following a battle with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in the western province of Salah al-Din.

A lawyer by profession, Jabara was also a women’s rights activist and a consultant for Salah al-Din’s Women and Social Affairs organization.

She took up arms soon after ISIS started infiltrating the al-Alam district east of the city of Tikrit.

The country’s higher council for human rights said “the sheikha was with her people, heroically resisting the dark forces of ISIS, pushing the militant group  to react by bombing the city with mortars…”

Jabara, which literally translates to “mighty” in English, died as a result of a shot to the chest by an ISIS sniper.

Upon hearing of her death, Shiite prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki said “The name of the martyr Umayyah Naji Jabara has been added today to the chapter of Iraqi immortality.”

Redefining The Word “Nude”

When you think of the word nude, it is typical to think of a pale, almost white color. Throughout the years, the word nude has become a synonym for the word beige. Nubian Skin lingerie is trying to change that.

nubian-home-1aModels of different skin tones pose in the Nubian Skin lingerie 
Photo Courtesy of Nubian Skin

Nubian Skin’s blog describes the struggle many women of color go through trying to find a nude garment to wear under a sheer blouse. “My nude isn’t the nude I see in shops,” wrote the company’s founder Ade Hassan.

“Despite the reality that women of color have the same needs as all women when it comes to lingerie and hosiery (and spend the same of their hard-earned money), the industry simply doesn’t cater to us,” she continued.

She believes there is a similar parallel in the cosmetics industry. She says, “it took Eunice W. Johnson to create Fashion Fair Cosmetics in 1973 for black women to really have an adequate choice in finding makeup colors to suit them. In the 1990s and 2000s, mainstream brands began to realize the value of providing to women of color, and despite the billions we spend on make up each year, there are still brands that have chosen not to provide an offering for us.”

She is looking forward to changing the definition of the word nude.

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 6.21.11 PMNubian Skin provides undergarments for women whose skin color is not the typical “nude”
Photo Courtesy of Nubian Skin

“It’s an uphill battle, but every revolution starts somewhere.”

The darkest shade of the lingerie will be Berry, which the brand suggests would suit women who wear foundations such as Mac NW50, Bobbi Brown Espresso 10 and Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint in Beige 90.

The medium-dark shade will be Cinnamon, described as “a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy” the brand suggests it would suit women who wear foundations such as Mac NW45, Iman Earth 3-4 Bobbi Brown Warm Walnut, Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint in Beige 80 and Nars Macao.

Caramel is the medium-light shade. According to the website, “the name conjures up images of all sorts of sweet, golden goodness, and this colour is just as irresistible.” It is described as perfect for women who wear foundations such as, Bobbi Brown Golden, YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation Beige 70, Estée Lauder Double Wear Toasted toffee and MAC Matchmaster 7.

The lightest shade is Café au Lait. It is described as “more parts cream than coffee”, for women who wear shades Bobbi Brown Warm Honey, Lancome 06, Beige Cannelle, Estée Lauder Rich Caramel 5W2, Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Amber and Chanel Perfection Luminar 50

With this line, Nubian Skin is redefining the meaning of nude and the brand hopes to empower women as well as inspire them to embrace their beautiful black and brown skin. The website states “so for all the beautiful women, next time you need a nude pair of hold-ups or maybe a nude strapless bra to go under than stunning white halter dress, Nubian Skin is only a few clicks away.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 6.21.04 PMAll women of color will now be able to find a nude bra, regardless of how light or dark their skin is
Photo Courtesy of Nubian Skin

The motto is as stated: Empowering Women. Embracing our Colour.

The brand launched October 1, and you can purchase the lingerie through the website: nubianskin.com

#throwbackthursday: Queen Elizabeth I And How The Virginity Myth Has Been Around Since Medieval Times

Queen Elizabeth I never married.

In medieval times, the failure to produce an heir was political suicide. King Henry VIII went to war with the Catholic Church in order to have his marriage annulled, so he could re-marry and produce an heir. By the time Elizabeth I took the throne, the question was never would she marry, it what when, and too whom.

 

But she never did.

It wasn’t for lack of offers- she had many people competing for her hand. Some speculate she was the original “modern-women” who put off marriage and a family focus on her work. Others believe that Thomas Seymour had put her off sexual relationships, or that she knew herself to be infertile.

Despite the speculation, people at the time- and people today- are obsessed with England’s “virgin queen”.

From the earliest times of recorded history, the “purity myth” has been around. For thousands of years, men have been obsessed with that status of a woman’s virginity, defining women by their sexuality and sexual nature.

Elizabeth_I_when_a_PrincessElizabeth I, the Virgin Queen
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Choosing to remain pure puts a social stigma on women. They are considered “prude” and “religious” for wanting to keep their chastity in tact. Contrasting, the number of women who are brash and unapologetic in their sexual nature are labeled “slutty” or called “whores”.

Truthfully, the status of a women’s virginity is personal. Women are under no obligation to share with others their choice to remain sexuality abstinent or become sexual active. But, our culture has made it the most mainstream thing possible. For example, Taylor Swift’s hit 2009 song “Dear John”. The song is said to be about former flame John Mayer and many hypothesize the song is so brutal because Mayer took Swift’s virginity and then proceeded to break up with her.

Why was that the conclusion so many people jump to? Why not just assume they had a nasty breakup, a breakup like the ones millions of teenagers go through on a daily basis. The ones that make teenagers feel like the world is ending, but in reality are simple spats that will be only remembered as a blip on the spectrum of life? Why is it so necessary to bring up purity and sex?

One reason points to the Madonna–whore complex, which runs rampant in America. Identified by Sigmund Freud, the Madonna-whore complex is the inability to maintain sexual arousal within a committed, loving relationship. It is said to develop in men who see women as either saintly Madonnas or debased prostitutes. Men with this complex desire a sexual partner who has been degraded (the whore) while they cannot desire the respected partner (the Madonna). Freud wrote: “Where such men love they have no desire and where they desire they cannot love.”

For example, the Silver Ring Thing, is just another way to shame girls who are sexually active and pressure girls into remaining abstinent. The Silver Ring Thing is a virginity pledge program which encourages teens and young adults to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. Drawing on Christian theology, SRT uses rock/hip hop concert-style events in an attempt to appeal to 21st-century teenagers. SRT events feature high-energy music, club-style lighting and sound, music videos, sketch comedy, and a faith-based abstinence message. During the gathering, participants commit to a vow of sexual abstinence until marriage by purchasing rings.

Until 2005, SRT was funded by the United States Government. Funded. By. The. Government. The highest, overarching institution in America has been feeding into this complex. Instead of focusing on closing the gender gap and helping women achieve, the government has continually reduced women’s worth to the status of their virginity.

Jessica Valenti, author of  The Purity Myth, writes “A combination of forces — our media- and society-driven virginity fetish, an increase in abstinence-only education, and the strategic political rollback of women’s rights among the primary culprits — has created a juggernaut of unrealistic sexual expectations for young women. Unable to live up to the ideal of purity that’s forced upon them in one aspect of their lives, many young women are choosing the hypersexualized alternative that’s offered to them everywhere else as the easier — and more attractive — option.”

Women are pushing themselves and punishing themselves every day in order to fit into the narrow model of morality that virginity has afforded them. Some of us get unnecessary plastic surgery — down to our vaginas, which can be tightened, clipped, and “revirginized” — in order to seem younger. Others simply buy into old-school gender norms of ownership, dependence, and perpetual girlhood.

And don’t be mistaken about the underlying motivations of our moral panic around the hypersexualization of young women. It’s more about chastity than about promiscuity. T-shirts sold in teen catalogs with “I’m tight like Spandex” emblazoned across the front aren’t announcing sexiness; they’re announcing virginity. The same is true for “sexy schoolgirl” costumes or provocative pictures of Disney teen pop singers. By fetishizing youth and virginity, we’re supporting a disturbing message: that really sexy women aren’t women at all — they’re girls.

It is true, that girls and young women are the ones that struggle the most with the virginity question. In the hormone ridden environment of high school, many girls are struggling to balance their public personas with their internal beliefs. Some are pressured to go further sexually than they are comfortable with. Others are targeted as “whores” because they simply felt mature and ready to engage in intercourse. Why does it matter to the entire school? To the entire country? Have we really reduced girls to nothing more then the area that lies between their legs?

The spoken ideal that girls must find a suitable candidate to “take” their virginity is a chronic and popular malapropism. “He took her virginity” puts all the emphases on the male. What about the female? Did she take his virginity too? Did she “give” her virginity to him? Did her virginity matter to him at all? Did it even matter to her? With one simple verb, we’ve reduced the act of sex to a give-and-take scenario, where the male will always come out victorious and the female worse for wear.

Virginity is not quantifiable. There is no medical or biological definition of virginity. The only definition that exists in the dictionary defines it as “the state of never having had sexual intercourse.” But the problem with that definition is that it doesn’t mean anything. It refers to penetrative sex, which is how girls define sex. But what about manual or digital sex count? Oral? What about penetration with a toy? The truth is: Different people define sex differently. So even the one definition of virginity is automatic null and void.

Virginity as a concept was invented as an attempt to control (female) sexuality.

It’s just an idea, one that can change. Instead of putting so much emphasis on the sexual decisions of young women, let’s put emphasis on the unique characteristics and personality traits of young girls everywhere. Let’s focus on the fact that girls everywhere are changing the world. They have their own ideas and thoughts and outlooks. One thing cannot define them. Let’s change the virginity myth.

#throwbackthursday: Kick-Ass Female Pirates That Ruled The Seven Seas

1. Anne Bonny

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After moving to Nassau (also known as the Pirates’ Republic), she met Jack “Calico Jack” Rackham who became her lover. Mary took control of his ship The Revenge, and was an all-around bad-ass leader. She also was a very enviable natural redhead. Bonny did not disguise herself as a man, instead taking ownership of her female gender. She took part in combat alongside the men, and the accounts of her exploits present her as competent, effective in combat, and respected by her shipmates. Her name and gender were known to all from the start.

2. Mary Read

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Mary Read was able to join the British navy, but masquerading as a man. Read, in male disguise, proved herself through battle, but she fell in love with a Flemish soldier. When they married, she used their military commission and gifts from intrigued brethren in arms as a funding source to acquire an inn named “De drie hoefijzers” (The Three Horseshoes”) near Breda Castle in The Netherlands.

Upon her husband’s early death, Read resumed male dress and military service in Holland. With peace, there was no room for advancement, so she quit and boarded a ship bound for the West Indies. Once her ship was captured, she was forced to become a pirate too.

During their brief cruise in late 1720, they took several prisoners and forced them into useful service. Read fell in love with one such victim who was surprised to learn that she was a woman and eventually returned the affection. When one of the pirates challenged her lover to a duel, Read contrived a secret duel to occur a couple hours earlier. She killed the pirate before he could bring any harm to her lover, whom she called “husband” as they made vows to each other in absence of a minister.

3. Sadie the Goat

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Sadie Farrel (nicknamed Sadie the Goat) first came to prominence as a vicious street mugger in New York’s “Bloody” Fourth Ward. Upon encountering a lone traveler, she would headbutt men in the stomach and her male accomplice would hit the victim with a sling-shot and rob them. Once she turned to piracy, with “the Jolly Roger flying from the masthead”, she and her crew would sailed up and down the Hudson and Harlem Rivers raiding small villages, robbing farm houses and riverside mansions and occasionally kidnapping men, woman and children for ransom. She was said to have made several male prisoners“walk the plank”. She is considered the “Queen of the Waterfront”

4. Queen Teuta of Illyria

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After the death of her husband Agron, (250–230 BC) the former king of the Ardiaei, she inherited the Ardiaean kingdom.

While her Illyrian ships were off the coast of Onchesmos, they intercepted and plundered somemerchant vessels of Rome. Teuta’s forces extended their operations further southward into the Ionian Sea, breaching thetrade routes between the mainland of Greece and the Greek cities in Italy, and were soon feared as the terror of the Adriatic.

Queen Teuta told the ambassadors that according to the law of the Illyrians, piracy was a lawful trade and that hergovernment had no right to interfere with this as a private enterprise. She also implied that “it was never the custom of royalty to prevent the advantage of its subjects they could get from the sea”

5. Back from the dead Red 

Born the daughter of a Frenchman and a Haitian woman in 17th century, Jacquotte Delahayestole untold fortunes and captured the imaginations of many seafaring storytellers. This buccaneer lost her mother to childbirth and her brother was mentally handicapped, and once her father was murdered Delahaye was left alone to care for him. Legend has it that piracy is how she managed to do just that.

Her nickname comes from the most popular aspect of her story, which claims this red-haired pirate faked her own death to escape the government forces that were closing in on her in the 1660s. From there, she took up a new identity, living for several years as a man.

She led a gang of hundreds of pirates, and with their help took over a small Caribbean island in the year of 1656, which was called a “freeboter republic”.

6. The Lioness of Brittany

Jeanne de Clisson’s tale is one of tragedy, revenge and the showmanship. As the wife of Olivier III de Clisson, Jeanne was a happily married mother of five, and a lady of Brittany, France. But when land wars between England and France led to her husband being charged with treason and punished with decapitation, she swore revenge on the France’s King Philip VI.

The widowed de Clisson sold all of her land to buy three warships, which she dubbed her Black Fleet. These were painted black, draped with blood red sails, and crewed with merciless privateers. From 1343-1356, the Lioness of Brittany sailed the English Channel, capturing the French King’s ships, cutting down his crew, and beheading with an axe any aristocrat who had the misfortune to be onboard.

7. Anne Dieu-Le-Veut

Also from Brittany was this French woman. But as fate would have it, her second husband was killed by the man who’d become her third. Dieu-le-Veut insisted on a duel with Laurens de Graaf, to avenge her late mate. The Dutch buccaneer was so taken by her courage that he refused to fight her, and instead offered her his hand. They married on July 28th, 1693, and had two more children.

Dieu-le-Veut set sail with de Graaf, which was considered odd as many seamen considered women on ships bad luck. Yet Dieu-le-Veut and de Graaf’s relationship has been compared to that of Anne Bonny and Calico Jack, in that they were inseparable partners who sneered at superstition.

8. Sayyida al-Hurra

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A contemporary and ally of the Turkish pirate Barbarossa, Sayyida al-Hurra was a pirate queen and was the last woman awarded the title of al Hurra (Queen), following the death of her husband who had ruled Tétouan, Morocco. In fact, her real name is unknown. Sayyida al Hurra is a title that translates to “noble lady who is free and independent; the woman sovereign who bows to no superior authority.”

She ruled from 1515-1542, controlling the western Mediterranean Sea with her pirate fleet while Barbarossa roamed the eastern side. Al Hurra’s inspiration to take to piracy came from a wish for revenge against the “Christian enemy” she felt had wronged her years before when Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella ran her Muslim family out of Granada. She was a feared figure for the Spanish and Portuguese, whose historical records are peppered with paperwork involving reports about her exploits and ransoms.

9. Ching Shih794634986

One of the most feared pirates of all time was this menace of the China Sea. Born in humble beginnings as Shi Xiang Gu, she was working as a prostitute when pirates captured her. In 1801, she married the notorious Chinese pirate Zheng Yi. Yi’s Red Flag Fleet was immense, made up of 300 ships and somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 men.

Gu became known as Ching Shih, which meant widow of Zheng.  To help her maintain the day-to-day concerns of the sprawling pirate army she had just inherited, Ching Shih enlisted the help of Chang Pao, a fisherman’s son who had been adopted by Yi. To manage so many, Ching Shih essentially set up her own government to establish laws and even taxes. Breaking her laws lead to decapitation. She was revered and feared as far away as Great Britain.

10. Lagertha

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Lagertha’s career as a warrior began when Frø, king of Sweden, invaded Norway and killed the Norwegian king Siward. Frø put the women of the dead king’s family into a brothel for public humiliation. Hearing of this, Ragnar Lodbrok came with an army to avenge his grandfather Siward. Many of the women Frø had ordered abused dressed themselves in men’s clothing and fought on Ragnar’s side. Chief among them, and key to Ragnar’s victory, was Lagertha.

She was described as ” a skilled Amazon, who, though a maiden, had the courage of a man, and fought in front among the bravest with her hair loose over her shoulders. All-marveled at her matchless deeds, for her locks flying down her back betrayed that she was a woman.”

11. Alfhild

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Alfhild, daughter of the GeatishkingSiward, was ashield maiden, who had her own fleet ofviking ships, with crews of young female pirates, who raided along the coasts of the Baltic Sea.

As a young princess, Alfhild’s chamber was guarded by a lizard and a snake, which scared away unworthy suitors. A Danish prince named Alf, also of Geatish descent, came to Geatland and defeated the animal guards. But Alfhild, advised by her mother, fled from Alf dressed as a man, and she became a shield maiden.

12. The Lady of the Mercians

Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians, ruled Mercia from 911 to her death in 918. Æthelflæd was born at the height of the Viking invasions of England.  On her husband’s death in 911 after the Battle of Tettenhall, she was recognised as the “Lady of the Mercians”. This was not a purely honorific title; Æthelflæd was a formidable military leader and tactician and ruled for eight years.

13. “The Sea Queen of Connaught”

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Grace O’Malley also known as Queen of Umaill, chieftainof the Ó Máille clan followed in the footsteps of her father Eoghan Dubhdara Ó Máille. Upon his death, she inherited his large shipping and trading business. Even as a young woman O’Malley was involved in the business of sailing ships and international trade.[19] She probably learned the business from her father who plied a busy international shipping trade. It is known that she always wanted to join his fleets, but he always refused. Bunowen Castle, where she lived with her first husband was situated on the most western point in Connacht and was apparently the first base for her shipping and trade activities. By the time of an-Chogaidh’s death in the early 1560s, she commanded the loyalty of so many O’Flaherty men that many of them left the area when she did and followed her to Clare Island in Clew Bay, where she moved her headquarters.

Her first husband took a fortress in the Lough Corrib from the Joyce clan. Because of an-Chogaidh’s attitude, the Joyces began calling that particular fortress “Cock’s Castle.” When they heard of his death, they decided to take back the castle. However, O’Malley successfully defended it and apparently the Joyces were so impressed with her abilities in battle that they renamed it Caisleán na Circe, the “Hen’s Castle,” the name by which it is still known. The English later attacked her at the Hen’s Castle, but despite being outnumbered, O’Malley withstood the siege. According to legend, she took lead from the roof of the fortress and melted it, then poured it onto the heads of the attacking soldiers. She summoned help by sending a man to light a beacon on the nearby Hill of Doon. Help arrived and the English were beaten back, never to attack the fortress again.

14. Ingela Gathenhielm

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From 1711, Ingela was married to the privateer and pirate Lars Gathenhielm, who in 1710 had received permission from the king to attack and plunder ships from enemy nations on the Baltic Sea (and also, as it was said, often attacked other ships as well) and sold the valuables of the ship in Dunkerque. He was making a fortune, and was ennobled in 1715.

Ingela had met Lars when they were children, as the farms of their parents were next to each other. They had five children, and she is believed to have been not only his wife but also his companion in his professional life, and the brain behind a lot of his plans as a privateer and pirate. They both ran the affairs from their base inGothenburg. When her husband died in 1718, Ingela took over his Privateering (and his alleged Pirate empire), continued its business and also expanded it during the remaining war. She was called the Shipping Queen.

15. Rachel Wall

Rachel Wall  was an American female pirate, and the last woman to be hanged inMassachusetts. She was alsothe first American-born woman to become a pirate.

When George Wall, her husband, went to the sea on a fishing schooner after the newlyweds moved toBoston, Rachel took up a job as a servant. When George came back, he brought with him five sailors and their lovers, and persuaded Rachel to join them. In one week, the party had spent all their money and the schooner set sail again, upon which George suggested they all become pirates. He borrowed another schooner from a friend, and the party set sail.

Rachel and her crew worked in the Isle of Shoals, just off the New Hampshire coast. After storms Rachel would stand on the deck and scream for help. When passers-by came to give aid, they were killed and all their goods stolen. The crew was successful in capturing twelve boats, stealing $6,000 cash, an indeterminate amount of valuables, and killing twenty-four sailors, all between 1781 and 1782.

The Spurs Name WNBA Star As Assistant Coach

On Tuesday morning the San Antonio Spurs named WNBA star Becky Hammon as an assistant coach, making her the second female member of an NBA coaching staff.

The first woman, Lisa Boyer, who is now the associate head women’s basketball coach at South Carolina, was a member of “John Lucas’ staff in Cleveland in the 2001-02 season,” according to ESPN. Hammon is the first woman to serve full-time on an NBA staff.

In July 2011, Hammon was listed as one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All-Time. The basketball star also ranks seventh in WNBA history in points (5,809), fourth in assists (1,687) and sixth in games (445), according to an NBA press release.

Gregg Popovich, the Spurs head coach, released a statement on Tuesday saying that he “very much” looked forward to “the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff.”

enhanced-buzz-17597-1407258248-12San Antonio Stars guard Becky Hammon (25) and Washington Mystics guard Kara Lawson (20), June 29, 2014.
Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed

“Having observed her working with our team this past season, I’m confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs.”

“Nothing in my life has really ever been easy. I’ve always been someone who did it uphill,” Hammon said. “I’m up for challenges. I’m up for being outside the box, making tough decisions and challenges. … And I’m a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. Throw those all in there and this was the perfect challenge and opportunity.”

That makes her fit right in with the Spurs, an organization with a reputation for bold decisions. Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford have long been at the forefront of the league’s international influx and earlier this summer hired European coaching legend Ettore Messina as an assistant.

“As far as women coaching men, it’s really silly. People ask me all the time, will there ever be a woman player in the NBA?” Hammon said. “To be honest, no. There are differences. The guys are too big, too strong and that’s just the way it is.

“But when it comes to things of the mind, things like coaching, game-planning, coming up with offensive and defensive schemes, there’s no reason why a woman couldn’t be in the mix and shouldn’t be in the mix.”

It’s been a long time coming for female basketball players and coaches who have long dreamed of getting a chance in the NBA.

“I was so excited and pleased and the one thing that people have to remember is that the San Antonio Spurs don’t do anything for effect,” said Nancy Lieberman, a former star player who was a head coach in the NBA Development League in 2009 and now serves as the GM of the Texas Legends. “That’s not who they are. They don’t do this for the record-breaking barrier. They do things out of respect.

“And the fact that Coach Popovich has this much respect for Becky’s basketball IQ, for how she handles herself with the guys in practice, her ability to relate to them, I’m sure he saw so much when she was working with them last fall. I’m sure he didn’t hire her because she was a woman. I’m sure he hired her because she was the best person for the job.”

Charlotte Hornets sideline reporter Stephanie Ready, who served as an assistant on the Coppin State men’s team as well as in the D-League, called Popovich the perfect person to hire Hammon “because he’s proven he has a tremendous track record and he does not make bad decisions.”

“That’s the first step, having the precedent set is very important,” Ready said. “A lot of it also is now women will know these jobs are available. In the past, a lot of women probably didn’t try because they didn’t think it was possible. I think you may very well see an increase in seeing some females hired.”

Saudi Arabia Refuses To Allow Women To Enter The Asian Games

What century is it again? Saudi Arabia sparked international outrage this week after refusing to send any women to participate in the Asian Games. They are sending 199 men instead to participate in the multi-sport event, to be held in South Korea later this month. The Asian games are held every four years for athletes across Asia. This move has been described as “a backward step for women’s participation in sport”.

Saudi Arabia is the only country among the 45 competing nations at the Asian Games, which start in South Korea on Friday under the slogan “Diversity Shines Here”, to have selected an all-male team.

According to Mohammed al-Mishal, the secretary-general of Saudi Arabia’s Olympic Committee, no woman has yet “reached a level” for international competition.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) that organises the Asian Games, said there were no rules forcing countries to pick females but he was surprised Saudi Arabia had not chosen any after being widely applauded for including women at the last Olympics.

“Saudi Arabia broke through the ice when they participated at the London Olympics with a female,” he told Reuters in an exclusive interview.

“It showed they are ready, they are capable to have women participate.

“I don’t know why they are not participating here, maybe for technical reasons.”

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director of Human Rights Watch, condemned the decision, saying: “Refusing to send women to the Asian Games casts doubts on Saudi Arabia’s commitment to end discrimination and allow Saudi women to participate in future competitions.

“Women’s sports have a long way to go in Saudi Arabia. Now is the time for Saudi Arabia’s sports officials to lay down concrete plans for female sports in girls’ schools, women’s sports clubs, and competitive tournaments, both at home and abroad.”

A member of the Saudi Olympic committee said on September 4 that the kingdom plans to send women to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. But Saudi officials should make clear what steps they are taking to ensure that women are included in other future competitions and are able to participate in sports generally.

enhanced-buzz-26624-1411134318-16Sarah Attar participated in the London 2012 Olympics
Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed

Under international pressure, Saudi Arabia included two women in its team at the 2012 Olympics in London – Wujdan Shahrkhani in judo and Sarah Attar in track and field – although neither met qualifying standards. They participated under the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s “universality” clause, which allows athletes who do not meet qualifying standards to compete when their participation is deemed important “for reasons of equality.” The two women were still required to be accompanied by their male guardians and to wear appropriate clothing.

Al-Mishal’s statement to Reuters says that Saudi Arabia is preparing to send women to Rio de Janeiro in 2016 “on a good scale,” but that they are not yet ready to compete in Incheon. “Technically, we weren’t ready to introduce any ladies and the new president of our Olympic committee (Prince Abdullah bin Musaed bin Abdulaziz) rejected sending women to only participate – he wanted them to compete,” al-Mishal is quoted as saying.

Al-Mishal also said that the kingdom is focused on training women to compete in only four sports – equestrian, fencing, shooting, and archery – which he says are “accepted culturally and religiously in Saudi Arabia.”

“Limiting women’s participation to specific sports is yet another example of Saudi Arabia’s refusal to allow women to compete on an equal basis with men,” Whitson said. “Saudi Arabia should allow women to compete in sports across the board and offer them training equivalent to the training Saudi men receive.”

enhanced-30997-1411134416-20Female Athletes in Saudi Arabia
Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed

Saudi authorities also began allowing licenses for private sports clubs for women in March 2013, and the first club opened in the Eastern Province city of Khobar in June 2013.

Human Rights Watch documented in its February 2012 report, “‘Steps of the Devil’: Denial of Women’s and Girls’ Rights to Sport in Saudi Arabia,” that Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that, as a matter of policy, still effectively bars girls from taking part in sport in government schools. There is no state sports infrastructure for women, with all designated buildings, sports clubs, courses, expert trainers, and referees restricted to men. Discrimination against girls and women in sports still takes place at multiple levels, including:

  • The continued lack of physical education for girls in state schools;
  • The lack of representation on national sports bodies, as well as the country’s Olympic Committee, which means there are no competitive sports events for Saudi women athletes in the country; and
  • The denial of government financial support for Saudi sportswomen in national, regional, or international competitions.

“Saudi Arabia needs to end its discrimination against women and ensure women’s right to participate in sport on an equal basis with men,” Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director, said.