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Archive for the ‘From the blogosphere’ Category

I’ve written a few times about Elite EC Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Gina Carano, one of the best female fighters in the country.

Needless to say, when I read that Carano’s future is in limbo because her company, Elite XC, is filing for bankruptcy, I was a bit disappointed.

From Pretty Tough:

“The fighting future of top MMA draw Gina Carano is in limbo as word emerged today that the mixed-martial-arts organization Elite XC will file bankruptcy and cease future operations, according to parent company, Pro Elite Inc.

Elite XC, which produced seven of the 10 most-watched MMA matches in U.S. history on two CBS specials in recent months, will be closing its doors at the end of the week. This leaves a roster of fighters, including Carano, looking for work.”

That’s really a shame.

Check out this cool YouTube video from 2007 filmed by Showtime which will give you a good idea of what she’s like:

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I’ve been seeing more and more of this V is for Victory campaign flying around the blogosphere. For example, it can be found on one of my favorite bloggers’ sites, Women Like Sports.

The Women’s Sports Foundation is sponsoring/pioneering this campaign – which I completely support. (Hell – anything is something, right?)

Essentially, these are a series of videos dedicated toward getting girls to recognize if their schools are in compliance with Title IX regulations. Which is extremely important. But it can be done better.

I have to be a little bit critical of its transparency and its lack of digital creativity.

1) WSF should have their name all over it – should be completely transparent that this is where these messages are coming from.

2) The URL should not be confusing (which it is). Vis4victory.org. Wow. It’s far easier to just remember womenssportsfoundation.org. Why not create a micro site with its own (non-confusing) URL? Why is that so difficult? I mean, if you’re going to spring the $ for the video, why not spring for a place it can live permanently?

3) The videos (although true) are a bit unrealistic. Sometimes the inequity isn’t as obvious as these videos make them out to be. Case studies and testimonials would work much better. (not sure of legal issues surrounding that)

4) The questions in WSF’s poll are completely directed toward parents. This needs to change. The girls (themselves) should be answering these questions. It makes girls seem like passive watchers instead of active participants.

5) This campaign needs to be interactive (similar to Gonzaga’s inspired season). Why not have the poll in the video? Why not make this a YouTube video? Why doesn’t WSF create a YouTube video channel and hold contests for girls (i.e., best sports moment caught on film)? The possibilities are endless here.

I hope WSF is watching – and paying attention. Their campaigns could go so much further if the right perspectives were brought in.

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Viral video campaigns could be the much-needed answer to bringing deserved attention to women’s baketball.

Of the sports-related viral videos that I’ve seen, Gonzaga takes the lead – by far – with their newly-launched Inspired Season campaign to sell season tickets.

Stay with me here, this is fun.

By definition, a viral video is a video clip that gains popularity through the process of Internet sharing, typically through email or IM messages, blogs or other media sharing websites. [Think funny YouTube videos such as The Evolution of Dance or “I Got a Crush… on Obama.”]

As you can imagine, my attention was caught when I came across a viral video for women’s basketball. After reading a posting by Adrants (a site that evaluates advertisiments) which said Gonzaga’s efforts to sell season tickets were “well-executed,” I was thrilled – and very, very eager to check it out.

Essentially, Gonzaga University created a microsite (a URL that is separate from the University) called Inspired Season, which is dedicated toward a goal of selling season tickets for only $75. The main feature of this site is its viral video which is interactive through Web AND mobile technology.

The video features Gonzaga’s coach, Kelly Graves, who motivates you to buy tickets and inspires his team to take the court.

Adrants blogger Angela Natividad said,

“To sell tickets for its women’s basketball games, Gonzaga University produced a well-executed online campaign that makes your attendance feel vital.”

This campaign is so good – in fact – that Dan Heath, author of Made to Stick, claims he wanted to buy a pack after engaging the campaign, even though he’s, like, 2,600 miles from Spokane.

It’s important to note that coach Graves, 20 years ago, left a job with a finance company to commit his future to coaching women’s basketball. In 2007, he told Spokesmanreview that he “loved” coaching women’s basketball and never was entised to take a men’s job.

So here he is, leading Gonzaga’s program into his eighth season as the school’s winningest coach and leading women’s basketball into a new age of interactive video awareness campaigns.

To see the campaign, visit Inspired Season.

Did it make you want to buy season tickets? $75 is pretty cheap!

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Apparently, there was a huge Title IX case settled this week down at Florida Gulf Coast University.

So much so – in fact – that you’re reading about it here, and you can find it on the Title IX blog, the Naples News and NBC.

Essentially, a group of women including volleyball coach Jaye Flood and women’s golf coach Holly Vaughn registered concerns over Title IX violations in FGCU’s sports programs.

The case won $3.4 million.

Yay!

Jaye Flood

What’s particularly interesting is that Jaye Flood had the best record of any sports team in the school’s history. When she complained of gender inequity, she was rated poorly, suspended and ultimately fired.

And that, my friends, is against the law.

When I first read about this, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I mean, seriously? Does this still happen?

Linda Correia, lead counsel for Flood and Vaughn, says, “This is the price of retaliation,” Correia filed the Title IX lawsuit earlier this year in Ft. Meyers, Florida with Public Justice, a national public interest law firm also based in Washington, DC.

Here’s a little bit more background information on the women who filed suit.

Coach Jaye Flood compiled a record of 80 wins and 13 losses in the first three years of the volleyball program, the best win-loss record of any coach in FGCU history.  In her team’s first year in Division I, Coach Flood’s team  won the Atlantic Sun Conference, and she was honored as the Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year.  After Coach Flood registered her gender equity concerns with the school, and despite her performance, FGCU rated her poorly and suspended her. Coach Flood was fired four days after filing her Title IX lawsuit.

Holly Vaughn

Holly Vaughn

Women’s Golf Coach Holly Vaughn was a professional tour golfer when she developed FGCU’s women’s golf program, accumulating 11 tournament wins in her first four years of play and ranking as high as number 3 in its division.  Unlike male coaches, Coach Vaughn was not offered a full-time position and was not permitted to select her own assistant coach.  Coach Vaughn earned far less than male coaches, and was compelled to share her office in a trailer with a men’s team assistant coach.

Coach Flood and Coach Vaughn complained about gender equity under Title IX and claim they were retaliated against as a consequence.  The law also prohibits retaliation for complaining about Title IX violations.

It’s clear that Title IX needs to stay due to situations such as this. People can’t get away with this, and I’m so happy to see women like Jaye Flood and Holly Vaughn standing up for themselves and lawyers like Linda Correia representing us.

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Layne Beachley is regarded as the best female professional surfer in history.

I was sad to read on Sporty Sistas that Beachley has felt the unending pressures of body image that her career has placed upon her.

This is big news since this is someone whose ego should be boosted – she’s won the World Championship seven times in her career.

She became a professional surfer at the age of 16 and was ranked sixth in the world by the time she was 20.

But in the 1990’s, she suffered from two instances of “chronic fatigue,” which threatened to end her surfing career.

It turns out that the “chronic fatigue” story had a little more behind it.

According to Sporty Sistas, Beachle recently released Beneath the Waves – a chronicle of how she got liposuction on her tummy at the very young age of 24.

Here’s what Sporty Sistas had to say about this,

“It’s comforting to know she has body insecurities just like 99% of girls out there, but on the flip side Layne makes a really disturbing observation that a women’s sporting career can only truly flourish if they are beautiful.”

Personally, I don’t find that comforting at all. It’s so (incredibly) wrong when the best surfer in the world thinks she’s fat and she’s pressured to win AND look perfect.

I have no doubt that this is the result of the way women surfers are objectified in the media (much like many female athletes are).

Beachle was quoted in an article titled, Winners, if they only look good as well, where she said,

“If you don’t fit that image then you’re not worthy of support … It’s a really unreasonable ethic to have,” she says.

I totally agree with the Sporty Sistas when they say,

“admiration is not only about their sporting success, but also heavily due to their sex appeal.” and “sexiness is the defining attribute that determines how big these endorsement can get. And with endorsements comes the ability to drum up support, and thus promote a longer and more recognised career.”

They have valid point here, and they certainly drove it home.

Sexiness sells. That’s what the media is interested in. And anything (or anyone) that “sells” has a better chance of getting endorsed.

And sometimes, unfortunately for women, in order to be a successful, endorsed athlete, you need to be perfect on the field, in life, and in the mirror.

As a society, we have to ask ourselves – when it comes to the health of these athletes, where can we draw the line?

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I read something interesting today on a popular male sports blog, With Leather.

This news certainly caught my attention, but this blogger’s opinion left me a bit less than thrilled. (Check out the picture to the right for example A)

According to the Wall Street Journal, because fewer and fewer men are going hunting, the sport has started to target women.

Apparently, they’re trying everything from “pink guns to gender-specific hunting courses.” Also, they’re looking for hunting spokeswomen, creating specially-tailored weapons, such as lighter crossbows and apparel makers such as SHE Safari and Foxy Huntress LLC are marketing camouflage expressly to women.

With Leather mentioned that womenhunters.com offers support.

Now, of course, since With Leather is so deeply involved in casting opinion on some of the world’s greatest athletes, you’d expect him to make an intelligent comment from all of this, right?

Wrong. Think again.

Here’s what With Leather had to say:

“First of all, do NOT waste your time at WomenHunters.com.  I went there expecting tips on hunting women, and it left a lot to be desired.  Why can’t I get a little support here?  I’ve been targeting women for years, and the Wall Street Journal hasn’t written dick about me.  I can’t even get a license.  Apparently hunting women is only legal in Ohio and Texas.”

Ah, how refreshed and inspired I feel from reading that.

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I am at a Blogher conference in DC today at the Hyatt in Bethesda, MD.

If you’re not already familiar, Blogher is an online community for women who blog.

The conference in DC has some basic sessions on blogging 101, finding social communities and leveraging your voice online. Plus, it’s a great networking event to meet fellow women bloggers in the DC-metro area and to check out what some of the online vendors have to offer.

I have to ask the question – where are all of the women’s sports bloggers in the DC area? Wish they were here.

Details about today’s event can be found here.

Yes, I’m typing on my computer at the event. (I know, NERD!) But I’m not alone. Almost everyone has a laptop and they’re typing away. Those who don’t have their laptops seem awkwardly envious of mine.

So far this morning, I’ve met a few women who are interested in women’s sports. It was particularly encouraging to see women from the National Women’s Law Center who mentioned that they visited my blog because I’ve linked to their site in the past.

I’m so glad to see NWLC is aware of the blogosphere and engaged. Oh, and they have a blog called Wommenstake. Check it out. I’m looking forward to following up with the ladies I’ve met.

If you have any questions about today’s conference, feel free to e-mail me at bciplayedsports@gmail.com.

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