What We’re Reading Now – Rio 2016 Olympics

With the Olympics in full swing, gender issues are playing out on a global stage. Below is a collection of articles that have captured our attention.

The Olympic Guide to Ladybragging, by Megan GarberThe Atlantic, August 15, 2016.

“[T]he unapologetic lady-bragging on display in Rio is evidence that the Olympians are using their own voices—via their social media brand extensions—to reclaim the brag for an age of increased gender parity.”

Uninhibited Chinese Swimmer, Discussing Her Period, Shatters Another Barrier, by Emily Feng, The New York Times, August 16, 2016.

“On Saturday night in Rio, [Fu Yuanhui] freely discussed having her period while competing in the Olympics, breaking what has long been a taboo among female athletes.”

Hope Solo is Comfortable Playing the anti-hero, and That’s Rare for Female Athletes, by Meredith Bennett-Smith, Quartz, August 14, 2016.

Katie Ledecky Is the Olympic Hero We Need, by Anna Silman, New York Magazine, August 11, 2016.

“She doesn’t have time for pettiness or shtick or boasting (or, for that matter, endorsement deals). She’s too busy doing the… work.”

In Brazil, Where Men’s Soccer Once Was King, the Women’s Game Rules, by Michael Powell, The New York Times, August 10, 2016.

“The women’s game — the Brazilian women in particular, but with applause left over for foreign teams as well — has captured the collective imagination here [in Rio].”

Is Olympic Coverage Undercutting Women’s Achievements? by Madison Park, CNN.com, August 9, 2016.

How to Talk About Female Olympians Without Being a Regressive Creep – a Handy Guide, by Lindy West, The Guardian, August 9, 2016.

“Want to avoid gaffes when reporting on female athletes? Do write about the sports they did. Don’t bring their makeup, very small shorts and marital status into it”

Why We Should Frame Katie Ledecky’s Dominance in Terms of Women’s Sports — Not Men’s, by Kavitha A. Davidson, espnW, August 9, 2016.

“Strong female athletes will continue to innovate and evolve their events in terms of women’s sports, not men’s, even if and when that means competing on the same level.”

Michael Phelps, the Male Katie Ledecky, Just Made Olympic History, by Nicolas DiDomizio, Connections.Mic, August 10, 2016.

“[O]ne can’t help but wonder, in the midst of an Olympics that has been tainted by commentators using sexist language to describe female athletes: What if it’s not that Ledecky is the female Phelps? What if Phelps is the male Ledecky?”

The Olympic Quote (That Should Be) Heard ‘Round the World, by Megan Garber, The Atlantic, August 12, 2016.

“Simone Biles is not the next Michael Phelps. She is not the next Usain Bolt. She is the ‘first Simone Biles.’”

Breaking: Women in Hijab Play Sports, by Shireen Ahmed, The Daily Beast, August 12, 2016.

“It’s time to move beyond fetishizing Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad’s headscarf.”

By ‘Packaging’ the Olympics, NBC Insults Viewers, and the Athletes Themselves, by Sally Jenkins, The Washington Post, August 6, 2016.

“Women don’t watch the Olympics for the live results; they watch it for the narrative. Or that’s the reasoning of NBC, anyway.”

U.S. Women Will Rule in Rio (You Can Thank Title IX), by Greg Myre, NPR, August 4, 2016.

“[I]n the Rio Games that start Friday, American women will again outnumber men (292 to 263), with the U.S. women heavily favored to be the more decorated half of the mightiest Olympic team in the world.”

At the Rio Olympics, Women Athletes Bump Against a Gold Ceiling, by Kevin Helliker and Matthew Futterman, The Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2016.

“Despite their high profile and increasing athletic ability, female athletes in 2016 still lag behind men in participation,

events, and medals awarded…”

When it Comes to LGBTQ Acceptance, Female Athletes Are Years Ahead of The Men, by Parker Molloy, Upworthy, August 16, 2016.

“As stigma surrounding gay athletes has diminished, men remain reluctant to come out.”

The Sensitive Question of Intersex Athletes, by Melissa Block, NPR, August 16, 2016.

“At issue: Is it fair to allow [intersex] athletes, who often have high levels of testosterone, to compete with women?”

Why It Matters Nike is Putting Trans Athlete Chris Mosier Front and Center in This New Ad, by Parker Molloy, Upworthy, August 10, 2016.

“It’s been a banner year for the first trans member of Team USA.”   

Nike: Unlimited Courage


U.S. Male Gymnasts Want to Be Objectified, by Louise Radnofsky and Ben Cohen, The Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2016.

“Even when they medal, they stand in the shadow of female gymnasts. Might the answer be disrobing?”

‘Hottest Olympics Dudes’? ‘Ab Appeal’? It’s Objectification When it’s About Women. What About Men?, by Katie Mettler, The Washington Post, August 9, 2016.

Female Olympians Are the Ultimate Shine-Theory Icons, by Ann Friedman, New York Magazine, August 17, 2016.

“Although [women athletes competing in Rio] are pitted against other women in a direct competition for a limited number of medals, they are openly supportive of each other. Despite incredible pressure to win, most of them clearly see their success as tied to the success of other women.”

Banned at Home, Iranian Woman Attends First Volleyball Game, by Janie McCauleyThe Associated Press, August 8, 2016.

“[Sajedeh Norouzi] waved for every woman back home who couldn’t be there alongside her at Maracanazinho arena cheering for the men’s volleyball team in its Olympic debut – her first time in a sports stadium because in Iran women aren’t allowed to attend all-male sports events.”