SF Talking Points: Chess Queen, Does Snooki Value Herself?

Chinese Chess Player Hou Yifan Is a Female Force To Be Reckoned With: Sixteen-year-old Hou Yifan, the women’s world chess champion, is the youngest player, male or female, to ever win a world championship. Now she is not only proving that she has the potential to become one of the best players in a male-dominated sport, but also, as Nick Kristof suggests, the face of China — which has increasingly been granting more opportunities for their young women. And it is huge to see that what used to be one of the most sexist countries in the world is now finally investing in the second sex.

Jared Lee Loughner’s Misogynist Postings: While Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ 22-year-old attacker certainly has more serious problems than his bitterness toward women, the Wall Street Journal has recently unearthed his postings on an online gaming forum that reveal just that. In a tirade he posted called, “Why Rape?” he wrote that women in college actually enjoy getting raped.

“There are Rape victims that are under the influence of a substance. The drinking is leading them to rape. The loneliness will bring you to depression. Being alone for a very long time will inevitably lead you to rape.”

He also wrote stories about girls who didn’t follow up on dates with him, or who rejected him outright. And even though his motivations might not have had anything to do with Giffords’ gender, it is nonetheless disturbing.

An Unexpected Character Breathes New Life Into Women’s Equal Rights Amendment Movement: Justice Antonin Scalia, who said in a recent interview that technically women are not protected against discrimination in the constitution, has inspired a new urgency to have the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passed. For so long, the ERA has been dismissed for its supposed obviousness, but, “though many court interpretations have applied the 14th Amendment’s equal protections clause (created regarding race) to sex discrimination, we knew that it’s just not clearly spelled out enough,” writes Alex DiBranco. While it’s unnerving, to say the least, to have a Supreme Court Justice not consider equal rights between genders a given in this day and age, it is perhaps a blessing in disguise. Support the cause here.

Kathie Lee Would Disown Snooki: “I would be so crazed…if you were my daughter!” Kathie Lee Gifford told 23-year-old Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi on the Today show, ever-so-politely. And though, naturally, it’s no surprise that moms everywhere are taken aback by the antics on Jersey Shore, Snooki gracefully responded, “I think I’m old enough to make my own decisions.” What seems inappropriate about the video, though, is the end: when Kathie Lee advises Snooki to “value herself more.” How a women handles her sexuality is not necessarily equal to her self-worth — unless she is entirely dependent on it to survive, and that’s another issue altogether. But Snooki, now an author and entrepreneur (she has her own line of — guess! — slippers) is, if you watch the show, clearly in love with herself. Sure, she hooks up with random guys at clubs, but that’s not a unique thing to do when you’re in your early 20s, and it hasn’t stopped her from making the most of her fame and fortune. Maybe we wouldn’t want to dress like her or arrange our hair like her almighty poof — but women could probably learn a thing or two about valuing themselves from Snooki.


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Author: Maura Hehir

Maura Hehir is a writer and student studying creative nonfiction writing at New York University. She volunteer-teaches a creative writing class to kids in Harlem and works in the marketing and design department at a bookstore.

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