That “backflips were banned in skating because white girls can’t do them” post re: Surya Bonaly really bothers me.
No, they actually are really dangerous, and there are a number of other jumps and lifts that are highly regulated in these events.
When Surya Bonaly did the flip at the Olympics, it wasn’t her ~daring~ them to mark her down. She fell in one of her routines and she couldn’t possibly rank medal level, so she decided to do the flip because it no longer mattered. She could have gotten a perfect score on that skate and still ranked below bronze.
I’m not saying there were no racist comments around Bonaly, because there definitely were, but that post going around is 100% false and stupid and disrespectful of Bonaly’s intent.
I love Surya Bonaly, I saw her skate live and in person and squealed like I was watching a Beatles performance. I saw her do the backflip and swooned. One of the reasons why is that I LOVE that she did the back flip as a fuck you at the Olympics. BUT, while I don’t know everything about Surya, but I did research her a bit when I came into skating four years ago and what I read and learned about her just does not match the tumblr myth of Surya’s career and it’s driving me crazy.
1) The backflip was banned after the 1976 Olympic games. Argue about whether it’s being banned is right all you like, but Surya Bonaly was born in 1973. She didn’t start competing in senior ranks until 1988. She’s not the cause of the backflip being banned.
2) As far as I know Surya never lobbied for backflips to become a judged jump in competitions. I could absolutely be wrong but why would she? She could do them, yeah, but… (see below)
3) She had a amazing career. Surya Bonaly faced a ton of bullshit, no doubt, but here are some of her titles:
French National Champion: 9 times
European Champion: 5 times. CONSECUTIVELY. That’s huge. 5. Years. Running she beat out every competitor including the Russians.
World Championship Silver Medalist: 3 times, consecutively. She lost to Oksana Baiul of Ukraine, Yuka Sato of Japan, and Chen Lu of China.
You want other Grand Prix/International Medals: She’s got 20. 11 of them were gold medals.
4) Surya went to the Olympics 3 times. She placed 5th and 4th at her first two Olympics. I’m sure that was BITTER AS HELL for her. But in 1998, the final Olympics she competed in, she was 10 years into her skating career and after a big injury to her Achilles tendon. She did fall on her first jump sequence in the long program. Which she skated knowing she wasn’t going to get a medal after placing 6th in the short program. She did also believe she was unjustly scored in her short program. (Do I agree? Mmm.) BUT Surya also sure as hell knew she was going to retire and go into pro skating after the Olympics, so why not go out like a goddamn rockstar which is exactly what she did. That’s awesome, applaud that for days. No one even mentions that she bowed to the crowd before the judges!
But remember she did all that after a long career of bring home medal after medal after medal.
5) If you want a hardcore, painful moment of protest, one that actually cost Surya a lot, read up on her protest of the 1994 World Championship judging. That cost her a lot more than a fun and final fuck you before going pro. Just remember, it’s also not an objective situation. Figure skating is subjective. You can choose Surya’s side or Yuka’s, but it’s just choosing sides. You can’t prove right or wrong here, you just form opinions.
6) Surya Bonaly is a lot of things, bad ass, smart, fearless, entertaining, and bold. She was not, however, a constant victim. She had a LOT of gold medals, and a LOT of success, and she was a major figure in competitive skating. That said, I love Surya but I’m still not going to call her a theatrical skater. Unless that theatre is Rocky Horror Picture Show, which she skates to delightfully. She’s fun to watch, but not a skater that moves one to tears.
What’s that worth? Hard to say. That’s one of the primary debates in skating. Now that doesn’t mean that calling skaters “athletic” isn’t often done for bullshit reasons- IT IS - including body type and race when it’s given as a label to women. But the artist vs. athlete debate in figure skating is a little more complicated than reducing it down to, “They didn’t like her so they decided to say she wasn’t artistic.”
Final note: just to put her career in some context, Surya Bonaly embarked on her senior skating career in the 1988-1989 season after the career of Debi Thomas, a black American skater who became World Champion in 1986, and an Olympic Bronze Medalist in 1988. I’m not an expert in that era (or any era, I’m a bad fan), it’s possible there was some behind the scenes old white man fall out from that, but basically Surya didn’t come out of nowhere to the skating world.
Also Debi retired to become a DOCTOR, an orthopaedic surgeon to be precise. She’s amazing, funny, smart, and, in my opinion, an all around skater. I’d love to see people rallying around her too.
I had that post going around about Surya Bonaly bookmarked in my likes so I could write a rebuttal, but I never had time. I think this works better, because it was written by people who were fans of Bonaly. (And even if I did like Bonaly, I was too busy being heartbroken over Michelle Kwan that night.)
And while the commentators didn’t say much about that flip, but I’ll always remember my mom’s reaction, which was basically, “That was an incredibly stupid thing to do, don’t you ever try that on the ice, I hope no kids try to learn that and break their necks. That was so stupid.”
A Reddit user going by the handle “european_douchebag” posted a surreptitious photo of a Sikh woman with the caption “i’m not sure what to conclude from this.” The user’s apparent confusion stems from the fact that the woman—bound by her religion not to cut her hair or alter her body—has an abundance of dark, untrimmed facial hair. The mind of european_douchebag was SO INCREDIBLY BLOWN by the fact that women have hair on their bodies—and, yes, faces—and that some women are bold, self-assured, and pious enough not to cave to western beauty standards (and gender expectations), there was nothing for him to do but post her photo online and wait for the abuse to flood in.
But then something totally lovely and unexpected happened. The woman in the photo responded:
Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I actually didn’t know about this until one of my friends told on facebook. If the OP wanted a picture, they could have just asked and I could have smiled :) However, I’m not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it’s who I am. Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn’t reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying ‘mine, mine’ and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. :-) So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello. I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I’ve gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this. Also, the yoga pants are quite comfortable and the Better Together tshirt is actually from Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that focuses on storytelling and engagement between different faiths. :) I hope this explains everything a bit more, and I apologize for causing such confusion and uttering anything that hurt anyone.
And then, THEN, something even more miraculous happened—the original poster apologized:
I know that this post ISN’T a funny post but I felt the need to apologize to the Sikhs, Balpreet, and anyone else I offended when I posted that picture. Put simply it was stupid. Making fun of people is funny to some but incredibly degrading to the people you’re making fun of. It was an incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant thing to post.
/r/Funny wasn’t the proper place to post this. Maybe /r/racism or /r/douchebagsofreddit or /r/intolerance would have been more appropriate. Reddit shouldn’t be about putting people down, but a group of people sending cool, interesting, or funny things. Reddit’s been in the news alot lately about a lot of cool things we’ve done, like a freaking AMA by the president. I’m sorry for being the part of reddit that is intolerant and douchebaggy. This isn’t 4chan, or 9gag, or some other stupid website where people post things like I did. It’s fucking reddit. Where some pretty amazing stuff has happened.
I’ve read more about the Sikh faith and it was actually really interesting. It makes a whole lot of sense to work on having a legacy and not worrying about what you look like. I made that post for stupid internet points and I was ignorant.
So reddit I’m sorry for being an asshole and for giving you negative publicity.
Balpreet, I’m sorry for being a closed minded individual. You are a much better person than I am
Sikhs, I’m sorry for insulting your culture and way of life.
Balpreet’s faith in what she believes is astounding.
Holy shit, internet, I don’t even know you anymore! I never thought something would come out of the seeping necrotic abscess that is Reddit that would actually make my day better, but wow. MY HEART GREW THREE SIZES THIS DAY.
Be all like, “I have a fiction paper due and I wanna be on Ernest Hemingway’s level.”
I HAVE A MIGHTY NEED
This is a cool idea, but I feel obliged to point out a fun game I know called “Count the Female Authors on this Cup.”
Eh, I’m cool with letting the men have “famously drunk.”
Who needs a fucking book on why cannibalism is wrong
could you imagine will leaving this in glaringly obvious places for hannibal to see
Real talk: one of my college classes had a long talk on why we believe cannibalism is wrong and whether we’re right about that.
(We were reading Robinson Crusoe.)
Asked by Anonymous
You would be right: http://www.hypable.com/2013/02/04/hypable-exclusive-the-darkest-minds-book-2-title-reveal/
My vote is on, “Their Brights in the Washer.”
I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
AWESOME book on sale.
Asked by Anonymous
THE RAVEN CYCLE HAVE YOU NOT BEEN PAYING ATTENTION
I kid. Sort of. Not annoyed at all, but delighted, and let me explain. Here is a summary that comes up when you google The Raven Boys (the first book in this ongoing series):
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them—until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
Here is a corrected version of the above, that actually tells you why this series is the bee’s knees:
And this doesn’t even mention any of the amazing stuff that happens in the second one, which takes the series to a whole new level and makes you appreciate the first more in hindsight. So yeah. I’d recommend starting here and then working your way through her other books if you like them.
This is one of the best things I’ve ever seen, and if this OP would make a tumblr devoted to HONEST BOOK COPY I would follow it to my dying day.
well, yeah. just.