On the limitations of femininity

Just listening to the world service before bed, I heard this interview with a London teenager (part of a series on Outlook, about the 2012 generation). The young woman, who sounds quite remarkable, was apparently an excellent swimmer. But she reports that she ditched her Olympic aspirations because the muscle she gained stopped her looking feminine. You can listen to the show here (its about 15 mins into the show).

Race in America

This is one of those New York Times trend pieces that’s wholly anecdotal and for that reason a bit dubious. (Though unlike others, it’s not just interviews with people NY journalists are likely to bump into at parties.) The trend it suggests is one that fits with the evidence on implicit bias— white people being more friendly to black people now that there’s a really prominent highly admired black person who they’re seeing images of all the time. Reading the article was both disturbing and hopeful (on the assumption that there’s a real trend here). Disturbing (and depressing) to read of a black man being called ‘sir’ and treated with respect on a regular basis for the first time. Disturbing (and depressing) to read white people saying that now they feel they have something to talk about to black people so they’re now able to make conversation (WTF!?) and happy that they can do this. (Though this may be a kind of rationalisation offered when the guy in question is asked to reflect on his new-found friendliness to black people.) But hopeful in that at least some changes may be taking place. Maybe. (Thanks, Mr Jender!)