Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Feminist's Defense of Men's Gymnastics

As many of you know, I am a former gymnast.  I spent my entire childhood doing the gymnastics thing.    Dude gymnasts, especially during their formative years, often deal with criticism, ridicule, and belittling comments from folks who don't understand the greatness of men's gymnastics.  So, even though I am retired and my gymnastics days are over, I still try to enlighten others about the awesomeness of artistic men's gymnastics.  Recently, I sent a couple of youtube clips of a couple of American gymnasts to a wonderful woman, and proud feminist, named Sonia.  Sonia does not like sports so I assumed she would completely disregard these videos.  However, I was pleasantly surprised by her response and would like to share it with you.  Please note that while I am a sports fan and don't agree with all her views, I found her defense of men's gymnastics to be brilliant and witty.  Here it is:

I know you think I despise all sports; however, I do not hate gymnastics for the following reasons:
1. Obviously my first reason will be that women can compete (sexualized as their bodies may be)
2. I feel like gymnastics requires at the very least some sort of opposed to other sports men participate in (i.e. football) where you just need massive bodies and minimal hand-eye-ball coordination 
3. It is not violent (how many wife beating gymnasts have you come across?)
4. Other more hypermasculine sports rely largely on the ability to invade the personal space of other men, use profanity, and have your performance depend upon aggressive behavior (even though there was an svu episode of a teenage gymnast who killed another female gymnast cuz she wanted her out of the way so she could be "the best")
5. Interestingly enough, I find it to be one of the least homoerotic men's sports
6. One of my friends growing up was a gymnast, and I like him (even though he is a gay conservative)
7. In the first video, the commentator stated "Seriously, just mounting the rings is difficult"

Oh, and here are the videos I sent her because if you appreciate grace, strength, and artistry, then you'll like this and this.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bald Berkman Coming Soon!!

I am proud to announce that on April 14, 2012, I will be shaving my head to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer research. Furthermore, I am extremely honored to be hosting this head-shaving event which will be put on by the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles at the world-famous Laugh Factory. Hooray!

Last year was the first time that I hosted this event for Children's Hospital (but I didn't get shaved). I'm incredibly grateful that I was given this opportunity. I was able to meet so many selfless individuals who are devoted to the cause of finding cures for childhood cancers. I met volunteers from the hospital, doctors, cancer survivors, and mothers whose children had been diagnosed with cancer. It was an emotional day, but a very fun one, too.

I encourage all my LA people to come on out on April 14 to meet some amazing people, eat, drink, and watch me and some other folks lose their hair. Also, since this is about raising money, I need all my people to "sponsor" me and help contribute to the cause. Personally, I think there are few, if any, causes more deserving than trying to make sure that our children stop suffering and dying from cancer. All the money you donate will go to St. Baldrick's, which is "a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives."

I have my own webpage for the event where you can make a donation. On my page, you'll see that I'm honoring Keeghan Barry. Make sure you read about him. He will forever be 12 years old. I met his mother last year when she shaved her head (she's the one on the left in my pic on my webpage for the event). She is an ultra-cool woman who continues to be committed to eradicating pediatric cancers and honoring her son's memory.

Let me know if you want to shave your head or if you're a woman who would find me attractive with a shaved head. I'm trying to plan ahead :).