I’ve got to admit that I’m an Olympics addict. I live for the Olympics, especially the summer games. And I can’t say how thankful I am to have DVR this time around so I can watch everything, still sleep, AND get to miss commercials. And, I’ve gotten Q to be an official Olympic addict with me — what could be better?
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the Olympics from a “labels are for jars perspective,” if you will. In particular, I’ve thought a lot about swimming. There’s something spectacular about the new suits that folks are wearing.
Of course, they help the swimmers go faster than one could ever imagine. But they also do this great thing: they dull the gender binary among swimmers when we look at them, especially from afar. Men are wearing one-piece suits that go over their shoulders. Just like women. And it’s not unmanly. Nor does it mean they are weak. In fact, just the opposite. I like that Q can see men and women in the same suits, especially since bathing suits are, in his mind, a very clear marker of sex and gender, and one that he would like to explore, he reminds us frequently.
The other great thing about these suits is that I’ve not heard a negative comment uttered about them at all. Announcers speak of how they help swimmers go even faster, of their amazing construction, etc. But not once has someone noted the fact that men are wearing the same suits as women, nor have they implied that it took “getting over something” (pride, image, etc) for the men to wear these suits.
So among the heroism, perseverance, and amazing feats that make up the Olympics, I’ve also seen glimpses of yet other ways that we can inject a bit of consciousness into society about our labels and our binary oppositions.