Characters as Demigods
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[Hope]: When I was a young girl it was my dream to be the best goalkeeper in the world, it was my dream to play in the Olympics and the World Cup. And when I first made it to the team I was grateful for having the opportunity to play the game I love. And that was the mindset of so many women athletes. ‘You have this opportunity to play soccer and make a living, so shut your mouth, be grateful, and just continue on down this road.’ And as I got older you start to see that things aren’t quite right - the hotels we’re staying at, flying economy class whereas our men’s team flies business class and private jets, and you start to see the inequities.

And you’re still quite young so you don’t really speak out against them.

But as I got older - you start realizing this isn’t right. We brought in 20 million dollars to the federation. So not only is it federal law to pay men and women equally based off of if they have the same employer, if they do the same job, if they have the same responsibilities, if they put in the same hours of work, then you have to pay them the same. You cannot discriminate based off of gender. And that is federal law - and it was passed in 1963. So we made the federation 20 million dollars, the men made the federation negative 2 million dollars last year. They are also projected to lose money for the federation in 2017 and 2018. We had the best soccer rating in the history of football here in America - men or women - we had the most watched game in the history of football. And yet we get paid not 75 cents to the dollar like most working women here in America - we actually get paid 25 cents to the dollar compared to the men. And we’re more successful - we win championships, we win World Cups, we win Olympics. 

[Interviewer]: I think I read the women got 75 thousand dollars bonus for winning the world cup last year and if the men had won - which they haven’t won, they placed 3rd in 1930 - but they would have gotten over 400 thousand dollars had they won. So the women are making less than 20%.

[Hope]: US Soccer told everybody, the media and the EEOC, that the top women’s player from the years of 2008- 2015 made 1.2 million dollars. The top male player in the same time period made 1.4 million dollars. So really it’s only a difference of 2.2%. They neglect to tell everybody that we made that money because we won Olympics in 2008, we got silver in 2011, we won the Olympics in 2012, and we won the world cup in 2015. We made 1.2 million dollars because we had to win to make that money. And not only once we win, then we have to do a 10 game tour so now we’re playing more games as well to get what is supposed to be our bonus money. But we have to work more to actually receive our bonus money. So that’s the interesting thing, US Soccer is telling the EEOC that it’s about ticket sales when it’s about so much more than that. 

The decision that’s made in October by the EEOC - I pray that this is going to be life changing for everybody in the workforce. I pray that they’re going to do the right thing because the evidence is there. And I really truly believe that this can be a historical moment for equality for women.

[Interviewer]: Thank you for having the courage to lead that fight.

[Hope]: To lose my job for saying the word ‘coward’ after over 17 years of service is unprecedented. I think there’s a lot of layers to it but I think it’s absolutely a double standard. And as much as perhaps I shouldn’t have said the word coward, I never should have lost my job. And it hurts and I put my passion and my love into the game for so many years and I dedicated my life to the sport, to our country. And at the end of the day after 17 plus years of service with 3 months of severance consisting of 13 thousand dollars, no retirement, no medical, and that’s it. It’s like ‘thank you for your services, you said the word coward, now get out.' 

[Interviewer]: Well you’re not alone. Many have called it a gross overreaction, rather unprecedented in terms of impunitive action, and it’s almost impossible not to see a double standard given this: according to Harvard law school’s review of domestic violence and sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by male athletes in the MLB, NFL, and NBA from the beginning of 2012 through the end of 2014, of 64 reported incidents only 7 players were punished by their league - that’s less than 10%. It seems that when men misbehave on or off the field its most often swept under the rug. In the soccer world you’ve got male players dropping F-bombs and biting competitors on the field and somehow we just shrug it off as ‘boys will be boys.’ But the standards are different for women. And you are an aggressive player on the field; one of the most exciting things is seeing you charge down the field in your fierce warrior face. And that is celebrated because it wins tournaments, it brings in big ratings, it brings in a lot of revenue. But there seems to be an expectation that that gets shut down the split second the whistle is blown. You’re supposed to become a 'good girl’ and not have a strong opinion minutes after the heat of battle. 

[Hope]: I think it all started in 2007, where I was first labeled a certain way. I was labeled as a selfish teammate, I was labeled as outspoken, I was labeled as not the girl next door basically. A female athlete who had opinions. And I used to take that to heart, it used to offend me, it used to make me sad, and now I’ve realized when the media tries to put me down by calling me outspoken - I embrace the word outspoken. Quiet people are not going to make change in this world.

I think there’s a lot of layers to it though. We talked about the double standard. I think male chauvinism is embedded into the workplace, it’s institutionalized in our workplace, and I think it’s embedded into [sports] in America. It’s embedded in our cultural society. We might be ready politically to make these changes - we had the equal pay act in 1963 and perhaps we’ll have a woman president who knows. Politically we might be ready, but the mindset of so many people is so far removed from equality and putting women on the same level as men. Nobody is overseeing these laws that are put into place.

[Interviewer]: What would you want people to know about you that counters the face value assumptions of some of these things that you just cannot understand through a headline?

[Hope]: Well like I said in 2007 is when I got labeled all sorts of different ways and I felt like I could never tell my own narrative. It was always ESPN or Fox or whoever wanted to give their opinion about me. And it wasn’t until recently through social media where finally I could give my audience my own point of view. Which kind of has changed the landscape for how people really see me. I’m not trying to change the minds of those who’ve already made judgments against me. I think I’m trying to really show young girls that it’s okay to be yourself, that we don’t have to be soft spoken, we can be opinionated, it’s okay to be different, and it’s okay to fight for what’s right. It’s hard for me because I’ve been doing interviews my entire career and people tell me I’m one of the best interviewers because I’m so honest - but then it’s the same thing that gets me in trouble is being so honest. But at the same time I have dads and moms alike tell me “you are such a role model for my young girl because you want to be authentic and stand up for things. You’re not living up to the way others want you to live up to.” So for people say I’m not a role model - that’s the media saying that. I have the letters from these parents to show otherwise. They want their young girls to grow up confident and outspoken and trying to change the world. So I am proud of everything that I’ve done and being outspoken. I know it hasn’t been an easy road by any means but if you take the easy route where are you gonna get in life, right?

I’ve been the best goalkeeper on the US team for close to 20 years. I didn’t lose my spot based off my skill. I didn’t lose my contract based off anything except saying the word coward. Which we know now it’s layered with many other things like my fight for equal pay, like the lawsuit against US Soccer, like standing up to my employer to create change. I’ve been fighting for health reimbursement for all players, I’ve been fighting for retirement plans for all players, I’ve been fighting for a new CBA that’s more equal to the men’s CBA, and the federation didn’t like it. I started asking a lot of questions, I started emailing the 'wrong people’ - but those are the same questions that got me fired.

My passion is to continue the fight, this good fight for equality, and I’ve been fighting it for the last 10 years. This has been going on for a long time. My fight to try to get our team to understand - we deserve more. And when you’re intimidated by your employer because they say “look it’s your obligation to build women’s soccer in America, it’s your obligation so you should accept 30 thousand dollars to play in the professional league. You should accept playing on turf.” And we got guilted into believing that. And they said “if you don’t play then we’re not going to schedule any games for you next year which means you won’t make any money next year.” And we have players with children on the team, and they were going to lose their medical, and it was very intimidating and it took a long time for us to be brave enough to say we are taking on our employer, we are getting a new attorney, and we’re gonna see this thing through. It’s been my passion, it’s been a fight I’ve been very involved in for over a decade, and just because I got fired doesn’t mean I’m gonna stay quiet now. I’m still in this fight. I’m confident going into the 2017 CBA, which usually is a 4-8 year contract, but I’m out of the picture. I will not receive these benefits that I’ve been fighting for over a decade.

Hope Solo - The Nantucket Project

This is why Hope Solo’s voice is and will always be important. She stands up for what is right. She has been fighting for these issues for the majority of her professional career. What she is doing is astronomically important, and she continues to be the voice for this cause - at the White House, during years of interviews, on Keeping Score, behind the scenes, in front of the camera, and even after she was fired and they tried to silence her. This fight won’t win itself. She refuses to be silenced, and we need strong, relentless voices like hers to help change WoSo and keep the equality fight alive. What is a legacy? It is planting seeds in a garden you’ll never get to see.

anonymous asked:

Thanks for the deffense for Aang, blaming a 12 years old for the genocide of all his people or his unwilligness to murder was a unpleasing thing to read.

Right? These arguments are brought up almost every time someone wants to bash Aang or take him down a peg (they’re the sort of stuff that get echoed throughout the fandom). I think the idea that he is held on some pedestal is actually false though - he’s pretty controversial.

Of course, in terms of how they view his age or his responsibility w/ the AN Genocide, the fandom is kind of reflective of how ATLA itself deals with the issue. The fact that Aang is a child soldier is important in the show, it’s actually one of the most important facet of his character - he was even visually designed in a way that emphasized his kiddish qualities (really big eyes and head: Aang’s proportions were inspired by a 6 year old boy, so half the age he’s supposed to be).

But it matters most in that everyone around him tends to disregard it. The monks in charge of his education decided to terminate his childhood approximately four years before most other Avatars’ ended (with arguably good reasons), and his friends decided that, as the Avatar, he could no longer have fun with them (”But I’m still the same. Nothing’s changed.”). When he gets out of the iceberg, people blame him for the war as a matter of fact (”You turned your back on the world” or“Have you forgotten that you vanished, allowing the Fire Nation to wreck havoc on the world?” - they don’t care for an explanation, they aren’t trying to be fair), and even when they don’t blame him they still expect him to make things right (to defeat an empire and end a 100 years war like that’s a monumental task and he had approximately 0 training in Avatar stuff and 0 experience in war stuff and he just lost everything - his entire support system is gone: his culture, his home, everyone he ever knew and loved except for Appa). But yeah, to the rest of the world, his age doesn’t matter.

(“I can’t do it. I can’t do it.” “What happened?” “I must have taken down a dozen Fire Navy ships out there but there’s just too many of them. I can’t fight them all!” “But you have to. You’re the Avatar.” “I’m just one kid…”)

He’s just one kid, but truth is, the world is now so fucked up that nobody can properly get that. It’s been a hundred years since Aang’s time (since peace). The old people today grew up during the war (apart from a few exceptions, it’s all they’ve ever known): they, as a generation, probably had to grow up fast too, so I guess there was some idea of childhood innocence lost along the way, from them to their children to their grandchildren (etc.). Aang is a child forced to become a soldier surrounded by other adult kids and adolescent combatants: the difference between them and him is that they were born in this violent environment. Sokka, Suki, Jet, Zuko, Azula, etc. were all trained or trained themselves for war and responsibilities from when they were little. Kids fought this war, kids lost and kids won this war. This is how low the world has fallen. Nobody is no longer willing to be surprised at how terrible this is.

More than that: as the Avatar, Aang is kinda dehumanized by the people around him. General Fong thinks it’s okay to experiment on him, physically assault him or emotionally torture him if it means he can turn him into an efficient weapon in his war (he watches him cry and beg for mercy, watches the kid turn into a monster and all he can think is “it worked!” - that’s a good thing, that’s what was supposed to happen). People all over the world send him to fight their battles without remorse, without question (Water Tribe, Earth Kingdom, White Lotus). A whole city wants him to die a horrific death for a crime he committed in another life. He’s twelve, and he’s asked to let go of fear, guilt, shame, grief, to let go of all his personal attachments for the sake of the world (and he does - even if for just a moment).

Zuko couldn’t bring himself to end Zhao even after all he did to him, he couldn’t watch him be swallowed by the Ocean Spirit without extending a hand, trying to save him. But he watched a kid he knew die, shot with lighting, and showed no emotions (a kid he fought beside, who saved his life twice, who wanted to be his friend - a kid he helped to kill): for him this was only the fall of his nation’s greatest threat. He came to understand the atrocities done by the Fire Nation, to others and to himself, and he confronted Fire Lord Ozai: “My father who challenged me, a thirteen year old boy, to an Agni Kai! How can you possibly justify a duel with a child?” and “It was cruel, and it was wrong!” - but he still had no qualms about sending another kid, even younger than he was back then, to the very thing he thought was so cruel and so wrong. He had no qualms making fun of his unwillingness to kill.

(Why didn’t Zuko do it? He knew the atrocities his father was about to commit, and he had the opportunity - a golden opportunity that would never present itself again. Destiny, really? Is your idea of what “destiny” should be worth risking the world for? I still think the truth was that he couldn’t bring himself to kill someone who meant so much to him for so long.)

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lucaya appreciation week | day three: favorite scene

so i found myself digging @gregzillagt‘s rad redesign of sonic so much that i had to take a swing at it

seeing as i am a sonic cd/ova design loving guy myself this was totally up my alley - also sonic sporting cute red neckwear to match his shoes is always an absolute plus in my book

i feel like we don’t talk about vanitas enough
and the fact that he was taught from an early age that he was worthless if he were not negative, because without negativity there would be no unversed, and without the unversed there would probably be no chance of making the x-blade
he was taught that his only purpose was to forge the x-blade and that if he could not be was a failure
he was abandoned by Xehanort for weeks at a time and probably treated like shit all the time
he had to live constantly with the fact that he was not a whole person, but simply Ventus’ darkness that had been cast away
he had to live with the fact that he was not wanted by anyone at all and that he could never truly have friends because of the destruction he brought with him
i don’t think we talk about vanitas enough