Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mate me, maybe

So Carly Rae Jepsen is around musicians all day long and can't find chess competition?  She needs to hang out with better musicians: Philidor and Ray Charles are dead, but Flea, Sting, Bono, and RZA come to mind. As the previous examples suggest, having a talent and an ego big enough to assume one's name seems to help: Madonna has been known to push wood.

Both music and chess produce prodigies. Hmm.


Frederick Rhine said...

I'm sure some of our young masters would be happy to show her a few mating positions.

Keith Ammann said...

Please to forgive the double deleted comment. I'm struggling with finding the right way to say that the original comment is unacceptable, completely unacceptable, and that we have to stop tolerating comments like it, let alone making them.

Low participation in chess by women and girls is a known issue and a matter of concern to many. Girls' participation declines in middle school and positively plummets in high school; in adulthood, women's participation is nearly nonexistent except in support roles (mostly parental). Fewer than 4 percent of tournament players age 24 and older are women. Do we take the time to ask why that is? More important, do we take the time to ask women, and not just other men, why that is?

I'm not a woman, and I don't pretend to know what women experience firsthand. But greeting the news that a female celebrity is interested in chess with comments on the order of, "Aha! Potential sexual target!" -- does one have to be a super-empath to surmise that this is going to repel more female players than it attracts?

If I'm a woman or an adolescent girl, and I read a comment like that, am I going to feel welcome at a chess club? (For clarity's sake, "welcome" is not synonymous with "likely to be showered with attention, up to and probably including sexual harassment." A better definition would be: "respected as any one human being ought to respect any other; treated with dignity as a member of the group, not as an errant curiosity or object for acquisition.") Anyone who takes a moment or two to consider the question honestly must, I believe, answer "no."

Elizabeth Vicary said...

I'm with Keith on this.
What are you guys, 10 years old?

Bill Brock said...

Keith and Elizabeth are correct. Mea maxima culpa: we can't complain that there aren't enough women in chess while simultaneously objectifying those who do play. It's a bit more complicated when the starmaker machinery behind the popular song has already objectified Ms. Jepsen, but still.

Frederick Rhine said...

I had no idea that anyone read the posts or comments on this blog! Now I find to my dismay that I've become the Todd Akin of chess. Keith makes a good point. My apologies.