Post #8: Guest Speaker Reflection

Soren Larson was a guest lecturer whom I found simply inspiring. Not only did he preach a story of perseverance, but he preached of respect. He came upon the Cheslatta people by pure chance, intending only to be tied to them for as long as he needed to for his own studies. However, by the end of it, he was helping preserve their own culture. Undaunted by the idea of helping them preserve their language through the creation of phone and online content, he helped Google create a keyboard for the Cheslatta people. Quite honestly, I felt ignorant about my own culture in comparison to what he learned about not only himself and how he fits into his own culture, but how his idea of his own culture has changed and evolved to include his identity within the Cheslatta people. In comparison, I feel as if I am still constantly questioning my own role within my own culture, especially being a female wishing to work in the sports industry. While I understand that I am 21 and it is unfathomable to expect that I would be solid in my identity culturally at this moment, the idea is still daunting. Soren Larson was able to fit himself not only into his own culture, but adopted and was adopted by the Cheslatta culture too. On a side note, this topic also brought up the idea of the role of technology in preservation – of identities, of cultural aspects and items et al. We digitize records of many things so that they will not disappear, and it is interesting to think about how Apple viewed the importance of the preservation of the Cheslatta language.

Sherry Meriea also challenged me in that she pushed me to work even harder to break through the glass ceiling. As a woman who has repeatedly done so, she inspired me to work harder to combat gender bias within my own industry. My goal is to be a woman little girls will look up to as a woman in the sporting industry who worked extremely hard in order to combat the multiple gender biases which surround sports. As Sherry Meriea and our reading pointed out, I have noticed firsthand the importance men have in either perpetuating stereotypes or working to squash them. In my internship this pat year, I have been forced to deal firsthand with those men who see me as a sex object first and foremost and not the hardworking professional I am. Learning how to deal with that was definitely a challenge for me, but also having people assume I was having an inappropriate relationship with those I was friends with is an interesting double-standard which still exists in the industry. She inspired me to continue working to show that women belong in the front office of sports teams just as much as men do. Another interesting thing she brought up was the, “Honey,” nickname from when she was actively practicing law. Though it is seen as a small thing, it still represents the gender divide which exists. I related this to when I was in the office one day and one of my bosses said they did not know I knew so much about hockey, which is something my male intern never received. I am glad to know there is nothing wrong with that statement bugging me, for I correctly recognized its role in the proliferation of stereotypes.

Overall, both of these guest speakers really challenged my idea of how exactly I feel I fit into society, from my role as a human being to my role as a woman in sports.

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