“A Woman’s Work” by Yu Gu highlights the exploitative practices of the NFL against its barely-paid Cheerleaders.

There has never been a film that has made me more glad I grew up “acculturated against professional sports,” and in some senses “male,” than this one.

In high school, I played guitar and shredded better than most men. I knocked my peers on their feet in combat with my Sarah McLaughlin haircut that made people scream “Lesbo.” I made highest marks in Stoichiometry and AP History. I produced news content at the “student executive” level.

I slept with and broke the heart of any man I wanted, sometimes in an act of deliberate egocentricism. Some of them were running backs and quarterbacks — and wrestling captains. I laughed at trophies and brought home my letters and medals. My self-esteem never suffered. I knew the game was impossibly stacked and learned not to care about anyone or anything, deep down in that place inside that makes a person invincibly tough. A therapist and I figured out in my adulthood that — “schadenfreude and enjoyment at the emotional collapse of a male sex partner for the unfair expectations he possesses of the world to serve him,” is likely a difficult orientation to rehabilitate.

“So you only really sexually enjoy activity with men if you break them somehow.”

“Yes.”

“But women?”

“No longer excite me. In my youthful experimentation, I was very kind, loving, supportive, and respectful of boundaries.”

“So you’re not attracted to them?”

“No. Not really, physically. In my youth I was always in one altered state or another and angry with men for the state of the world.”

“But you’re not asexual?”

“No. I orgasm six and seven times daily and am most classically described as oversexed.”

“Curious.”

 

Before I joined the military in my 20’s, I almost took a job in the broadcast industry, aligned with my almost associate’s degree, selling advertising time during football and basketball games.

But a little inner voice I thought was “God” told me to turn it down, flatly, and enlist the same way my  college foray with the Cheerleading team asking me if I wanted to join resulted in laughter and my time in graduate school had me pledging a fraternity I didn’t finish out the requirements on.

That journey through the military a terrifying marriage and a husband who tried to re-acculturate me California Baptist “female” through a series of drugs and rapes supported by our nation’s mental health system, graduate school, communes, activist enclaves and watching my mother’s subsequent genocide by Evangelical Lutherans for being at her core raised by a Jewish, Feminist Atheist, has made me “unique.”

I see abuse for what it is — all over the system. It makes me untenable to a lot of people. Some still threaten forcible Kirkbride-era inspired medical treatment for talking about how factory farmed meat literally severs the arms of undocumented teenagers who can’t see doctors, because their charity really needs to feed unwitting AIDS patients spiral ham and Factory Farm Charoset for Passover with no intellectual challenge or organic non-GMO root beer at the table.

As YuGu so aptly highlights, women are literally making next to nothing and are paying thousands of dollars to appear in calendars they don’t get proceeds from while men make millions to give one an other concussions and create a programming block to place commercials that sell food made with coerced, undocumented child labor stolen from unstable countries.

These women are conditioned from childhood to find this rewarding while they are robbed of all personal power and identity in strength. Her storytelling ability is strong and all of the women in this film have always deserved much more in terms of identity and compensation.

I’m completely done Western Civ. There is simply nothing left to stick a fork into that isn’t patently exploitative to the world’s children, women, or the environment.

But if you’re going to do something this weekend, get a bar of fair-trade chocolate and see this film at VideoFest’s Docufest tonight along with a lineup of films highlighting the often overlooked careers of women.

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