The All Boys Club

stadiumOn Friday, September 12, 2014, The New York Times ran a front page article entitled, “Ray Rice Is an Outlier: Most Suspects Play On.” Albeit a female, the reporter had to “stick to the script,” only giving an account of the facts as she had researched them; keeping any, and all opinions to herself. This makes me extremely happy I live in America where I – little old me – can make my voice heard. In this piece, she cited three different instances where professional athletics abused their wives/girlfriends. A pitcher from the Philadelphia Phillies assaulted his wife, witnesses saying he hit her in the face and pulled her hair; a goaltender with the Colorado Avalanche, a National Hockey team kicked his girlfriend to the floor, stomping her in the chest. Lastly, she mentioned a defensive lineman with the San Francisco 49ers who also abused his expectant fiancée.

Let me first of all say, there are women down the line in administration in these organizations, but I believe they do not, and will never have a say in what clearly are, “All Boys’ Clubs.” We are well aware, these associations are set a part from the court systems, and I’ve read that any one group will not hand out any strict punishment until a Judge has handed down his, or her decision. In this I completely disagree. As one is not contingent on the other, why wait for a judicial ruling? Without question, there has to be a “NO TOLERANCE” attitude taken on by any league, because otherwise, isn’t the meaning one of clear condoning? My simple message: Domestic violence of any sort is reason for dismissal – not only from the team, but from the alliance. I have also read somewhere along the way that coaches are willing to forgive and forget, because a particular player is such a value to his team. As always, I’m left reminding, and asking anyone if they would allow some guy to abuse their sister or daughter? Would you then, say – “Well, you know he is a good provider, and he loves her.” When does violence spell L – O – V – E?

Yes, every country is proud of their professional sports teams; this has been since Greek Olympic games, or what have you held at the Colosseum in Greece, or Italy. But, to allow a player to suit up, or even come into the stadium, because a verdict has not been made by any court system is, in my opinion, beyond shocking. It is my belief, if you mess up, you’re gone. And, don’t anyone try to explain why this person is such an asset to the team – he’s the best at whatever – if he abuses his wife, or girlfriend that moves him backward in development. You cannot put a price on a woman’s sanity, safety, and well being. I have read conflicting research, indicating that low self-esteem is not a reason why some women tolerate this type of behavior, and others that definitely link the disorder to accepting abuse. I have to say again, how can any one stable person describe this kind of mistreatment as love.

Have the women who ran along the streets of Baltimore in support of “their” team, stepped back for even a minute to remember the then girlfriend knocked unconscious, and dragged shamefully along the floor, while the world stood by as witness? We know this type of man is acting out what he has seen growing up through the years, and that he has absolutely no respect whatsoever for any female. But, shame on these #27 jersey wearing people, because they too have condoned this outrage. Ray Rice told the Entertainment & Sports Programming Network (ESPN), “We have a lot of people praying for us.” I say we all pray that this young woman’s eyes are opened, because if she’s been abused once, it’s only a matter of time before it’s revisited. Tell me what you think.

Information from Deadspin, NY Times, ESPN & CBS News



Wednesday’s Blog


Written by SHELLY BELL

In 2010, authors Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult spoke out about the gender disparity between male and female authors in the New York Times Reviews. Keeping track for two years, Jennifer Weiner calculated that sixty percent of the reviews were for books authored by men. According to her blog,

“In 2011, the Times reviewed 254 works of fiction. 104, or 40.9 percent, were by women, and 150, or 59.1 percent, were by men.

Of the works of fiction that got two full reviews, 21 were by women, 22 were by men.

Of the works that received one full review plus a mention in a round-up, 5 were by women, 11 were by men.

Finally, of the works of fiction whose authors were reviewed twice (either with two full reviews, or review plus roundup) and profiled, one was a woman and ten were men.”

When we look at the numbers alone, we can assume that there is a disparity between the genders. However, there are other factors to take into consideration before relying on that assumption.

Several studies have been conducted to determine the cause for the gender disparity. Some theorize women are published less than men. Others speculate the reason is that women send less query letters. Another guess is that there are more male than female reviewers.

Historically, books written by women haven’t received the same respect as those written by their male counterparts. In the nineteenth century, women used male pen names in order to publish and market their books. Here are a few examples:

  • “A Lady” – Jane Austen
  • George Sand – Aurore Dudevant
  • Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell – Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte
  • A.M. Barnard – Louisa May Alcott
  • George Eliot – Mary Ann Evans

Authors still use male or ambiguous pen names for their books. When J.K. Rowling began publishing Harry Potter, her publishers asked her to use the initials because they didn’t believe boys would read it if it was written by a woman.

The fact is we’ve come a long way over the last two hundred years, but prejudice against women remains, regardless of our progressive thinking. While book critics primarily ignore the romance genre, they apparently make exceptions for male authors of romance. Author David Nicholls received critical acclaim for his romance “One Day.” It’s been theorized that the same book written by a woman would not have garnered as much attention. The same has been said about the books written by Nicholas Sparks.

Last week, Jonathan Franzen once again made headlines. He criticized digital books, citing their lack of “permanence” in comparison to printed books stating “…when I take the book off the shelf it still says the same thing — that’s reassuring…”  Maybe he lives in an alternate universe because as far as I can tell, computer files will outlast a piece of paper and the words in e-books will say the same thing fifty years from now, just like printed books.

Author Ewan Morrison believes that companies are taking advantage of authors because of their interest in the success of the internet. He ignores the fact that traditional publishing companies (such as the one he publishes with) have a vested interest in the printed book prevailing over digital.

I have several opinions on Franzen and Morrison’s positions on digital books, most which I’ll save for another blog. Let’s face it. More books available means more competition against Franzen and Morrison. More importantly, digital publishers catering to women are succeeding in this new market. Perhaps Franzen and Morrison prefer to keep the female authors from breaking the glass ceiling.

Equality is something that takes time. It’s important for authors, publishing industry members, and readers to continue pushing against the glass ceiling. Hopefully, someday soon, it will shatter into a million tiny pieces and gender will become irrelevant to literature. Until that day, I’m glad I have Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult on my side of the battle for equality.

About Shelly

Shelly started reading at three years old. In elementary school, the librarian gave her books to test out for the school library. As a teenager, she spent her allowance each week on romance novels, enjoying both young adult category romance, young adult paranormal and single title books, and adult romance.

She received her Bachelors of Arts in Social Work and a Certificate in Women Studies from Michigan State University in 1990, where she interned at both the Michigan State Sexual Assault Crisis Center as a counselor and the Michigan Women’s Historical Museum as a docent.
Wanting to leave the cold Michigan winters behind, she moved to Florida to attend law school at Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center where she received her Juris Doctor degree. Practicing law since 1997, she specializes in corporate, environmental and employment law as In-House Legal Counsel for a scrap metal company in Detroit. On the side, she dabbles in horseracing and crematory law.
Married to Jason in 2003, they have two children and reside in the metro-Detroit area, where she reads on her Kindle each night when her family falls asleep.

A recovering compulsive overeater, she wrote A Year to Remember to share her strength and hope with compulsive overeaters and food addicts everywhere.  A member of Romance Writers of America, she writes both women’s fiction and paranormal romance.

I’d like to thank Shelly for taking time to appear on my blog, and welcome her back at any time. You can find her book on Amazon –

Also catch up with Shelly via these links: