Parenting, Pageantry, and Politics

Carston learning how to float on his back

The past month or so has been pretty crazy in the Levey Friedman household– death, life, illness(es), first teeth, a hurricane and a nor’easter, Halloween, an election, the list goes on.  Through it all I’ve attempted to keep writing, but the priority has been parenting the Little Man… especially after we lost our childcare in […]


Cheering on Cheer

Cheer logo from CMT

Today I woke up excited it was Friday– but then I realized I wouldn’t be getting a new episode of Cheer and I had to hit the snooze button to recover. Cheer, which has aired on CMT for the past six weeks, quickly became one of my favorite reality series, warming my normally analytical sociological […]


I’m an All-Around Gymnastics Fan: My events include reading, watching, commenting, and writing

US Women win Gold, London 2012, Ronald Martinez via Getty

I’m a big women’s gymnastics fan. Knowing I love dance, sports, and nearly all things feminine and strong, this should come as no surprise.  If you know me it’s also no surprise that while I took gymnastics as a kid I didn’t last long.  I was flexible, but I was also fearful (I would think […]


Tiger Teachers: The New Stage Moms Aren’t the Moms (from Huffington Post Culture)

Dance Moms promo image with girls

This originally appeared in The Huffington Post’s Culture Section. Write a bad mommy confessional and be rewarded with multiple weeks on bestseller lists, riches, and fame/infamy. (See: Chua, Amy [Tiger Mom]; Druckerman, Pamela [American mom, French parenting]; Weiss, Dara-Lynn [Diet Devil in Vogue]). And then there are the television shows. In the grand tradition of […]


Life Is an Audition: Recent Books About Young Adult Performers (from Huffington Post Books)

Take a Bow cover from Amazon

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post Books. “My life has been one big audition.” This is the first line of Elizabeth Eulberg’s latest young adult novel, Take a Bow [Scholastic, April 1, 2012]. Take a Bow follows four young performers–two songwriters, one singer, and an actor–through their senior year at the fictional New […]


High Kicks: The Latest in Competitive Dance and Soccer from Choreography Theft to Poaching to Year-round Commitments (and Injuries)

Dance Moms, Topless Showgirls, Screen image from Lifetime

Lifetime’s Season 2 of Dance Moms continues to get sillier and sillier as the contrivances spin out faster than a terrible fouetté turn.  What can you say when Kendall leaves Abby’s studio and ends up at Candy Apples in Ohio besides, “Yeah, right! Producer interference!” in Episode 8, “The Runaway Mom?” And Abby’s decision to […]


The Age of the Diva: Fallbacks in Dance and Pageants

Honey Boo Boo's mom dressed up as her, picture from Jezebel article

Watching Dance Moms and Toddlers & Tiaras is always interesting for me– both because the shows are often entertaining (if only in a horrifying way, like the recent T&T episode that featured Heaven, a modern day Violet Beauregarde with her incessant gum chewing, and Honey Boo Boo child and her TLC crossover extreme couponing momma […]


Are after-school math centers really worth the money?: Parents and education experts do the math. (From The Boston Globe Magazine)

Krishna Kumurappan at Kumon, Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

A feature story I wrote on afterschool math enrichment centers appeared in today’s The Boston Globe Magazine. You can read it online (and see additional links below) by clicking here! I researched and wrote this in the last month or so of my pregnancy, so joke that now I know which math programs my son […]


Sex, Sexual Abuse, and Sports

Don Peters working with young, female gymnasts in 1996; Ana Venegas, The OC Register

Given the recent, multiple sexual abuse scandals in sports (from Penn State to Syracuse, and now even the Amateur Athletic Union) it’s not surprising that this past weekend two major newspapers published stories on the ways in which sports can provide a breeding ground for pedophiles (click here to read The New York Times’ take, […]


UPDATED! What happens when you are first-time parents who study competition and education?

BabyMath, Jenn's Web Design

ETA: On January 4th, 2012 we welcomed our son, Carston, into the world. Two days later, his daddy’s research on value-added teachers appeared on the front page of The New York Times. Coincidence?! Everyone is doing well and no one has been fired yet! I was correct (per original post below) that this work would […]