Respond/react to: Society's view of women and sport has changed significantly in the last 80 years. How do these changes impact women today and is the culture of sport still changing?
Obviously, the trend in women's sports is towards liberation. The changes in the roles of women both inside and outside the house have allowed women greater freedom to choose to play sports. I think the changes in the way women have been allowed to dress is most significant to women's participation in sports - it's simply a matter of being physically -able- to perform. I think culture is changing so that sport is no longer a choice for women, it is more of a 'must.' Now, young girls are expected to play on sports teams and perform well and excel at something physical, in addition to being expected to have perfectly fit bodies. The sport culture has changed the ideal feminine body to something that, though healthier than the Kate-Moss-look, is still not always an attainable ideal. The pressure on girls to perform well in sports now is increasing. Although it's largely positive that women now have the ability to participate in whatever sport they choose, it is also being used to pressure women. Hopefully, the trend will subside a little - once women no longer HAVE to prove themselves worthy competitors, women will be free to participate - or not - the same as the boys.
I think the documentary showed how women have truly come a long way in proving their worth in the world of sport and often through that form, also in the general society. Today there are definitely many more women participating in sports and more acceptable outlets for them to do so - there are women's sports teams, clubs, etc. - than there were even 25 years ago. This is a testament to the fact that the societal view of women not being athletic or that they should not be athletic has basically disappeared. Compared to 80 years ago, women's sports have definitely become much more a part of the societal norm, although they still have not become as generally popular as men's sports.
I think that the opportunities and expectiations of women in sports have changed a lot over the years, as the documentary showed. All the same the inequality between men's and women's sports is huge. How many people actually go to WNBA games as opposed to NBA games? What are the differences in salaries and prize money for women and men? In high school, regardless of the quality of the team, no women's sport got more support than our loosing men's football team. It is expected for girls to play sports now, but it is still not really considered an option as a career, unless it is in a very few select sports. It seems that our athleticism is frequently expected to remain a hobby, something done recreationally in high school and college. And although many more women can look at sports seriously now then a hundred years ago, their options are still drastically less than those of their male counterparts.
Women have definitely acquired a greater sense of self-confidence as a result of sports. While not every woman can be a professional athlete, they can watch women's sports events on television and marvel at what is accomplished. Even those who pursue other career choices can still benefit from sports. I know three females who have had their entire college education paid for as a result of sports. That is a pretty significant and would not have been possible not so long ago. I have been to WNBA games before and think it unfortunate that more people don't go. The culture of sports is still changing because girls start playing sports at a young age and the competition allows them to compete in other areas of life as well. Thankfully, people have stopped thinking that sports will ruin a woman's ability to have children!
My response to the second part of the question, is the culture of sport still changing, and I would have to say that womens' sports are stagnic right now. From my past experiences in middle school and high school, the only attendants to our games were usually parents waiting for their daughters to finish playing. When the high schools boys basketball team went 0-16 they got to travel to Ohio to play in a special tournament, while the girls who had a winnning season were awarded with nothing. In local papers there is a special section to showcase every individual football player, while the girls would be lucky to make the paper. I think this lack of recognition is also apparent in professional sports. When I saw an add for March madness, I thought about how it does not inlude womens' basketball. The floundering WNBA league, where the women play for love of the game, because their salaries are far less than their male counterparts. Well, I know it sounds like I am ranting so I will end here, but I do have to say that though many wonderful changes have allowed women to play sports we still get very little recognition.
Re: Pem West ... anybody wanna teach me how to play foosball? :D
Re: Kelsey ... I agree that it's good that people have stopped buying the reproductive bullshit, but I think that more attention needs to be paid to the higher rates of eating disorders among athletes (and women in general). Eating disorders DO cause reproductive problems. So along with promoting greater acceptance of women athletes, we need to provide more support for these women.
Re: Nicole ... I had a pretty different experience in high school. Our women's sports games were really well attended, received the same level of funding as men's sports, and kicked ass in relation to other schools. We placed quite well in Districts, States, etc. Our newspaper took note of it and featured male and female athletes every week, as well as putting in articles about the women's teams when they performed. It would rock if professional womens teams could get as much exposure as the teams in my high school got.
... not much more to respond to ...
have a good week :D
Re: Naomi- Yes, it is certainly acceptable for women to be athletic now.
Re: Talia- It is true that most women cannot make a career out of sports, but it is also true that most men do not do it either.
Re: Nicole- Though it is unfortunate that female athletes in your high school did not get the attention of their male counterparts, at least the females have sports teams. When my mother was in high school, no teams existed until her senior year when track was the only option available.
Have a good week, everyone, but don't waste too much time! See you Thursday.
My name is Tiffany Stenglein and I'm a sophomore. I'm a customsperson in Haffner German and am an Archaeology major. I had knee surgery over break, so this class seemed like the right PE. I'm from northern Minnesota, so this weather makes me feel like it's April.
In the last 80 years, the perception of sports has changed, not just women
in sports. Athletis activity is now seen as a good thing, something everyone--men
and women--should do. Specifically for upperclass women, it has gone from a
forbidden and dangerous activity, to one that is fashionable. Thousands of dollars
a year are spent on professional trainers and athletic classes by upperclass
The first female athletes had to struggle to break free of stereotypical ideas of femininity. They succeeded, but there is still work to be done. Women have proven that the can be just as agressive and athletic as men, but today, there is still the issue of defining feminine athleticism. Female athletes (like other women in society) can achieve their goals, but not without losing something else. They can be either women who happen to be athletes, or athletes who happen to be women. We still need to work on allowing people to be both in equal measure.
In response to what others have discussed in terms of men's and women's sports teams not being equal: It is definitely true that in many high schools and in the professional leagues their is a great disparity in popularity, support and money involved between male and female teams. At the same time, we have to remember that women's professional sports are a relatively recent phenomenon and like any other advancement for women, it requires time to become generally accepted and gain wider support as people become more comfortable with the idea. Also, there are many sports that are not represented at the professional level in the United States or even if they are, are not popular. Professional soccer for instance is not at all well supported in the US where it is the most popular sport in many other countries around the world. What does this say about the U.S. sport culture in relation to other cultures as seen through sports? (I know this doesn't relate directly to women, but I just wanted to also bring it up).
Name: Amy Campbell
Date: 2004-02-03 14:20:10
Message Id: 7943
Great comments by all-- it the 'conversation' does raise some intersting 'next questions". I'd like to toss out (yes another sports metaphor..) how we define ourselves and who is an athlete? Do you consider yourself an athlete? athletic? and are we all athletes at one time or another? How can /do we think about our physical selves...what is the connection to the movies?? Also-you can respond to what otehrs have said--- see you all Thursday.
Also, anyone interested in learning to play foosball and/or already knows how and wants to play a game, just talk to Talia or I. We are always ready for a match.
I don't consider myself much of an athlete, although I was a varsity rower for two years in High School. I always considered everyone around me an athlete. I think partially what makes someone an athlete is how much they consider their sport or sports to be a part of them. With crew, although I lifted four days a week and practiced four or five for three seasons a year, I always felt like it was temporary. I still go to the gym, but the 5AM thing here is too much for me. My athleticism wasn't one of the ways I chose to define myself. It was all something I did because it felt good and was fun. I guess what makes someone an athlete is whether or not they consider themselves to be one, not how much time they spend doing something or how good they are. That is when you consider your athleticism something that defins you.
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