Womanly Sports?

March 4, 2009 § 3 Comments

Check out this article that ran in the New York Times today about women’s soccer in a distant country I hold dear: Turkey. 

Journalist Yigal Shleifer writes on the emerging prominence of women’s soccer teams in Turkey, and the challenges that the movement faces. 

Because soccer is viewed as a man’s sport, many Turkish parents are hesitant to let their daughters participate at any level. Turkish gym classes, which are usually split according to gender, often do not even include the sport in their girls’ curriculum. One worried parent of a 20-year-old female soccer player remarked:”In the beginning, we didn’t want our daughter to play…We were worried that it would affect her posture, her character, even her sexual orientation. We put her in volleyball, in track, but nothing could stop her.” Players sometimes face shouts to the effect of “go home to the kitchen” when they play, even as the sport picks up popularity and acceptance across the nation. 

Aside from the obviously sexist sentiments that emerge from the article, I noticed another important thing: the idea that sports have genders. 

So, what the hell is a woman’s sport? We already have track and volleyball….What else are us damsels fit to play? Is it stuff that won’t jiggle our wombs around too much? And what do you think defines and sustains this idea of feminine and masculine sports?

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§ 3 Responses to Womanly Sports?

  • katiems says:

    This is unfortunate, but it is important to realize this not only happens in far off countries like Turkey, this is extremely prominent issuer here in the US. There are no female baseball teams, it is simply not seen as an acceptable sport for women. Why is it that softball is okay, but baseball is just to dangerous for us poor sensitive damsels?

  • Phoebe says:

    Womanly exercise:

  • mirandanyc says:

    What’s interesting to me is that when women are encouraged to be active, it’s not because it will make you strong or help you pull off a physical achievement – it’s so you’ll look a certain way. I find that women like to go to the gym not so that they can do things with their bodies, but so their bodies will appear the way they want them to.

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