The New Age Of Athletics

Women’s lacrosse is now considered a varsity sport at most high-level universities.

When watching sports today, one can easily find women competing at the highest levels in a variety of sports including the Olympics, professional leagues, and collegiate sports. In today’s world, women have the ability to participate in almost any sport they desire, including sports once considered to be exclusively for men. This is not how it has always been. Until the 1970s when landmark legislation called Title IX was enacted, women had very few athletic opportunities and the available options were confined to sports deemed by cultural norms to be “feminine.” This discrimination of women and limiting of the opportunities available to them can be directly attributed to a larger cultural belief that existed during the time. The impact of Title IX can be seen in today’s landscape where freedom of opportunity is almost unrecognizable from the time before it was introduced. When observing the history of women’s athletic opportunities and the cultural notions that surround them, it is very helpful to examine the situation before and after Title IX was enacted. Continue reading

Feminine Essence

“Once, power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact, power has no sex.”
– Katharine Graham, the first female Fortune 500 CEO as CEO of the Washington Post company

Over the past week, we have been discussing the difference that gender presents in sports and in society. From Professor Mika LaVaque-Manty’s excerpt, “Being a Woman and other Disabilities”, to the “Either/Or” article on athlete Caster Semenya. Most recently a guest speaker, Suzy, an officer in the U.S. Army came to class and spoke of the inequities of being a woman soldier and the unfair, sometimes incensing treatment she has received based solely on her gender. Needless to say this week has been a fountain of new perspectives of how the experience of being a woman can vary. During Thursday lecture the class had to complete an activity in which we had to submit things that were “seemingly arbitrary gender norms.” The list ranged from girls liking pink to men not crying. And although the list of norms seemed to be silly in some cases, others were very thought-provoking. I rarely think about my identity as a woman. I am a Puerto Rican girl whose identity as a Puerto Rican supersedes that of a female. As an ethnic minority I allow my ethnicity to overpower my gender. It really wasn’t until this week that I started to think about the nuances and the complexity of gender roles. We discussed the often- forgotten difference between the biological category of being a male or female with the social category of being masculine or feminine. Both Caster Semenya and Suzy were females who in some way valued their professions more than their femininity. As women in the 21st century, must we abdicate being feminine in order to be more successful and respected in the professional world? Continue reading