Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

28 March 2010

Women's History Month: Are Women Athletes Winning or Losing?

Today's Women's History Tidbit:
1982: Louisiana Tech defeats Cheney State, 76-62, to win the first NCAA Women's Basketball championship.* 

This was originally posted on the AWEARNESS blog.

Hot on the heels of the American & Canadian women hockey teams thrashing their international competition is a renewed conversation about whether or not women's sports has matured quickly enough. Some even ponder whether or not it will ever be truly competitive.

As I have written before, women athletes are in a constant damned if they do, damned if they don't position. We can be strong, but we need to be feminine. Those with families are pushed out in front in a way male athletes are rarely treated... well, unless they are lesbian.

Now the questions being raised surround the notion that women's sports have limited potential for success. That of all the girls playing basketball, only one dynasty has emerged, and for some reason that's bad.

Honestly I think we are still far too young when it comes to women's sports to consider it a failure. While we have had a few generations of girls grow up under Title IX and playing sports, we still have not integrated that into our social fabric. Friday night football is huge, but what about Saturday afternoon women's soccer matches? Leaving work early to hit the Yankees game is a given on a summer evening, but is it even an option for a Liberty game?

Girl and women athletes have done monster work to build up the sport, but in this era, teams must have someone there to watch them score, win and lose. That is why girls flock to UConn and other powerhouse teams. But we need to follow them.

I am not ready to call an end to this "experiment" of women's sports. Because it's not an experiment, it's a reality. Women will not go back to the sidelines. So sit down, grab your pom-poms and cheer them on.

* Source: WNBA.com History of Women's Basketball


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