Extreme Roles of Women in Sports

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Extreme Roles of Women in Sports

Sports are so prevalent and popular these days that we often see them as symbolic of real-life issues and real-life drama. The football field can illustrate the battle between good and evil. The baseball pitcher, nearing retirement, can come back to give one last game and wow the crown one last time before gracefully surrendering the field. Isn't that what sports represent? The good guys (i.e. your baseball team) go to battle against the bad guys. It's not quite war, but it might as well be war without causalities. If they win, you celebrate. If they lose, you say, "Well, there's always next time." But if we can say that sports represent real life, do the players always represent real people? Is the quintessential soccer star also the quintessential man? He's controlled, fit, focused and aggressive. He wants to succeed and he wants to do his personal best. These are all admirable qualities.

But here is where we run into a problem. In the past, sports were generally dominated by men. Qualities that are usually associated with masculine imagery are still prized in sports. An athlete should be strong, aggressive, dominating and relentless. Unfortunately, these qualities were not always valued in women. Women, traditionally, were seen as the weaker sex. They couldn't handle straining themselves or they might damage their ability to have babies. Babe Didrikson, arguably the sportswoman of the century, blamed her infertility on her zeal for training in her youth. Tired, "collapsing" women on the track field at the 1928 Olympics were enough to keep women from the Olympic track world for many more years.

Allegedly this image is changing. And women are undeniably supposed to be tougher now. We'r...

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...ough you occasionally hear someone complain about the models, usually they're accepted. I do not want to discredit these models, as I'm sure they worked hard to get to the positions they are in today. But it doesn't seem fair that a woman who sculpted her body into an athletic machine should be chastised for showing her body in a moment of victory.

In conclusion, I think sports help the role of women in society. Because a seven year old sees Mia Hamm or Julie Foudy play on TV, perhaps when she grows up she'll know it's okay for a woman to have different characteristics that define her. The little girl could grow up to be a softball player and never marry. Or she could become a lawyer and mom. Or she can grow up to be a caterer and a lesbian. And hopefully, no matter what role this little girl fills, she can be comfortable in it because she is not bound by labels.

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