How Feminism Is Delivering For Women’s Bodies

Women's rugby is now a popular sport

My daughter Arabella has broken her collar bone twice playing rugby but loves the sport

It was good to read an honest account of the positive as well as the imperfections of female athletes bodies last week.

Whether it is politically acceptable or not, one of the turn offs for young women signing up for Games after school is developing muscles in the wrong places, like swimmers shoulders or hammer throwers’ hips. So it is good to discuss these issues.

Despite that, girls are starting to play well. Along with the England women’s football team getting to the world cup semi-final and the women’s Ashes squad doing a pretty good job at cricket, it is been a brilliant year for women’s sport in this country.

‘I actually shed a tear or two of sheer delight this year as I watched the first-ever Women’s Boat Race,’ Chris Meaken of the Goodchild Press told me when we were chatting about the book I’m writing on feminism. `My old economist chum Geoffrey Gardiner watching it at their home in Swindon did the same, and he’s 86. He went to Cambridge, I went to Oxford. He and I were straight on the phone as the race finished.’

“Chris, those Oxford women won that race in a faster time than our men’s eight rowed the course when I was at university in the early 1950s.’ said his friend, ‘And far from being knackered at the end, they looked fresher than the men. Absolutely brilliant.’

Since the early 20th century, the feminist movement has made enormous strides to improve the status of female athletes. It was one of the primary aims. Before, female athletes had to play in much poorer facilities, under different rules, and with stricter dress codes than male athletes.

Society also largely ignored and discriminated against female athletes, portraying them as masculine and homosexual and further deterring women from participating in sports. Maybe it’s still the case. On the pitch some of our rugby players for example appear positively scary. In reality they are complete pussy cats.

There are also other hazards which should be mentioned. My daughter has broken her collar bone twice playing what was once just a ‘man’s game’.

However, with girls at school still preferring to apply nail polish and chat on Whatsapp than run up and down a hockey field getting muddy, let’s promote women in sport. Git fit, look fab. Feminism has done a great job in this respect.


About Louise Burfitt-Dons

Writer and social critic
This entry was posted in feminism, Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How Feminism Is Delivering For Women’s Bodies

  1. Personally, i think any physical stature a woman can achieve through sport is natural and not un-feminine. Without male levels of testosterone, a woman cannot be too masculine. I know this because as a result of losing both testicles to cancer and, through some conjugation, not being able to take testosterone replacement therapy, I find it difficult if not impossible to build muscle mass. A good proportion of female athletes are probably stronger than me, but I’d never call.them less than feminine.


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