Excellent insight into what seems like challenging gender stereotypes in sport but ends up perpetuating them.
“Hurrah!” I shouted as I saw the headline on a Times Sport feature: ‘Pioneering sportswomen shed light on a broader conception of femininity’.
Matthew Syed is an obviously intelligent man. He sets out his academic credentials in the first paragraph, talking about his time at Oxford, and the first half of his feature is a great account of the excellence of elite women’s sport, the excitement of the Women’s Rugby World Cup final, and the educative advice given to his sister by his mother: “Don’t listen to what anyone says. If you love it, do it!”
He points out the historical prohibitions on women competing in sport, referring to the block on marathon running, and the usual arguments that too much exertion might cause damage to female reproductive organs (perhaps this is still the reasoning behind women’s ski jumping limitations?).
He highlights the narrow understanding of femininity in popular…
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