This article I found after bouncing through other links about men in sports, trying to find social implications of gender upon sports. What’s interesting here is that the Lingerie Football League (LFL) was originally all for show: pretty ladies not knowing how to play football. Apparently that wasn’t working. Men didn’t want to watch women playing football if they didn’t know how, even if they were staggeringly gorgeous. Hmm, sex appeal doesn’t last? Interesting. LFL changed their strategy. How can “women’s” football still be sexy and have the violence from men’s football? Have pretty ladies beating the shit out of each other.
Contact sports are exciting, up to a certain point. Movies like Cinderella Man and Warrior still manage to pull my heartstrings even though men are killing each other to get money from the show. Aside from the melodrama, contact sports can be extremely dangerous too. This article delves into that as well as the unfortunate truth that these women aren’t paid–additionally, many are dropped because they make “lifestyle” changes, like actually living a life: marriage, children, just plain additional obligations.
Again I turn to my first interrogative question: what is “sport”? The more I see the glaring holes of gender and inequality within them the harder it becomes for me to keep a hold onto social definitions of sports. The original LFL shows that sports aren’t entertaining when people aren’t trained in the sport (what a surprise), but even then these institutions think society needs more. Pretty women thrown into a game they’ve never played is, well, boring. The other extreme is to throw experienced, pretty women into a dangerous contact sport. Sexy and violent: isn’t this too much? Why can’t we ever seem to escape these binaries? Can sports ever escape violence and focus upon individual skill and ability? Can “women’s” sports ever be taken seriously–why do women have to do so much to prove themselves: be sporty, be violent, be sexy. For women to enter this aggressive realm of football, they have to exaggerate those masculine qualities. Well, never so much that they become better than men, that is.