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Woman playing sport against men, why am I so angry?

(8 Posts)
Scentofwater Wed 08-Feb-17 20:31:39

I'm really hoping someone can help me think through this.

I used to play roller derby. It's been predominantly a female dominated sport, and although it used to be a bit of a show, over the last few years has become increasingly recognised as a proper athletic sport.

But as this has happened there has also been a huge increase in the number of men playing. Fine, great they get to enjoy this fab sport. But I'm finding some attitudes are making me feel really uncomfortable, especially when there are videos like this:
(I hope that works, sorry I couldn't find a non facebook link)

It seems to be saying "Wow, this woman is doing so well pats head look she is playing properly against the men, how brave!" As though women playing against women is somehow less great, and really you haven't played properly until men have shown you how it's done?!

There are lots of co-ed teams, so competing with/against men isn't unusual. The video talks about breaking gender norms, fine, but wouldn't that be better done by celebrating women's roller derby just as much as men's?

I hope that made sense. I don't usually spend much time thinking about feminist issues but that video made me so angry! I hope you don't mind me venting here, please be nice, my friendship group cannot see what is wrong with this kind of thing and I'm starting to think I'm all alone.

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 08-Feb-17 20:47:22

It's because male sport is seen by some as the pinnacle of achievement, because they are usually faster/stronger. So the men's 100m in athletics has more prestige than the women's 100m, because the men are x% faster than the women. Plus there's the history of sport, where often the men's sport existed first and women were not allowed to take part so the men's version is seen as the original and superior version.

Roller derby is unusual I guess in that it was a women's sport first. Maybe that's why those attitudes jar more?

Do men have a physical advantage over women in roller derby?

YetAnotherSpartacus Wed 08-Feb-17 21:01:05

Sounds like the men have colonised something that women set up because it was gaining prestige (or it gained prestige because they joined it) and are now mansplaining it to women as well as making sure that 'it is about the menz' so that they get most of the prestige. Women have been knocked off their perches and the men have taken over.

Yeah, I'd be fucked off too.

Scentofwater Fri 10-Feb-17 12:02:21

Thank you both for your comments, sorry I vanished, teething poorly baby has sapped all my energy the last couple of days!

I joined a Roller Derby team as it seemed a sport that encouraged strong women, but now that apparently men do it better than women can, I'm not so confident about the future of the sport. But maybe I'm just sleep deprived and grumpy!

boldlygoingsomewhere Fri 10-Feb-17 12:51:39

I understand your frustration. I was thinking of joining a roller derby team even though I'm pushing 40 and very unfit. I liked the emphasis on female strength and loved roller booting in my teens/twenties. It would put me off if there were loads of men there too.

i watched the England vs Australia netball match last week and it was such a fast-paced, exciting game. My OH really enjoyed it too and thought it was more exciting than the football he watched the night before. I really wish these sports were televised more frequently. I can imagine roller derby being great to watch too.

Bambambini Fri 10-Feb-17 16:43:23

Maybe they will seperate into male and female teams as it gains in popularity with both sexes.

Anon2017 Sun 12-Feb-17 14:40:55

Do men have a physical advantage over women in roller derby?

I'd say yes; partly, but not fully, strength and physical size is one thing, skating techincal ability is another key thing in roller derby, the sport doesn't just rely on sheer brute force to win.

I have had hard times pushing against people bigger than me because I don't have the physical strength to move them even though I might have the better skating skills in isolation, but I've also had hard times pushing against people smaller than me because they have a good skating skills and I lack the skills to get around them, even though I'm likely physically stronger than them.

I'd say that varies though as roller derby attracts a wide variety of people short people, larger heavier people etc. and different people can have different roles and uses in their teams. But I'd say; even if there was a female team up against a physically larger or percieved stronger male team, if the male team aren't as skilled as the female team, the male team could quite easily lose.

I don't know what the video was posted up as the link doesn't work, would like to see what it's actually saying if someone has a link.

Anon2017 Sun 12-Feb-17 14:49:35

I was thinking of joining a roller derby team even though I'm pushing 40 and very unfit. I liked the emphasis on female strength and loved roller booting in my teens/twenties. It would put me off if there were loads of men there too.

You should, it's a good way to get fit, I know people older than you that are still currently playing. I was very unfit before I started playing, now I'm fitter than I've ever been.

I can understand why you might be apprehensive if men were there, but alot of us just like to skate, and are glad there's a sport around that lets us do that. But in most cases anyways, women's team practices are normally only open to women anyways, they'll probably be a few exceptions to the rule so you'd have to check with your local league if the practice with men either all the time or on rare occasions. Our mens practice is open to anyone who wants to skate with us, and I know a few other mens leagues are the same, as alot of the time women still outnumber men in the sport so we're always looking for more numbers, because if we don't have the numbers to skate against, we can't, lol.

I'd recommend it to anyone who has an interest in skating and is looking for a very inclusive sport.

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