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The fight for women's access to sports - Boston Marathon

(14 Posts)
IamalsoSpartacus Thu 20-Apr-17 22:34:00

A friend on Facebook likes to re-post A Mighty Girl and I was really struck by the story of Kathrine Switzer as an example of what's at stake for women's sport. I didn't know the story. Apologies in advance if it's well-known.

The post says "Kathrine Switzer’s experience is a revealing illustration of the barriers that trailblazing women athletes had to overcome and of how far girls and women in sports have come in only a few decades. Switzer was a 20-year-old college student at Syracuse University in 1967 when she registered for the race using her initials, K.V. Switzer. Not realizing that she was a woman, who were barred from participating in the Boston Marathon for over 70 years, race officials issued her an entry number.

"During the race, marathon official Jock Semple attempted to physically remove Switzer from the marathon after discovering she was female. Other runners, including Switzer’s boyfriend Tom Miller, blocked Semple and she was able to complete the marathon."

She was physically assaulted for entering the race as a woman.

This is how hard we had to fight.

And now we just have to step aside for male-bodied people.

And if one of the competitors in the 1966 marathon undergoes transition, she won't even be the first woman any more - if I've understood correctly that Bruce Jenner's wins are now recorded as being achieved by Caitlyn, because deadnaming is rude.

cuirderussie Thu 20-Apr-17 23:51:46

It's always worth reposting her story -I knew about it but am pleased to see it getting so much attention now she's run the race on the anniversary (aged 70!). Note it took five more years before women were officially allowed to compete in the Boston Marathon. We need to remind people of this again and again, how hard the fight has been and how fragile our rights are.

PollyBanana Fri 21-Apr-17 00:03:08

I have no problem with calling Caitlyn Jenner 2017 by her chosen name.
But saying that the Men's Olympic medal was won by Caitlyn Jenner in 1976 just doesn't make sense. She wasn't Caitlyn in 1976.
Yeah, I know, she WAS Caitlyn, she just didn't know it...

OlennasWimple Fri 21-Apr-17 02:55:53

I love her story too - Google images shows her being assaulted mid-race, it's pretty grim TBH

I don't see the name change as any different to other name changes, eg the record books showing that Jessica Ennis won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics and Jessica Ennis-Hill finished third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2015. I suspect if men changed their name as frequently and normally as men do, "dead naming" would be less of an issue

OlennasWimple Fri 21-Apr-17 02:56:20

as frequently and normally as *women do, obv...

PoochSmooch Fri 21-Apr-17 06:44:03

I have to admit, I teared up looking at the two pictures of Katherine running the marathon fifty years apart. What an inspiration! How far we've come, and yet, how much further we could still go...

venusinscorpio Fri 21-Apr-17 08:49:52

But saying that the Men's Olympic medal was won by Caitlyn Jenner in 1976 just doesn't make sense.

In a category women couldn't compete in.

PoochSmooch Fri 21-Apr-17 08:53:17

...in a category that women still can't compete in!

venusinscorpio Fri 21-Apr-17 08:54:27

LOL nothing about it makes any sense.

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 21-Apr-17 13:33:05

Jenni Murray on Women's Hour this morning was talking to Bobbi Gibb, who ran the Boston Marathon unofficially in 1966.

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08m8z5t, starts at 35m45s into the show. It was pretty interesting, especially what she says about the male competitor's reaction to her - supportive!

cristinacraciun.com/bobbi-gibb/
www.espn.com/espnw/culture/feature/article/15190954/50-years-later-paying-tribute-bobbi-gibb-first-woman-run-boston-marathon

OlennasWimple Fri 21-Apr-17 13:34:19

Easy to be supportive when there's unlikely to be a threat to one's chances at winning, TBH

OlennasWimple Fri 21-Apr-17 13:36:59

Sorry, that sounded a bit sarky - I'm sure some of the male competitors were genuinely supportive of women competitors.

I meant that it looks as if women not being supportive of TW competitors are being mean / bitchy / uncaring / <insert other loaded insult> by not being as welcoming to them as men have been to women. but overlooking the fact that being asked to include TW in women's sports means that many women will be disadvantaged, but including women in men's sports is unlikely to upset the apple cart too much

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 21-Apr-17 13:43:32

But saying that the Men's Olympic medal was won by Caitlyn Jenner in 1976 just doesn't make sense

The official Olympics website says the winner of the decathlon was Bruce Jenner.

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 21-Apr-17 14:13:16

No you're right Olenna - it was easy for the male runners to be supportive, they knew Bobbi would't be taking a medal off them. But that wouldn't have stopped a mysoginist from being unsupportive and dismissive, like the organisers who wanted to keep their precious race 'unsullied'.

Anyone who trots out the "mean / bitchy / uncaring / <insert other loaded insult>" can be logically dismissed because MtT are at an advantage. And frankly I have no fucks to give when faced by that shite - I am happy to be mean and uncaring in the face of absurdity.

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