My feed

to access all these features

Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Minister for Sport's opinion about women's sports.. gah

88 replies
OP posts:
OneMoreCupOfTea · 21/02/2014 15:33

She really does play to a lot of stereotypes in that article. Suggesting cheerleading as a sport smacks of women being seen as decorative whilst men get on with actually doing something.

Trooperslane · 21/02/2014 15:40

I think she's been very naive in her positioning.

She's trying to suggest that some sports put women off so do something else but has made her comment seem incredibly patronising.

Where's Malcolm Tucker?

fluffywhitekittens · 21/02/2014 15:44

I just came here to see if anyone had posted about this.

There was a good piece somewhere that the theory behind encouraging women/girls into sport is good and understanding the barriers to taking it up but the way she's gone about it is so wrong on so many levels.

On the other hand I have a daughter who has been involved in Cheerleading and it is actually hard work involving athleticism, strength and hard work, not just wearing skimpy outfits and big hair bows. And ballet is obviously not just floating around in a tutu looking glamarous etc etc

LizLemonaid · 21/02/2014 15:47


Im not american but if i lived there id say go play ANY sport yourself firsthand before u stand on the sidelines cheering on the men. Im sure there is skill to it but that's not the point.

fluffywhitekittens · 21/02/2014 15:50

The thing is that competitive cheerleading is not standing on the sidelines cheering on the Jocks, it's more like gymnastics/dance.

DaenerysTargaryensDragonBaby · 21/02/2014 15:52

First of all, this woman is an absolute idiot and it is embarrassing and shameful that she is a minister for equality and clearly knows nothing about equality.

However, cheerleading IS a sport, those women are fit, strong, dedicated and extremely committed. Dismissing their discipline is as offensive as this woman's comments.

DaenerysTargaryensDragonBaby · 21/02/2014 15:54

Actually, telling woman that their chosen field of athleticism isn't enough of a 'sport' for you, is just as degrading as saying women should look 'radiant'.

scallopsrgreat · 21/02/2014 16:02

Critiquing a sport that was designed for the benefit of men is not as degrading as objectifying women.

Perhaps if women weren't subjected to objectification then more of them would be interested in sport. Grant is tweaking with the symptoms not the cause of the issue.

benid · 21/02/2014 16:05

I don't think anyone is having a go at ballet or competitive cheerleading. Just the fact that this person thinks women should be encouraged towards activities that she thinks will allow them to maintain their decorative function.

OP posts:
grimbletart · 21/02/2014 16:16

I need an emoticon for snort. Does the woman not understand how strong a female gymnast is, how dangerous the sport is - try landing on your back on a balance beam and see what happens to you. You don't choose gymnastics to look glamorous or you could end up with a broken neck.

DaenerysTargaryensDragonBaby · 21/02/2014 16:20

scallops who cares why the sport was developed?

There's nothing wrong with cheerleading. It is a serious, viable, competitive sport where women become fit and it, along with any other sport, should be encouraged.

Telling women their sport isn't good enough as it was only designed for the benefit of men is demeaning and patronising.

itshardthinkingofanickname · 21/02/2014 16:33

I think her message got distorted with her comments about women and saying they shouldn't worry about not looking unfeminine as they can look feminine.

"You don’t have to feel unfeminine,” stresses Ms Grant. “There are some wonderful sports which you can do and perform to a very high level and I think those participating look absolutely radiant and very feminine such as ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading and even roller-skating.”"

NiceTabard · 21/02/2014 19:18

In that telegraph article she (it?) seems to imply that you can do cheerleading, ballet, gymastics without working up a sweat.

That's nonsense surely? And if you aren't getting sweaty then it's not great exercise surely?

Maybe she looks at the people on the telly who've been doing it for years and are like the most super-athletic people they are and thinking "oh well they don't look sweaty, obviously this is a sport you can do vigorously and not sweat". I am utterly Confused TBH.

NiceTabard · 21/02/2014 19:21

And what's wrong with zumba?

And anyway men like zumba too.

And just what on earth?

If teenaged girls are so concerned about their appearance that they don't participate in sport, then the root cause of that needs to be tackled. Not say oh well the boys can do football and the girls can do cheerleading job done, bob's your uncle.

grimbletart · 21/02/2014 19:24

So what is "feminine"? Surely to God in the 21st century we should not have some meaningless pre-definition that says "X" is feminine and "Y" is not?

Where does this definition come from? Who does it come from?

And what sort of woman gives a shiny shit whether she fits this trivial arbitrary so-called standard set by who knows whom for who knows what irrelevant reason?

I got a telling off on this board ages back from one of the radical feminists (no longer posting) for saying that I disliked the word "femininity" as, to me, it had a come to epitomise the trivial and the superficial. By that I meant the eyelash fluttering mimsyness of a certain type of behaviour among some girls and women designed to appeal to men.

By all means do whatever sport or activity you want, whether its cheerleading, gymnastics or ballet but do them for the right reasons - because you enjoy them, they are fun and you have talent - not so you come out of it without a bead of sweat and with glossy lippy intact i.e. the perfect "feminine" specimen.


MajorGrinch · 21/02/2014 19:28

Critiquing a sport that was designed for the benefit of men is not as degrading as objectifying women.

That's most sports then if you want to go the base level (the benefit being that men invented played them).

Cheerleading is just as valid as gymnastics, ballet, dance, beach volleyball to name a few.

scallopsrgreat · 21/02/2014 19:51

But it isn't just historically that it was for the benefit for men, Daenerys. There is a present day context. Women cheerlead at men's sports. Not vice versa. I am not doubting or criticising the athleticism and skill of those involved. And I am aware of the competitive element of cheerleading away from the sports field. I think that is a really positive move. Nor am I criticising individuals that do it. I'm looking at it from how it affects women as a class.

However, the main problem I have is that femininity = what you look like and that is reflected in the sports she chose. All of those sports have some level of required appearance and performance of femininity. Instead of tackling the reasons why women don't want to do sport Grant is upholding those reasons but saying here are some sports you can do while conforming to the patriarchy. Nothing changes at anything other than a superficial level.

specialsubject · 21/02/2014 19:56

one day no sport will need anyone to wear makeup.

don't see male gymnasts and curlers slapped up. Why do the women feel the need to do it?

scallopsrgreat · 21/02/2014 19:57

"That's most sports then if you want to go the base level (the benefit being that men invented played them)." Well yes if you want to go down to that level. But women's canoeing wasn't started as an encouragement for male canoeists. They aren't doing a completely different sport in completely different gear as an ego boost for the men.

itshardthinkingofanickname · 21/02/2014 20:18

I always wonder about the make up and glamour of ice skaters. Is there a need?

And I was really pissed off to hear the male commentator express how glamourous one of the Canadian bob sled team looked - and there was an implication in the pre commentary that she had been picked for her looks, not her talent.

Something you would never hear about men nor would you hear a female commentator say a man looked handsome.

DaenerysTargaryensDragonBaby · 22/02/2014 09:34

scallops you get male cheerleaders too.

This isn't really the argument, my point is that as women, we should be encouraging and supportive of all women who participate in any sport of their choosing, not degrading them by suggesting their sport is only there to benefit men.

Quangle · 22/02/2014 15:58

Our primary school introduced cheerleading club as basically the only sporty club for girls. I was furious. The school has no outside space (central London) and sport requires extra effort - ie, going to a park to play football. The fact that this was their effort really made me cross.

I don't really care if cheerleaders are fit and healthy - I'm not happy that my school's take on sport for girls is at heart about being decorative for men. Gymnastics etc exist for themselves, not for cheering on the men. I'd be happy for sport to include, swimming, yoga etc but not cheerleading.


Don’t want to miss threads like this?


Sign up to our weekly round up and get all the best threads sent straight to your inbox!

Log in to update your newsletter preferences.

You've subscribed!

MothratheMighty · 22/02/2014 16:00

There you go, more women in politics will shake up the system and empower women as never before.
Or not.

NigellasGuest · 22/02/2014 16:16

First of all, ballet is not sport.
It is Art.

secondly, look at this and tell me it's just for girls

itshardthinkingofanickname · 22/02/2014 16:26

I thought it was going to be the final scene from Billy Elliot Grin

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.