Sports nowadays are played with one of four reasons in mind; for fun, for scholarships, for careers and for an outlet. Fun is how most people start out playing, hopping from one sport to the next to find the ones that are most enjoyable and stress relieving. Scholarships are either sought after or a bonus, some people may need to receive a scholarship in order to go to college and others may receive without trying to achieve them. Career paths allow for people to either make money from something they love or something they’re good at. Then there are those who need support, who have no way of getting their emotions out or have a hard time expressing themselves. Bottled up anger and stress are given an activity that gives them some form of release. Numerous players use their sport to vent their negative emotions. Some sports give players a more physical way to channel their feelings, while others give a less physically damaging sense of competitiveness. Regardless of the reason for playing, all sports are equally difficult and competitive in their respective fields. There are sports who get outshined by the more physically involved sports that captivate their viewers.
Lacrosse, one of the top ten sports to give out scholarships to players, is a moderately competitive sport. Due to its increase in popularity and high chance in scholarships, it has seen an increase of new players throughout the years. Lacrosse has one major difference in gameplay when it comes to which gender is playing, the amount of physical contact players are allowed to have with another. Women’s lacrosse, although just as competitive as men’s, has seen ridicule about how the game works and the constant halts in gameplay due to the increase of technicalities experienced throughout the game. Despite these obstacles, women’s lacrosse has fought to no longer be outshined by men in order to be considered equal or even superior to men’s lacrosse.
Unfortunately this will not be done in a day, women in sports have to fight the past gender norms that have hindered their participation and treatment in sports. They have experienced the influence of society dictating how much force women are allowed to use while playing sports. Regardless of the capability of women, men in particular have dictated not only the amount of bodily contact but how much they are allowed to participate in sports or activities. Richard Bell stated in A History of Women in Sport Prior to Title IX, in the eighteen hundreds, men believed that everyone had a set amount of energy they could use and if “physical and intellectual tasks” were done at the same time hazardous mainly toward women, especially if they were menstruating. Not only did men believe that there were physical hindrances if a woman were to participate in something that was both physical and needed some form of intelligence.They believed that women had no place to be except the home, caring for the children, the estate and the husband.
Women back in the nineteenth and early twentieth century had to follow not only social norms but also the legal side of getting married and surrendering legal power over to their husbands. As John Green describes it in Women in the 19th Century: Crash Course US History #16, “husbands held authority over the person, property and choices of their wives. Also since women weren’t permitted to own property and property ownership was a precondition for voting, [women] were totally shut out of the political process.” Women have fought for centuries to have rights in every aspect of their lives, from simply owning property to being able to run a company and vote in elections. Up until the early twentieth century men were the reason why so many people, not just women, are still suffering from one or more forms of discrimination in todays world.
As a result of this discrimination, women worked to reform and fight for their rights back through reform movements in the nineteenth century. These movements allowed women to become active in building asylums or leading the charge in “sobering up the men of America,” as Green states. Women became sick of seeing men chain them down while they got to go gallivanting around drinking to the hearst content rather than seek out the wife’s comfort and embrace. This temperance movement made a huge impact in American life back in the day as men who supported the sober movement realized that if women had the right to vote it would benefit them greatly. Women back in the day fought for simple rights such as land and financial stability against the husband’s drunken abuse both physically and financially.
As the years progressed into the early twentieth century, women finally achieved the ability to vote when the nineteenth amendment was approved by the senate on june fourth, 1919 and ratified in august, 1920. Still the fight for equality was far from over, even in the twentieth century women still had to fight the societal expectations they were forced to fulfill.
Men dictating and tying women down to simple standards and horrible living and working conditions, gave women the courage to fight for a better life not only for themselves, but their children. They had given women more freedom to choose their lifestyles and career paths in the twenty-first century. This also gave way for equality in sports, women slowly were allowed to participate in activities that did not require much effort. Such as swimming, horseback riding, tennis and croquet, due to the idea that women should not exert themselves. However, with the rise in women’s independence, they slowly got involved in more physically demanding sports over the years. Now, women play in field hockey, basketball, soccer, ice hockey and lacrosse, which are more contact heavy than the elegant sports women played back in the day.
Roberts, R. (1992). Women’s Sports [Review of Women’s Sports: A History, by A. Guttmann]. Reviews in American History, 20(2), 242–246. https://doi.org/10.2307/2703108
Bell, R. C. (1998). A History of Women in Sport Prior to Title IX. The Sport Journal. https://thesportjournal.org/article/a-history-of-women-in-sport-prior-to-title-ix/
CrashCourse, & Green, J. (2005, December 15). Women in the 19th Century: Crash Course US History #16 [Video]. Youtube. https://tinyurl.com/nahhcvjn
The United States Senate. (n.d.). Woman Suffrage Centennial [Lecture notes]. United States Senate. https://tinyurl.com/yckvt26v