Rugby player advocates feminism, confidence

Column by Amanda Wallace. E-mail

Women today have been taught to be their own heroes.

As products of the bra-burning generation, it’s no longer acceptable to sit back and wait for a prince riding a white horse.

And yet, a field still exists where women are tentative to go: full contact sports.

On today’s open-minded campus, the women’s rugby team should have little trouble finding recruits. So why, when I help recruit for my sport, is it nearly impossible? In our age of modern feminism, girls still feel that rough and tumble sports are just for the boys.

Where is feminism hiding? You can still be a princess and play rugby.

To be fair, rugby is not a sport for the faint-hearted. Injuries and blood occur. But that isn’t what makes recruitment difficult.

Women athletes everywhere know sports can be painful if they are to succeed.

No, it’s the anti-feminist stereotypes that persist about women ruggers. When you imagine a woman playing rugby, chances are you think of a 400-pound rampaging beast, barreling down a field while her equally large, unattractive girlfriend cheers her on.

Since the passage of Title 9, women have become involved in many sports, and yet a girl who chooses a sport more aggressive than soccer or basketball is seen as overly masculine. The opinion is, if I play a ‘guy’ sport, people will think I’m undateable. Just because I don’t want to be the fragile maiden in the story doesn’t make me the ogre.

This doesn’t mean every woman that plays rugby is a straight-A-student beauty queen. Female ruggers come in all shapes and sizes — we’re a microcosm of women at UK.

We played sports in high school. We were collegiate-level gymnasts. We are straight and bi, and yes, gay. We are hipsters, nerds and hippies, and girls who wear sweatpants to class. We are big-boned, built and some of us hardly look like we could take a hit.

We are like all other women, except our Saturdays are devoted to a muddy pitch near the soccer field. I fail to see much about us that is expressly masculine.

Women today feel that being too athletic, too strong is somehow wrong. That people will view them as unattractive. But when you’re out at a party Thursday night and one of my teammates is there, chances are, she’s the one being hit on.

Why? Because she has the confidence to take the field for 80 minutes and make things happen. And confidence is sexy.

Feminism has taught us to be confident and to fight our way through a male-dominated world. Where is male domination more clear than in sports? It is time we challenged these stereotypes and thought of ourselves less as fragile princesses who have to be saved.

It’s the 21st century, and we can be our own heroes.