One weekend I was taping up for the first game in the rugby tournament the SHSU Women’s team was invited to. I was all pumped up and ready to beat some chicks when I saw a man turn to the women next to him and ask, “Are they going to tackle?”
For a moment I stood there perplexed at the question. Why wouldn’t we tackle? I know Americans are largely oblivious to the game, but everyone knows that it is one of the most dangerous sports known to man. But that’s the problem, it’s known to man. Just because we are a women’s rugby team in a women’s rugby tournament does not mean we are going to dance around the field lightly tapping each other on the shoulders. No, we are going to get in there and brutalize each other like the game calls for.
Why is it that just because we are women, the expectation suddenly changes? Yes, we are physically smaller and lighter than our male counter parts, which I consider a plus for my position but why does that mean we can’t do the same things men do?
Historically, women have always had this problem when it came to sports. Title IX was implemented to give us equal opportunity in many aspects of life, but in some areas it is still falling short. Compare the number of athletic scholarships given to women compared to men. Consider the coverage Women’s teams receive on ESPN (unless it’s volleyball).
I’m a girl. Correction, now that I’m twenty-one, I am a woman. I love everything about being a women, from the awesome curves to the built-in empathy button. I am the first born. To my dad’s slight disappointment he gave me an X instead of a Y. Nevertheless, I was dressed in pink and taught to throw a ball. All my life I’ve enjoyed doing “boy things”. I played cowboys and Indians, jumped off of the playground equipment, wore baggy pants, learned to skateboard, play bass, got a few belts in Shotokan karate, thrown down in mosh pits and will dominate on Tekken Tag.
As I grew older I assimilated into more “girly” things. I never saw the need for makeup, but I’ll wear heels, halter tops and jeans that actually fit my shape. Just because I look like a “lady” now makes the eyebrows rise higher when I mention I play rugby or tell a story about my favorite time in the mosh pit. It might also have to do with the fact that I am 5′ 2″ and between 115-120 pounds. Ask my team, that won’t stop me from taking down Vikings and Amazons.
It’s not like I’m playing rugby with the men, so guys, give women the benefit of the doubt. We are not trying to one up you in sports, we just want in on the fun as well. But then again, why should men have to be assured? Why is it that we are seen as unfeminine if we are into these things? Why is it that people immediately think you’re a butch type or a lesbian for playing? What difference does it make if the girl is? We may be making our lives more challenging, more bruise-filled, but the thing is we want to.
Yes, I am a girl, but I am a girl with a mind for things that I like. Just because I am physically different from the boys does not make me less than the boys. And to answer the previous question: yes, we do tackle. Just take a look at the scars on our arms and knees. Don’t believe me? I know 14 other girls that can show you otherwise.