Your recent editorial about the Olympic athletes from the suburbs was interesting and informative. I was struck by the fact that 10 of the 15 athletes listed were women.
This attests to the positive effect of the 1970s’ Title IX of the U.S. Education Department law that we feminists fought for two generations ago. Title IX required universities that received federal monies had to provide equal opportunities for women’s sports as for men’s sports. That requirement not only opened up opportunities for women, it said that we, as a nation, valued girls and women as athletes.
This was the direct opposite of the message I had received a generation earlier as I grew up — that girls were not supposed to perspire. The boys of my generation played baseball and football while the girls jumped rope or roller-skated. That was the extent of girls’ physical activity. There were no sports for girls to compete in, much less female athlete role models conveying the message that this was something girls could, and should, do — for good health if not for competition.
Women athletes of today should be thankful for the feminist activism of 40 years ago that has given them their opportunity to shine.
Jean M Alberti
AuroraCopyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.