SPEAKING OF ATHLETES
lately around the women's center, and in personal conversations with NOW members, I have
often heard members of the softball team and/ar the Women in Sports Task Force referred
to as "jocks." Personally, I object to this term and wonder where the people who use It
are coming from.
The word "jock" is a slang expression for a male athlete who is depicted as an imbecile,
ape-like, crude and bumbling person whose only function in life is running over people on the
athletic field. Therefore, the term is derogatory, and sexist as well.
The nature of sports requires that a woman possess, among other things, intelligence,
creativity, independence, aggressiveness, competitiveness, and a spirit of adventure. Most
of these "male" Identified sex traits are also traits which are recognized as being
essential to the success of the feminist movement, and one of the goals of women In the
feminist movement is to rid themselves of "female" identified sex traits such as dependence,
inactiveriess, submission, passiveness, etc., which have been forced upon them by a male
In addition, women athletes do not see themselves as "sex objects." They display a greater
awareness of, and satisfaction with, their own bodies than do female non-athletes. This
body "awareness" is seen by the majority of mental health authorities as being a prime
requisite to a healthy self-image, a desirable characteristic.
Society "teaches" members of both sexes that athletics for women are somehow harmful
(probably because sports' do incorporate so many "male" identified sex traits, thus
threatening male dominance) and, if women insist on becoming athletes anyway, they are
viewed as "mavericks, dissidents" and, frequently, "unnatural." This same society teaches
little girls and women to channel their natural instincts for physical expression into more
acceptable "female" activities. Little boys play baseball and little girls stay at home
learning to cook, sew, etc., thereby fulfilling their "expected" roles In life.
Finally, there is an aesthetic quality to sports which must be experienced to be appreciated.
I can see little difference except In society's view of things, in being an art lover,
a music lover ar an athlete. Art lovers are visually involved, music lovers auditorily
Involved, and athletes kinesthetically involved. Those who regard athletics as a plebeian
activity are responding to the conditioning of male oriented society and displaying their
own Ignorance as well.
"Outside World" women who denigrate female athletes by calling them "jocks" are reinforcing
the male myth. Whit does that say far feminists who are using the same terminology?