Are women’s sports not real sports?

When feminists talk about the limited coverage of women’s sports, they usually focus on sports like soccer, football, basketball and so on, probably because these sports get the most coverage throughout the world. These are all sports that are considered as typically male sports. Apparently the world hasn’t noticed yet, that sports that are seen as typically female aren’t even anywhere to be found on the sports page.

Are traditional women’s sports less interesting to watch? No, I think people do enjoy watching cheerleading or dancing for example. Do we want to watch typical women’s sports like cheerleading and dancing, but do we not like to see cheerleaders or dancers compete? Well no, judging by the incredible amount of movies about evil cheerleaders and dancers fighting each other to get a spot in the spotlight, I think most people love seeing cheerleaders and dancers compete.

So apparently we do enjoy watching cheerleaders or dancers compete with their friends/frennemies, but we don’t enjoy seeing them compete together with their friends/team-mates against other teams.

I think it’s because there is a tendency for people to enjoy things that confirm their vision on the world. Racist white people often enjoy black gangster hip hop a whole lot more than non-racist white people. Sexist men get turned off when their precious girlfriend enjoys football more than they do. And apparently people seem to like it when cheerleaders or dancers fight each other instead of being nice to each other, because they seem to assume that the only thing cheerleaders and dancers excel at are catfights.

Do people believe that cheerleaders and dancers love to catfight? Or is it based on truth, is cheerleading and dancing a sport appealing to those who love to catfight?

Even though there usually is one cheerleader that leads the team, it still is mainly a team sport. A good cheerleading performance usually is one where everybody is perfectly in tune with each other. If it were all a bunch of divas doing their big solo-act at the same time, it would just look like a big mess and anything but spectacular and absolutely not like cheerleading. If you are a big solo diva that wants to kill everyone that is a better dancer than you, you’ll never reach a top level in dancing. Without the support of your mentors, you’ll never rise above their level. It’s something cheerleaders and dancers seem to consider as evident, but the rest of the world seems to assume that cheerleading and dancing is all about catfights and vomiting instead about team spirit, commitment and strength.

It’s the new shape of sexism. ‘Girly girls’ (or women that voluntarily do things that are seen as typical for women) are assumed to also correspond to the negative stereotype of women. ‘Girly girls’ are assumed to be superficial and to be evil manipulators that will never have any real ‘buddies’. It’s such a common belief that people don’t even notice it. It’s such a common belief, people don’t even see it as sexist.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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