More cultural contortions about sports and femininity

I continue to be amazed at how some male admirers of women’s basketball (and women’s sports) seem to be more worked up about the convergence of sports, femininity and culture than some of the female athletes themselves. Q McCall of Swish Appeal deconstructs Ohio State basketball All-American Jantel Lavender in overwrought fashion:

“Ultimately, the reason this is worth mention on a women’s sports site is our cultural struggle with this question of what it means to be a girl can also serve as a significant barrier to girls’ (growing) participation in sports – if, for whatever reason, a girl decides being ‘feminine’ excludes certain attributes of a given domain, she is less likely to participate, independent of ability. So what you have to appreciate about Lavender’s comment is that she has not only obviously thought through the question – out of necessity, not a rhetorical exercise – but also found a way to be feminine and be good on the court.”

Judging from Lavender’s matter-of-fact ease at discussing this aspect of her personality, I didn’t get the impression she had to think anything through at all. The current generation of young women – not just athletes – does not have a “cultural struggle” with the subject. Only those who insist on seeing the world of women and sports through a very confining, paralyzing prism.

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