Friday, June 13, 2008

Meet Brittney Griner (The Female Athlete of Today)

Today’s post is penned by special guest Rob Mars. Rob is behind the Athletic Women Blog, which is dedicated to Amazon feminism. Not sure what that means? According to Wikipedia the definition is as follows:

Amazon feminism is dedicated to the image of the female hero in fiction and in fact, as it is expressed in art and literature in the physiques and feats of female athletes, martial artists, and other powerfully built women.

Some examples would be Wonder Woman, Sydney Bristow, or this young woman that Rob has written about for us:

I want to bring someone to your attention, someone I think you'll find pretty amazing. Her name, as I'm sure you've deduced, is Brittney Griner, and she just completed her junior year in high school. I'll let the video clip explain the rest (watch the clip above, then continue).

Yep, that's right! A young female basketball player, not even out of high school, dunking and playing above the rim NBA style. Don't be too surprised, though. While Brittney is clearly exceptional, she's just one example of an unmistakable trend--female athletes are getting bigger, faster, and stronger, and this is happening at a breathtaking pace.

But why? one might understandably ask. Which isn't really so hard to answer. We've been in a period for a while now where women have been able to explore their physical potential (relatively) unhindered. They've been reaping the benefits of strength training and athletic competition, and what's more, our society is actually starting to value athletic women. Consequently, with Brittney and many other gifted young female athletes like her, we're seeing the results of a shift in our societal thinking.

Traditionally, we've been told that women aren't sturdy enough to play certain sports, much less compete with men in them; they're just too dainty for some sports, it has been said. (Nothing more than self-fulfilling prophecy, one could argue, since only within the last few decades have women been free to develop themselves physically, their "daintiness" being the ostensible reason given for their exclusion from strenuous physical activity.) But as Laura Pappano points out, these old stereotypes are now being challenged routinely.

Women are much more robust than they've been given credit for. The survival of our species has, in fact, depended on women's ability to meet the demands of their often mutable environment, and what we value as a society becomes an important part of that environment. Thus, the more society appreciates powerful, athletic women, and the more women esteem physical strength themselves, the more we will see remarkable female athletes like Brittney.

I for one am looking forward to it.


Lindsay said...

Wow, she is amazing. We are living in an exciting time for women's sports and it's only going to get better.

Apryl DeLancey said...

I agree! It's very exciting!