Today I came across two articles in the New York Times related to female athletes and women’s sport. Neither contains good news and in fact both articles highlight that despite gains made in the post Title IX era, female sport participation is still constantly under attack.
Sport sociologists term the participation of females in sport and the conflicts that arise over who will play and under what conditions as “contested terrain.” Contested terrain means both oppression and resistance exist simultaneously and that existing power dynamics and social inequalities are both reinforced and challenged in and through sport.
Katie Thomas wrote a piece titled College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equity about how many college athletic teams are padding the number of female athletes on their rosters in order to make it appear the school is in compliance with Title IX.
update 4/29/11: Read the Women’s Sports Foundation response to these deceptive Title IX practices here. In the response Kathryn Olson, CEO of the WSF, said, “If an athletic department is willing to manipulate its sports programs by creating an artificial veneer of fairness among its male and female students with these laws on the books, one must wonder what would happen without Title IX.”
Alice Dreger wrote a piece titled Redefining the Sexes in Unequal Terms about how a new rule pertaining to the level of functional testosterone in female athletes is a sexist form of biochemical policing that male athletes do not endure.