The SheHawk: Women want equality, what about football?

The SheHawk: Women want equality, what about football?

Samantha Durham | Assistant Opinion Editor

Not many people consider all aspects of gender equality. Personally, I feel if anyone is passionate about something; art, music, sports, etc, that individual has the right to explore it, regardless of their gender. I was reading CNN this week and I saw this article about women in tackle football, which was an amazing thing to read about. To be very honest, I had no idea that women’s tackle football existed.

I bet if I polled the majority of people, they too would have no idea that women’s tackle football is played widely across the country. In fact, I would find more people that know about the Legends Football League, or better known as the lingerie football league. Because how dare a woman play a “man’s” sport? It’s only entertainment if you can dress us in skimpy clothes and stare without being called out for it.

But, don’t be discouraged, ladies, there is hope for us.  Tackle football leagues for women have become increasingly popular over the past two decades, reported CNN. While women might be lacking a professional league, we are still proving that a sport is not just for one gender.

So far, the United States has three 11-on-11 full contact leagues for amateurs. I was thrilled to see this on CNN, because how awesome is it that women are playing football? For reasons other than objectifying their bodies? I am excited that finally, we are seeing gender equality in more ways than one. If you want to play football, no one is can stop you anymore, nor can they make you wear a sexy uniform.

The article on CNN even states, very clearly, “this isn’t powderpuff football and there is no lingerie – it’s the same exact version that’s played in the NFL”. So, please spare me the comments about this not being “real football” because women are playing it. It is equally as much football as any other male football league.

However, these kick butt women still have a lot of work ahead of them. They, for now, can only play for fun. No professional league exists and the fees, travel costs and equipment make it expensive to play.

This just goes to show that we assign genders to so many things. There is no rule stating that all girls have to like pink or playing dress up. There is no rule that says a boy has to love sports. We love things based on who we are, not who our birth certificate says we are. I think its great that society is slowly breaking down barriers around gender stereotypes. If you want to play football, then play. The fact that you are a woman shouldn’t stop you.

I’m also glad we are moving (slowly) past the idea that women are always sexual objects. I have always hated the lingerie football league concept because I feel like few people watch it based on the sport or the athletic skills of the women. They watch it because they are dressed in tiny shorts and crop tops. It’s about their bodies, and it is a shame that they are viewed for their appearances, rather than their skills.

I have always been a firm believer that everyone is more than their gender and the stereotypes associated with it. I am more than a sex symbol. I am more than delicate. I am a scholar. I am a hard worker and a good friend. I am down to earth and so much more than just a “stereotypical woman”. I am whatever I choose to be, not what the world decides I am. 

This article on women playing football says so much about what “real” women are like. We are versatile and have so much more to offer than what stereotypes will lead you to believe. I am glad that women are getting these opportunities because no one should be excluded from something they love due to their gender. We are all people at the end of the day and we all deserve to live the life we want, not the one others design for us.