Throw Like A Girl?

For those of you who don’t know who Jennie Finch is, google her right now! As a pitcher on the USA softball team she is a two-time Olympic medalist (gold and silver), a two-time Pan American games gold medalist, a three-time World Cup Champion, and a three-time World Champion. Throughout her career, she has not only struck out countless softball players but also major league baseball players Albert Pujols, Brian Giles, and Mike Piazza and an NFL player Adrian Peterson in the 2004 Pepsi All-Star Softball Game.

Jennie Finch strikes out Adrian Peterson in the 2004 Pepsi All-Star Softball Game
Jennie Finch strikes out Adrian Peterson in the 2004 Pepsi All-Star Softball Game
Jennie Finch, USA Softball
Jennie Finch, USA Softball

And what about Mo’ne Davis? Mo’ne Davis caught America’s attention this past year in the world of Little League baseball. At just 13 years old she was the first girl to earn a win and pitch a three-hit shutout in the Little League World Series. As seen below she strikes out players by pitching a 70 mile per hour fastball.

Mo'Ne Davis pitches in a Little League game
Mo’Ne Davis pitches in a Little League game
Mo'Ne Davis on the cover of Sports Illustrated
Mo’Ne Davis on the cover of Sports Illustrated

So what does this say about the widely known insult, “you throw like a girl?” I’m sure most of you can agree, including myself, that men have the size and strength advantage which makes it a challenge for women to compete against them in sports. It’s not often that you see a 6 foot 4, 300 pound woman walking down the street ready to tackle someone. But take Jennie Finch for example, she struck out three professional baseball players and one professional football player. She may not be able to play major league baseball or football but she was still able to prove that she, a female, can compete and win when given the opportunity. After reading Mika Lavaque-Manty’s Being A Woman and Other Disabilities, he really made me think about how women are perceived as athletes. Title IX has made significant changes since it was passed in 1972, but how is it that that the saying, “throw like a girl” still lives on?

I agree with Lavaque-Manty when he states his opinion that there has been much continuity for women in sports. Although there have been changes, the ideals and stereotypes defining female athletes have remained. Women’s college sports have never been categorized as a “revenue sport,” and when the number of spectators at a women’s sports game are compared to a men’s sports game, there is a significant difference in attendance. Why  is it that men’s sports are more appreciated and supported by our society and culture?

Ultimately I believe it is up to women to continue to compete and fight these stereotypes and ideals that are still present in our society today. Women like Mo’Ne Davis and Jennie Finch redefine what “throwing like a girl” actually means and it is up to them and future women to redefine what being a female athlete means.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Throw Like A Girl?

  1. I think you make some very strong points in this post. Using relevant examples such as Mo’ne Davis and Jennie Finch provide strong evidence for the strides that women have made in the world of sport. However, I think you fail to point out why men’s sports are so much more popular than women’s sports. I think if you take basketball or soccer for example, fans are going to be much more drawn to men’s sports because of the increased pace and strength. But if you take sports such as baseball and of course volleyball, I think that women have a lot of potential to compete and gain just as much support as men.

    Like

  2. Very well written article, I thoroughly enjoyed your use of graphics in the context of the blog! At the end you posed the question of why men’s sports are so much more highly regarded in today’s athletic world, and why they receive such a higher proportion of media coverage and spectators. I think the answer to this question lies within your blog itself. While Jennie Finch and Mo’ne Davis are indeed phenomenal athletes, their fame is largely the result of their being outliers in the world of female athletes. As a strong and healthy female living in the 21st century, I feel comfortable admitting that male athletes do often have physical advantages simply by being men. Jennie and Mo’ne are so incredible and noteworthy among females, because they fall within the range of the best of these male athletes. As a society, we always want to have, watch, or participate in whatever we think is the ‘best’ of all of our options. If spectators have the opportunity to devote three hours to watching the most fast-paced and brutal game of baseball, and one that is perhaps slightly less physical, they will inevitably be drawn to whatever appears to give them the greatest gratification for their investment. This hearkens back to Huizinga’s concept of spectators projecting their emotions and goals onto the athletes they are watching. Simply put, the reason men’s sports generally get more viewers and publicity is because the stereotype today is that these events are more intense and demonstrate higher levels of excellence. Therefore, people will nearly always choose to participate and watch these games, because they want to achieve the greatest emotional gratification and stimulation they believe possible.

    Like

  3. I really enjoyed your post. I think all your points are valid and intriguing. In your article, you talk about the size and power of male athletes and its relationship to dominance in “revenue sports.” While reading this, I was reminded of what we talked about in discussion; differences (between genders, race, ect. ) don’t necessarily imply a “better” or a “worse.” Female athletes are able excel in qualities other that, but not excluding, strength and size. However, it is these qualities society emphasizes as superior, rather than knowledge of the game, agility or many others. You say you believe ” it is up to women to continue to compete and fight these stereotypes and ideals that are still present in our society today,” and I disagree. I think it is because of societies emphasis on the dominance of these qualities that these stereotypes persist today. To break these barriers, the values of women AND men would have to shift. I agree with the comment before me in the fact that female athletes like Davis and Finch are phenomenal athletes, but it is because they are outliers in their realm that they are challenging stereotypes. To challenge stereotypes within the realm of female athletics, societal values would have to expand.

    Like

  4. I definitely agree that stereotypes surrounding women and female athletics are ridiculous, untrue, and yet deeply built into our culture as a result of certain individuals’ views on women, as embodied by the single statement “throwing like a girl”: views which are not only unjust, but should be defunct. However, I feel that you imply that attendance at male sports is entirely a result of those things I previously mentioned. Yes, these likely have something to do with the large disparity in the popularity of men’s sports compared to women’s sports; however, the nature of many men’s sports often appeals to a wider audience largely because of the differences in the game that are a result of it being played by players who are typically faster, stronger, and higher-jumping (solely because of physiological differences). With that being said, I agree that the stereotypes and views surrounding women’s sports must change so that we can truly see an appreciation of all genuine athletics, regardless of gender.

    Like

  5. I really agree with all of your points and examples throughout your post. I enjoyed how you used two relatively recent examples of women prospering in their sport (Mo’ne Davis and Jennie Finch). They both show how women can, and do excel in sports today. Throughout your article you argue with the fact that society does not value women sports as much as men sports, such as you asking the question: “Why is it that men’s sports are more appreciated and supported by our society and culture?”. You have to take in consideration what society likes to watch. Society is more drawn to watching sports with more strength and a faster pace. Although many people can argue that women can be faster and stronger than men, in general it is proven that men have more muscle percentage, which in relation, would make them faster. On a side note, there are numerous people that prefer a women sport. Personally, I am a huge tennis fan. Furthermore, I prefer watching women’s tennis over men’s tennis. Women’s tennis tend to have more rallies between the opponents, when mens tennis is only a couple rallies, with a quick winner. In my opinion, a longer point makes it more exciting for a spectator. I am confident that many people, including you, would agree with this. Overall, it really comes down to what the spectators want to watch, and what they find the most satisfaction from.

    Like

Comments are closed.