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.
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.
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.