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Women and Sports

The following discussion about women and sports took place on
WMST-L in December 2004.  It's really two related discussions:
Part 1 deals with literature that addresses women's experiences
as athletes, while Part 2 concerns feminist analyses of sports. 
For additional WMST-L discussions available on the Web, see the
WMST-L File Collection.

Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2004 10:05:08 -0500
From: Jeannie Ludlow <jludlow AT BGNET.BGSU.EDU>
Subject: inq: lit and sport?
Hi all,
I teach my intro course using a combination of art/literature and
social science studies. Next semester, we are having a big
celebration of Title IX on our campus--pre-Title IX women athletes
will come back to campus to be awarded letters, etc.--and I will be
doing a unit on Title IX and women and sport to go along with this.

I have plenty of studies about Title IX and women's and girls'
experiences with sports (good and bad).

I'd love to incorporate poetry or short fiction (could be a short
novel) into this unit. Does anyone have any suggestions for poetry or
fiction that addresses women's experiences as athletes?
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2004 11:39:26 -0500
From: Wendy Burns-Ardolino <Ardolino AT GWM.SC.EDU>
Subject: Re: inq: lit and sport?

        Actually, I just read a poem by Nellie Wong  that talks about
representations of women's physicality in Hollywood film(cited in Leslie
Heywood and Shari Dworkin's book, Built to Win: The Female Athlete as
Cultural Icon).  Heywood includes the poem entitled "Resolution".  The
note also says that the poem is publised in Long Shot 24 (2001): 89

        Leslie Heywood also authors a book, Pretty Good for a Girl, that
could be excerpted and includes at least one poem I can think of.

        Heywood is a literature/Cultural Studies Prof at SUNY
Binghampton.  She is a definite literary resource for the topic of Women
and Sports.

Hope this helps.

Wendy A. Burns-Ardolino, Ph.D.
Cultural Studies & Women's Studies
USC-B, South Campus
Ardolino  AT
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2004 13:06:56 -0500
From: Jen McWeeny <jmcweeny AT JCU.EDU>
Subject: Re: inq: lit and sport?
Dear Jeannie,
_Pretty Good for a Girl_ by Leslie Heywood is a short novel
about Heywood's struggle with female athlete triad
(anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive exercise), her success as
an athlete, and her experience of sexual of assault by a
male coach.
I recommend the novel because it encourages its readers to
think of the variety of roles that athletics can play (both
good and bad) in the lives of young women within a sexist
society.  It also is an intimate account of one woman's live
and many students are able to make personal connections with
Jen McWeeny
Ms. Jen McWeeny
Department of Philosophy
John Carroll University
20700 North Park Blvd.
University Heights, OH 44118
Phone: (216) 397-4783
Fax: (216) 397-1738
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2004 10:40:49 -0700
From: Tess Pierce <tess AT ETRESOFT.COM>
Subject: Re: inq: lit and sport?
Tomboys!: Tales of Dyke Derring-Do edited by Lynne Y. Fletcher & Karen
This collection of childhood rememberances will help find the tomboy in
all of us. Whether you just liked to climb trees, or were an all-out
gun-toting, bike-riding, never-wear-a-dress homerun hitter, you will
find yourself laughing and crying.
ISBN: 1555832857 /Publisher: Alyson Publications /Pub. Date: November

This is a great book that includes stories of girls' experiences that
include sports. My students really like reading them and everyone can
relate to them in some way. The guys in my classes often remark that it
gives them new insights into the double-standards that "innocent" play
imposes on kids.

Tess Pierce
tess  AT
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2004 13:24:25 -0500
From: "Tenzer, Livia" <LTenzer AT GC.CUNY.EDU>
Subject: Re: lit and sport?
Dear Jeannie,

The June 2005 issue of WSQ is devoted to women and sports. The issue is
guest-edited by Carol Pierman and covers many topics relating to women's
participation in sports.

The issue also includes a poetry section with 8 never-before-published poems
by women about their experiences as athletes.


Livia Tenzer
Editorial Director
The Feminist Press at CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016
tel. 212-817-7927
fax 212-817-1593
email: ltenzer  AT
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2004 10:52:31 -0800
From: Lois Rita Helmbold <helmbold AT UNLV.NEVADA.EDU>
Subject: Re: inq: lit and sport?
Hi Jeannie & list,

    Carol Anshaw's Aquamarine is a novel about an Olympic swimmer who
gets seduced by a rival competitor from AZ the night before & loses to
her.  Then it's 3 different versions of how her life goes the following
20 years.  Great read.  In some she continues as an athlete, not all.

    Lois Helmbold
    helmbold  AT
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2004 01:33:49 EST
From: Huddis AT AOL.COM
Subject: Women and Sports
Jeannie, I have a few suggestions for you.  One is that you get in touch with
and invite to your campus Grace Butcher -- grace_butcher  AT -- who may
be retired or may still teach at Kent State.  She is still, I think, a runner.
She was a runner, writing about being a woman and an anthlete, when I knew
her in Cleveland in the mid-nineteen sixties when we were both part of the
underground writers' scene and the civil rights movement in Cleveland.  I saw Grace
this October when I was doing a reading at the Chagrin Falls Indepenent
Bookstore from my book "The Strange History of Suzanne LaFleshe" and Other Stories
about Women and Fatness (The Feminist Press, 2004) and Grace came to renew our
acquaintance.  She had wonderful things to say about women athletes and body
issues and she is as articulate and precise as I remember her.  I think she
would be a wonderful addition to your celebration of Title IX both reading her
wonderful poetry and speaking about her experiences before and after Title IX.

Also, in Fannie Hurst's last collection of short stories, WE ARE TEN, Harper &
 Bros., 1937, there is a story called "Candy Butcher" (originally published
in 1936) about the first woman to swim the English Channel.  It is based on but
not really about Getrude Ederle.  Take a look at it and tell me what you
think of it.

One of the winners of the Koppelman Award from the Women's Caucus of the
Popular Culture Association for the year 200 was Whatever It Takes: Women on
Women's Sport coedited by Joli Sandoz and Joby Winana (Farrar, Straus, Giroux,
1999) that I think you and your students will find a terrific resource.  "A
passionate tribute to the power of sport in women's lives."  "Finally! A book by
women sharing their personal experiences of self-discovery through sports! From
boxing to rowing, baseball to swimming, each story is told with passion and
flair." from Annie Nelson, three-year member of US Women's World Sailing Team.

In 2003, Leslie Heywood and Shari L. Dworkin published Built to Win: the
Female Athlete as Cultural Icon as number five in the Sports and Culture Series
from the U. of Minnesota Press.  Check out the whole series.

Finally, I think you and your students will find the images in Picturing the
Modern Amazon edited by Joanna Frueh, Laurie Fierstein, and Judith Stein (New
Museum Books. Rizzoli, 2000, a book to accompany the exhibit by the same title
at the New Museum of Contemporary Art absolutely mind-blowing, as I did.

Let us know what you decide to use and how the celebration goes. Good luck
with it.  Susan Koppelman <<huddis  AT>>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2004 10:25:54 -0500
From: Gill Wright Miller <millerg AT DENISON.EDU>
Subject: Re: Women and Sports
One more short story that you might find interesting is a work by Pam
Houston in the book *Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul*
edited by Patricia Foster.  Houston's short story, "Out of Habit, I start
Apologizing," is written as a back-and-forth between being embarrassed by
her body as it is being assessed at a health spa and loving her body as it
works for her while she white water rafts.  My students found it captured a
dilemma they experience in their own lives as "everyday" athletes.  It
launched a monumental discussion.

Gill Miller
millerg  AT
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 12:04:48 -0500
From: Christie George <cgeorge AT WMM.COM>
Subject: Re: Women and Sports - Girl Wrestler Airs on Independent Lens
Hi everyone,

Seemed like a wonderful coincidence that this thread came out right now.
Jeannie, I wanted to suggest the film GIRL WRESTLER for inclusion in
your unit on women and sports.  Diane Zander's documentary follows
13-year-old Tara Neal who takes on the Texas wrestling community as she
insists that girls and boys should be able to wrestle on the same mat.

The film addresses such broader cultural issues as the social
construction of masculinity and femininity, athleticism and eating
disorders, gender discrimination in organized athletics, and the meaning
and value of sport in American culture.

Even pre-broadcast, the PBS/Independent Lens "Talk Back" message board
is already provoking heated debate on girls and wrestling - it's been
quite an eye-opener.

I've included the official announcement about the broadcast below.


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Christie George
Educational Marketing Manager
Women Make Movies

462 Broadway, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10013
Tel 212.925.0606 x317 | Fax 212.925.2052
cgeorge  AT |

Established in 1972 to address the underrepresentation and
misrepresentation of women in the media, Women Make Movies is the
largest distributor of women's films and videos in the world.  To get
news of upcoming theatrical dates, WMM's latest releases, festival
screenings, broadcast premieres and other events please subscribe to our
E-NEWS by sending an email to announce  AT

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Women Make Movies Presents GIRL WRESTLER on Acclaimed PBS Series
Independent Lens on December 14

**************NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD - BUY YOUR COPY TODAY!************************

GIRL WRESTLER tells the unlikely story of 13-year-old Texas teenager
Tara Neal who bucks traditional expectations by insisting that girls and
boys should be able to wrestle on the same mat. This fascinating
documentary captures the nail-biting thrill of competition, while
speaking volumes about sexism and sports and the way parents invest
their hopes in young athletes.


"A finely crafted...and intriguing look at modern girlhood."
-Gary Dowell, Dallas Morning News

"It's not hard to root for vivacious Tara."
- Katie Millbauer, Seattle Weekly

"Girls who see this film learn about strength, confidence, self-esteem,
and what it means to believe in yourself against all odds...a great
learning tool that could impact girls and women all over the country."
- GirlStart


This exhilirating documentary is now available on DVD!

Bonus Features Include:
****Discussion Questions
****Fact Sheets on Title IX
****News on Women and Wrestling
****Info on Cutting Weight

For sales and rental information on GIRL WRESTLER visit the WMM catalog
online at



Established in 1972 to address the underrepresentation and
misrepresentation of women in the media, Women Make Movies is the
largest distributor of women's films and videos in the world. To get
news of upcoming theatrical dates, WMM's latest releases, festival
screenings, broadcast premieres and other events please subscribe to our
E-NEWS by sending an email to WMMRelease  AT

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