How physical should women’s sports get?


Photo Courtesy of Tom Morris

Seniors Blake Mesenburg and Maggie Anderson debate how physical women’s sports should be allowed to get.

Blake Mesenburg and Maggie Anderson

Why girls sports should not be as physical as boys:

Physicality in girls’ sports is limited for a reason. People may see differentiating girls and boys sports as sexist, but in reality, it is very beneficial for both genders. Girls and boys are built differently, think differently, and act differently, therefore, they play sports differently. The separate limitations of physicality allow girls and boys to play the way they want.

Because women’s sports do not include an extreme amount of physical contact, girls can play regardless of their size and strength. Much of men’s sports are centered around how strong they are and how big they are. In girls’ sports, being small is hardly a disadvantage. Eliminating girl’s ability to check-in hockey or lacrosse, or tackle in football, allows girls to focus on skills rather than physical strength.

Boys are constantly centering their efforts in sports around hitting the other team. Rather than perfecting their form or strategy, they spend their time in the gym. This is fine for most boys’ but it is not preferable to many girls. For girls, the game is focused more on the mental and strategic game.

I personally think that the physical limitations in girls’ sports can make it more interesting to watch. Rather than seeing boy lacrosse players whack each other with sticks, spectators see girl lacrosse players handling the ball with precision and accuracy, and rather than seeing boys hockey players smash into each other, spectators see girls carefully skating around their opponents.

Limiting physicality in girls’ sports does not limit their opportunities.

— Maggie Anderson

The rules that girl’s sports include also limit many injuries. The rules are often in place for the safety of the girls, and they allow girls to continue to play the sport by avoiding many of the injury obstacles that the boys face. For boys playing football, hockey, and lacrosse, season-ending injuries are not uncommon. But for girls, it is rare to be injured for an entire season.

Limiting physicality in girls’ sports does not limit their opportunities, it does the opposite. It creates the possibility for more girls to be involved in the sport regardless of their strength or size and makes sports much more enjoyable and doable for many girls. However, if a girl does not want to comply with the limitations of girls’ sports, they always have the option to work extra hard and join the boys’ team.

Why girls sports should be as physical as boys:

In a time where gender equality is commonly discussed, shouldn’t girls be given the opportunity to have the same rules on physicality as the boys do in their sports? Girls lose out on many important elements when their abilities to be physical are limited. When we limit girls’ ability to be physical, we are saying that they can not handle physicality the same as boys, and they are too fragile to play in the same game. This goes back to inequality and is viewed as sexism.

In some situations, such as lacrosse and hockey, if spectators watch girls play instead of boys, they are going to see a whole different sport. Girls’ sports are not as entertaining as boys’ sports are because they can not be as physical. When there is no contact, the game slows down and is less interesting for those watching in the stands, and some would say for those playing it.

When we limit girls’ ability to be physical, we are saying that they can not handle physicality the same as boys, and they are too fragile to play in the same game.

— Blake Mesenburg

People who believe that women should not be as physical in their sport are socially flawed. They are saying that girls are not as tough and strong as boys, and the physicality in boys sports is a “boys only” thing. Girls have the ability to be just as strong as any boy. If they are willing to work for it, they can do it.

If women are taught to properly handle more physical play, that means giving and receiving, then their sport should allow it. Some believe that there will be more injuries in the sport, but allowing contact would force the girls to have more awareness and learn to protect themselves, leading to fewer injuries. In the end, as with any situation, if they understand the game and have the right sense on the playing field, the best athletes will be able to monitor their intensity and physicality for the safest and best results in the game.