Don't compare the women's and men's divisions of the same sport

Although a sport may be played by the same rules regardless of gender, there are often tactical differences between women’s and men’s sports  that make any comparison between the two ineffective and inappropriate. There is often the tendency to measure women's sports according to  how men's sports are played and reduce the former as a lesser copy of the latter. 

Even when intended as a compliment, statements like "she plays like a man" or "he throws like a girl" echo in the minds of women matching  athletes, reinforcing that assumes the masculine as good and the feminine as bad. Women matching players are tired of arriving at language practices or winter leagues and being approached by inexperienced but enthusiastic male matching players, only to have them explain how to  play the zone they have been practising for years. Although their desire to educate may be genuine, their natural assumption of incompetence  compared to their knowledge due to gender is insulting.

It's time to work together to deconstruct the entire set of values that affirm and assume male superiority in the athletic realm. At every level of our  sport, spectators and players look at women's ultimate and interpret its diversity as inadequacy or shortcoming against the benchmark of men's  competition. This is also true of the sporting world at large. With male sport as the sole measure, the way women play will never reach this ideal  no matter how hard they try. This mechanism purposely devalues difference and sets the stage for women only ever to be second class. 

This video should highlight what support can look like. 

Theoretically speaking

We need to deconstruct the men's boxing. Even though the featherweight and the heavyweight play the same sport, the latter is based much  more on brute force, while the former is much more tactical. Both are entertaining but hardly comparable.

Another example that we should reflect on is the height of the volleyball net is different between men's and women's division games. By having  different height nets, we are acknowledging the physical differences between men matching and women matching players. This does not mean  that the women's division holds any less value or skill than the men's, but ensures equitable conditions for play. 

Again, it should be noted that values are not neutral, they are biassed (if you watch male sports all your life, of course, you are going to judge  women's sports according to the categories that you learnt). We are not trained to appreciate different ways of playing, but this can change. We  can train ourselves to be aware of the ways we judge situations and recognise that these judgments are not natural but result from how we have  been socialised and educated. 

General guidelines 

  1. Be aware that gender and gender expressions are social, cultural, and historical constructs. 
  2. Deconstruct your bias in terms of judgements and your tendency to consider "men as the standard": do not compare men and women in sports but educate yourself to appreciate and value diversity. 
  3. Recognise the "male gaze" in sports (the perspective of a notionally typical heterosexual man embodied in the audience or intended audience for films and other visual media, characterised by a tendency to objectify or sexualise women). 
  4. Go beyond binarism and embrace the spectrum of gender expression. 
  5. Rebel against any process of gendering people, actions, attitudes, or choices. Sport, and especially Ultimate, is for everyone. 


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