'Success in sports is not just about talent,'
points out Dr. Erin McCarthy. 'Lots of things get in the way.' The barrier of racism began to fall with Jackie Robinson, but remains a factor. Class and economic factors vary from sport to sport. Title IX, of course, was designed to level the playing field for women, but homophobia remains entrenched.
The role of women in bringing down traditional barriers against fair and equal opportunity for all is the subject of Dr. McCarthy's Intersections presentation, Sport and Sexuality: (Nearly) the Last Bastion of Sexism and Homophobia. McCarthy will share slides, video and surprising statistics to explore the influence of women in sports, and the hurdles they have faced.
The program will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 4 in the Fifth Floor East Meeting Room of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Admission is free. For more information, call (312) 744-6630 or visit www.intersections.colum.edu .
McCarthy will look back at some of the overt and covert obstacles that have prevented women's full participation in sports. Throughout much of the twentieth century, sport was felt to be essentially masculine. While healthy bodies were seen as desirable for women as well as men, many aspects of sports seemed threatening: physical exertion, muscle-building, competition and even intense bonding between women. Did these endanger the essential roles of women as wives and mothers? Success in sports seemed to throw into question the nature of female identity. Title IX has helped to break down such sexist anxieties.