Why Do So Many Women’s Sports Still Incorporate Skirts?


Laura’s daughter Anna (each names modified) wished to check out for her personal college’s lacrosse crew, however she balked as soon as she realized that the obligatory uniform included a skirt/skort.

“She did not want to wear the skirt as the uniform and felt it was too revealing and made her feel self-conscious,” Laura explains in an e mail interview. “If the girls uniform were similar to the boys, she would have tried out.” Adds her daughter, who’s within the 6th grade, “Boys wear long shorts and girls have to wear short skirts and it’s not fair.”

Young Anna simply had her first real-life run-in with the wild variations between what’s anticipated of ladies’s appearances versus males’s. Many sports activities have historically featured a skirt as a part of the uniform for girls, in the identical manner that ladies historically wore primarily skirts and clothes. But you may be stunned to study that a few of the sport skirt necessities are literally very current.

For occasion, ladies’s boxing grew to become a part of the Olympics for the primary time in 2012. In 2011, the president of the AIBA, the worldwide affiliation representing novice boxers, declared that the feminine boxers would put on skirts, as a result of viewers had a tough time telling the distinction between the male and the feminine boxers in competiton. After an enormous outcry, the AIBA backtracked and mentioned its athletes might put on both skirts or shorts, a coverage that also exists as we speak. The same debate passed off on the planet of Olympic badminton.

“They [the governing organizations for boxing and badminton] both said out loud that they were doing it to make the women sexier and more marketable and watchable,” recollects Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Olympic swimming champion, lawyer and head of advocacy group Champion Women.

She insists that the intention of the uniform is what makes the distinction. “Field hockey has over a hundred years’ history of wearing skirts so that’s just how the sport has developed,” she says, noting that feminine athletes should not be compelled to appear to be fashions just because they’re ladies. “If that’s what you’re looking for, then that’s a problem because it’s going to take away from the ability to look at the women’s athletic accomplishments.”

Jennifer Perkins, of Woodstock, Georgia, has coached lacrosse for 20 years, and performed the game in faculty. She describes lacrosse skirts as very comfy and virtually equivalent to tennis skirts and area hockey uniforms, which characteristic spandex shorts beneath. “I️ actually don’t like when a lacrosse team wears shorts but I️ am more of a traditionalist,” she says in an e mail. (For the report, the Federation of International Lacrosse says shorts or kilts are OK for uniforms).

Perkins is not alone in that sentiment, both. The Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL) lately consulted gamers about whether or not they favor to play in skirts or shorts. Surprisingly, most indicated skirts as their uniform of alternative, though there have been robust opinions on either side of the controversy.

“I think skirts pay tribute to the tradition and gracefulness of the game as female lacrosse players have been wearing them for over a hundred years,” explains Courtney Waite, participant for WPLL crew Philadelphia Fire. “On a practical level, skirts are comfortable to compete in, while I have found some styles of lacrosse shorts on the market today to be somewhat bulky and more constrictive. Visually, skirts are attractive and offer a visual representation of the multiple facets of female athletes. Women can celebrate their femininity, strength, and athleticism.”

Fellow WPPL participant Olivia Hompe, who performs for Upstate Pride, respectfully disagrees. “While I think skirts look nice and are comfortable to play in, I do think competing in skirts takes away a degree of legitimacy from women as athletes. It is unimaginable that any male professional sports would wear skirts to compete,” she says in an e mail.

Of course, some sports activities are extra versatile when it comes to gown code, however these are typically particular person sports activities like ladies’s golf or tennis. Even Wimbledon is OK with ladies carrying shorts — so long as they’re white.

“They [women playing individual sports] can wear what’s most comfortable for them,” Hogshead-Makar says. “In a team sport it’s harder, but there’s no reason why one person couldn’t wear a skirt or shorts as long as they’re the same color. Just like individual sports, athletes should be able to have the choice,” she says. “To have a kid not participate because they don’t have a choice or are not comfortable with the dress code, that’s highly problematic.”

The Women’s Sports Foundation has a place paper with pointers for athletic uniforms. It notes, amongst different issues, that uniforms ought to think about “comfort and drag reduction,” the “impact on body type and body presentation,” in addition to points associated to “inappropriate marketing exploitation.”


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