Friday, April 10, 2015

Sharing passion for sport with women

Olympian Gabby Douglas PIC via Politics365
Women and being strong – how did we reach a place where those concepts don’t go together. For me coming from a Celtic culture where female warriors were respected as much as men, it’s always been hard to accept the more modern view of women as passive.

One of the great heroines of Celtic mythology was a Queen named Maeve or Meadbh (or even Medb sometimes). It’s said she ruled for 60 years in the west of Ireland, in what’s now called Connaught and she apparently had five husbands.

Was she real? Well some of her exploits are definitely exaggerated but historians put her dates around 50BC. Most famously she was ordered the Táin Bó Cuailnge – or the Cattle Raid of Cooley. She launched the raid when she realised her then husband, king of a neighbouring province, was richer than her – so naturally Meave went to war to capture a valuable white bull and redress the balance.

Aimee Fuller snowboarder/biker PIC BBC Sport
How did we move from that to a world where being weak is attractive?  Where did this world where studies show girls afraid to take up sports because it might give them muscles come from? This Loughborough University study even found teenage girls put off sport because sweating isn’t feminine.

I have to confess at the height of my boxing days I avoided certain dresses because the cut made me look too strong! Incredible now when I’d love to have those muscles but am too caught up in a different way to life to train so hard anymore.

We can all get involved in changing this – it can be as simple as telling your friends how much you love your sport. Tell them about how you started, how exciting it felt to get strong.

I’m guessing if you’re reading this that you love some type of sport, so how do we take our passion and give it to other women?

RungArun MuayThai fighter Pic via GETTY

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