by: Devin Smith
This is a question that has weighed heavily on my mind recently, and I think it’s one that people show pay more attention to before history passes them by.
People (specifically men) generally won’t admit it, but being a female athlete on any level carries a stigma.
Simply put, popular belief is not just that a woman can’t compete with a man. The belief is that women are not able to compete with men, and it’s the steadily growing elephant in the room.
Women of all ages are conditioned to believe they aren’t equal in this sense. A common factor of basketball, baseball, football, tennis, hockey and even golf to name a few is that you will not find a woman competing against a man. Some sports have a female equivalent, while others completely leave women on the outside looking in.
While I’m not here to plead that case for either party, I am here to take a stand.
It has become so common that it’s basically just accepted and swept under the table, but women are making strides to the extent where now I think we may need to reconsider this proverbial line in the sand.
I’ll start with Danica Patrick, the hottest topic in the racing world since Ricky Bobby.
For anyone wanting to argue that point, I’m willing to bet that a lot more people know she won a pole position in the Daytona 500 than people that know Jimmie Johnson won the race. When you combine that with the fact that overnight ratings for Daytona were up 30 percent according to ESPN.com, and I can’t help but to acknowledge the significance of what is taking place in NASCAR.
Now let’s jump to the violent world of Mixed Martial Arts, particularly the UFC where on Saturday Ronda Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche in the first female fight in UFC history to become the first Women’s Bantamweight Champion.
UFC president was spot on when he said later in the evening that Saturday “was a big night for the history of women.” The same can be said of Patrick’s performance, which took place the same weekend.
While I realize that driving a car and participating in combat sports is drastically different, or any physical sport for that matter, the idea that they each perpetuate may not differ so much.
All this begs the question, is the landscape of competitive sports in the midst of a drastic change? I believe it is.
Over time the physical gap between men and women has begun to shrink, and science is the catalyst. The knowledge we have as a society allows us to do so many things with our bodies that even a few decades ago weren’t thought to be possible, but more importantly women are starting to realize this and are taking advantage of it.
So where is there legitimate proof that women can’t take the next step? The past weekend was big for the history of women, but exponentially bigger for their future. I think it’s long overdue, and I suggest people prepare themselves for the revolution.