Sex and sports: is the playing field level?

By Tshilidzi Mutavhatsindi

There is a saying that states that soccer is a gentlemen’s game played by ruffians. Rugby is a ruffian’s game played by gentlemen. The rugby league is a ruffian’s game played by ruffians. At this point in time, women’s exposure to male sports has radically increased, and visa versa. Around the world, men play netball, females play soccer, rugby and other masculine sports and dispute continues as to whether women should play men’s sports. All this mainly due to sex determination differences. It was once said that reknown tennis player, Serena Williams, was dumped by her ex-boyfriend because he felt that she has become more like him, while saying that some sports are not designed for women. On 28 October 2007, Rugby referee Robert Tustin dropped his shorts during a ladies’ rugby match between Peterborough and Thetford, exposing his backside. After the incident, Tustin’s excuse for his behaviour was that he was making a statement and that “females shouldn’t be playing rugby in the first place, because it’s a male sport.” The dispute continues. Is sport really gender specific?


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