The Feminine Mystique of Exercise and Sport

I have briefly mentioned it here before, and have talked about elements of the subject, but I do not feel that being involved in Jiu Jitsu or Judo make me any less feminine, and I wanted to expand on that:

I have to admit I have never read The Feminine Mystique, and checked Wikipedia briefly for the gist of what the hell the book is about. Kind of depressing, actually, and I feel in some ways to the women of today and sports. I feel like is lessening, but there is a little bit of a stigma attached to women who are heavily involved with a sport, especially one that is full contact which can make a woman feel out of place with her peers. It’s supposed to be this routine: go to the gym, don’t use weights, and god-forbid you sweat more than is appropriate. Just run on the treadmill until your legs fall off: that’s enough, right? That or something else highly cardio based, like Zumba or whatever. I’m not saying women are having an identity crisis due to this, but no one likes to feel like the odd man out.

I have no problem with people who want to focus on their cardio, but that’s really not what I’m into and that also should be respected: first of all, I’m terrible at choreographed moves usually, and secondly I love solving puzzles and trying different things. These together make Jiu Jitsu and Judo a fantastic fit for me. And somehow by the grace of the Powers That Be I don’t hurt anyone in kettlebell class.

I think when it comes to the more intense, full contact sports, some women either downplay their femininity, or underline and highlight it with bold colors, but both are essentially attempting to convey the same message, “being a woman does not hinder my ability on the mat or in the ring,” and I agree. What should be respected additionally is that is also not the end all, be all of their personality. Yes, I grapple, and I do appreciate a pretty pair of shoes. Yes, I roll around the floor for a couple of hours and get sweaty and gross, but I also like putting on a little makeup, a nice dress and having a night out. And I (for the most part) feel like a well rounded person for it.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the subject. I’m hoping as sports such as Jiu Jitsu grow in popularity among women this will become less and less of an issue, and we can all sit back and laugh while drinking brandy…or something. 😉

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “The Feminine Mystique of Exercise and Sport

  1. I’m glad you wrote this. Sometimes I wonder what all the fuss is about. I have never felt any disparagement or perjoration cast my way due to the fact that I’m a lady who fights/grapples/tangles. *shrug* Maybe it’s because I am so completely convinced that it adds to my character, my persona, my personhood, that anyone who might try to look down their nose at me about it (or anything else quirky about my personality or lifestyle or activities or choices) is unbeknownst to me rebuffed, by my Wonder-Woman-like bracelets of not really caring about their silly opinion.

  2. I AGREE. Wholeheartedly in fact. I recently bought my yellow vulkan and one of the guys gave me shit for saying I like the color on me, it’s pretty. I don’t see anything wrong with getting what you want when you shell out that kind of dough for things. I think there is a common misconception that just because i sweat out my hair and makeup, can take a few falls, and hang with the rest of them that I’ve let everything else go. Another thing that bothers me as well is that from jiujitsu my body has morphed (bye bye booty 😦 ) and it kills me that a lot of society views that as ‘looking masculine’ or unattractive. I just think it’s funny when ppl find out i grapple and then they take a moment to think to themselves,”hmmm, i wonder if she can beat me.”

  3. I’ll be bookmarking this post. Looking forward to more of your writing!

  4. I think it is great that women are doing this and the reason is because they love it. I feel to many times people do not take the chance and do something and then they go through life thinking what if. Very inspirational to all.

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  5. Pingback: Women and BJJ: Femininity | Jiu-Jiu's BJJ Blog

  6. I posted the pingback to this. We were parallel thinking about this! 🙂

    I also feel well rounded. In some ways I don’t even feel BJJ is masculine–it’s just something I do! I love it! But I love to feel like a WOMAN who does it.

    I have a feeling I’m going to write a few more articles called BJJ and Women: ____. I’m excited that there’s a huge dialog going on about this. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Jiu Jiu's BJJ Blog – Women and BJJ: Femininity

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