Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Ou sont les filles?

My French is very rusty but the title is, in my mind anyway, supposed to translate into "where are the women?"--actually I think filles is girls--you get the point.
The Tour de France is underway as most people know and the annual event brings to mind (along with the nudging of Ebuz's mom) the issue of where are the female cyclists. Not knowing the exact answer (besides the obvious: not in the race) only recalling that I had heard/read somewhere about a female version of the race, I went googling for some more information.
Luckily someone had the same question. So I was right about there being a race for women. It's shorter but still in France. The answer otherwise is pretty exasperating. The responder gives the history--started by a man to find the greatest cyclist (read: male cyclist) blah blah blah. Most sports did begin as exclusively male--doesn't mean they have to or did stay that way. But the responder suggests that even if all of us folks who believe in--gasp!--equality-- are not convinced, some nameless professor says that women, physiologically, cannot complete such a grueling event. But not to worry because their version is tough too.
Umm...yeah...that excuse has been around for a while now and it's getting old. Colette Dowling wrote a whole book on it called The Frailty Myth. More and more research now shows that women's alleged physical inferiority is really a product of cultural conditioning. And, speaking specifically to the Tour de France, research shows women have greater stamina in long-distance events. Women's marathon times have been going down by greater factors than men's and the current holder of the world record in the ultra marathon (100 miles) is a woman. So there really is no good reason to keep women out of the contest any more--not that this believer in equality ever thought there was.

1 comment:

Karen Jarboe said...

Wow, I think you'd be very sympathetic the project I'm undertaking currently. I'm a philosophy undergraduate working on my senior thesis. The topic is The Philosophical Influences of Gender on the Body. The project is based on "The Frailty Myth" by Collette Dowling. I am basically trying to show how philosophies on gender have physically shaped the body. As part of my project I am learning Tang Soo Do and journaling my experience to show how the frailty myth effects me, as well as show how I will overcome the frailty myth. So, I am very excited to have stumbled across your page. Hopefully you will stumble across mine and leave a comment or two if time allows. www.bodyandphilosophy.blogspot.com