Friday, February 05, 2010

Finally, a quality American export

Roller derby has hit Britain! The American, largely female-only sport has been exported to Britain and is growing exponentially.
Check out this piece in The Guardian about the emergence of the sport overseas.
This is very good news for overseers of British women's physical fitness (note the problematic nature of having such overseers however well meaning). Because British women are quite absent in sport and physical activity. Which makes the popularity of roller derby a little curious. Much of the rationale behind the lack of activity is the need to uphold standards of femininity which many women find incompatible with sport participation. But roller derby is one of the most aggressive (an historically male trait) sports out there. But the performance of the sport with the self-styled "kits" (I love British-speak!) that often include skirts and fishnets and makeup might temper the perceived masculinity many women see in sport. Who knows.
Also I found out an interesting tidbit: skaters in the US have to register their derby names and no one is allowed to take an already existing name. (Kind of like when you sign up for an email account!)
And, by the way, Whip It! the movie by Drew Barrymore about roller derby in Texas came out on DVD this past week and I highly recommend it.


E Leb said...

Just watched Whip It! two nights ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. What a breath of fresh air to see a movie that is centered around girls who don't fit hollywood's stereotypes, have complex emotions and actions, and are aggressive, competitive and love their sport. Added bonus for the parental characters who developed beyond their beauty pageant and football boxes. Makes me want to go see roller derby in person!

ken said...

I have only seen it once in person and it wasn't as exciting as I hoped it would be. But it was also flat track. I need to go again now that I know a little more about the sport and have a greater appreciation for it.