Thursday, February 08, 2007

Female Athletes and Weight

The New York Times ran an intersting article today about the issues of weighing and publicizing the weight of female collegiate athletes. The article focuses on Courtney Paris, a sophomore who plays center on the University of Oklahoma women's basketball team. Paris is the ranked third nationwide in scoring, and is considered one of the best women's basketball players in college today. She is 6' 4" and weighs 240 pounds, a fact that she does not hide (and to which she and others attribute some of her success to), but her weight is not published by the University.

Why? Because the University of Oklahoma, like many other colleges, generally does not publish the weight of its female athletes. Other colleges do not weigh female athletes at all, instead relying on measures such as speed, flexibility, lean mass and strength to assess overall fitness. The article discusses how colleges are wary of triggering a negative reaction in female athletes, fearing the development of eating disorders, or that athletes will focus on weight instead of performance, due to gender stereotypes of what women ought to look like. One of Title IX's goals is to eliminate gender stereotyping in educational institutions: these colleges seem to be trying to sheild their female athletes from the effects of gender stereotyping, but does that mean they are combating the stereotyping itself?

1 comment:

Half Sigma said...

Obviously, not publicizing the weights of female athletes only adds to the problem of women thinking they need to be thinner (assuming you consider that to be a problem).

If regular college women knew how much more the athletes weighed, they'd stop dieting.