Daily Archives: November 11, 2009

Women’s Soccer Violence and Girl Gangs

If you watched the news yesterday you viewed the video of Elizabeth Lambert playing soccer for UNM against BYU.

 It has long been established that men are playing rougher and more deliberately aiming to injure their opponents when they play sports. I do not like to watch sports all that much for that reason. I hate to see people getting injured. Fans expect in some cases to see blood and yell things like “Kill ’em”.

Now it seems women are playing rougher as well. I am all in favor of women playing any sports for which they are qualified. However, it is deeply disturbing when they get to the point where they, like men,  think physical violence during the game is acceptable. It is even more disturbing when the officials stand by and do not seem to catch them in that act. I thought that is why they were on the field in the first place.

Elizabeth Lambert is a young woman who decided that the rules of the game were not for her. She intentionally acted in a way that was meant to physically hurt her opponents. In the game of soccer you get a red card for the actions she displayed. She didn’t get one. Several of her actions were not seen by any of the officials. The coach didn’t pull her out of the game. She finally received a yellow card which is a warning.

A sport is  considered to be an organized, competitive and skillful physical activity. It  requires commitment and fair play or what is commonly referred to as good sportsmanship. She forgot the fair play aspect of the game. She was competitive and skillful but she took it upon herself to cross the line. Their was no sportsmanship or fair play in any of her actions.

Now I am thankful that the days when young women never did any competitive physical activity are long gone. They got plenty of physical activity just doing all the work that was required around the house, unless their fathers were in a position to hire a maid. They were expected to sit primly in the parlour and to behave in all ways proper. It must have been an excruciatingly boring life. I am glad to see that the pendulum of public opinion of feminine propriety has swung to allow for more freedom to live. However, I am greatly disturbed at how far it has swung.

It is natural to assume that there are many women who are by nature  aggressive. We were not all born passive and docile. That is why events like roller derby can be so popular. But that game is purposefully physical with its booty blocks, hipchecks, and whipping the jammer around the track. The gear is designed to protect the body. There are rules to this game as well and those who break the rules serve time in the penalty box. The same holds true for those women who play ice hockey, another very physical sport.

There is a difference to me, however, between being physically aggressive on the field of play according to agreed upon rules and showing physical violence. We, in America, are seeing increased levels of girls using physical violence to show their power. Girls can be even more vicious in their physical fighting than boys. It is becoming more commonplace, and it doesn’t seem that there are enough people to deal with this trend. Elizabeth Lambert was physically violent on the field. Other girls are physically violent on the streets. It is a scary thought to me when women change like that. Women are supposed to be the glue that holds the culture together.

My friend Maxine claims that she thinks girls have always been as physically aggressive and violent as they are now. When I told her about my topic for this blog she said, “I grew up in the mountains. I saw some pretty bad fights while I was growing up. Nobody messes with a mountain girl.” But then she went on to admit that most of the fights were verbal. That has been the case forever. Girls and women have in the past used words as weapons.

Has that changed? I think it has. I think we are getting much more physical in our interactions. Are girls and young women learning that such behavior is an acceptable mode of expression? Will there continue to be more sports violence perpetrated by women and gang violence among girls? Who is to stop them? Is there anyone who wants to stop them? Or have we given up on any sense of civility in our society and just living our daily lives ignoring what is happening? Isn’t this one of the portents of a decaying and declining culture? Are these the canaries in the mine? Who or what is responsible for starting the pendulum back toward the middle again? Does anybody care? Namaste Attic Annie

Here is an update interview with Lambert.

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