Monday, July 31, 2006

Why Women Shouldn't Play Sports...Seriously?

Update: I don't know why, but there really are a lot of people who search for this topic through Google, so this is possibly one of the most viewed entries I've ever written. So all that said, it should be very apparent that I disagree with the stance of female subservience and crushing the dreams of female athletes for allegedly "Biblical" reasons. So if you're looking for something that supports that kind of crap, go someplace else.

I can't help myself here. LutheranChik linked to the article, I started reading it, and now you have the option of reading it. It is amazing to me that people think that this is a reasonable position. For those completely uninterested in giving this article extra hits, here are some low points:
I propose that sports greatly hinders the development of godly, Biblical, feminine character. Parents today expend extraordinary amounts of time and energy taking their daughters from one sports event to another, week after week, even to the point where it exhausts the family and family resources. The fruits we see are that today’s Christian women are often ill-prepared to be Biblically obedient wives and mothers.
Because 1) parents running boys around to sports practice is a good kind of exhausting and 2) volleyball inhibits childbirth. Or something.
Actually, I don’t have a problem with women playing recreational sports on an occasional basis, just with them playing competitive sports on a regular day-to-day basis. This rigorous physical and mental training tends to make women more masculine. I think it is prudent to often ask ourselves “Can a woman do this activity and retain a Biblically feminine character?” With sports I think it will be difficult in most cases. Even some of the traditionally more feminine sports like gymnastics and ice skating are now influencing women to be more masculine.
What is 'Biblically feminine character?' How might my own wife achieve such a Godly form and manner? As we've already seen, 'Biblically feminine' apparently includes obedience/subservience and 'not being masculine.' But we need more information so Mrs. Jeff will properly conform. Ah, here we go:
Most men I know admire a woman who is reasonably healthy and fit; they are also attracted to a woman who is somewhat “soft” and cuddly. This does not mean she should be delicate like tissue paper; no, a woman should be reasonably strong, and the normal duties of life will make her that way. This is what we learn from the Proverbs 31 woman. However, if you look at pictures of female athletes who play sports or observe them on the playing fields, you will notice that many develop strong, muscular bodies. Female athletes also sneer, wince, push, and fight just like the men. I notice these things all the time in pictures in our hometown newspaper. The sneers are most obvious; they make young women very unfeminine. The masculine uniforms and sweaty bodies aren’t very attractive, either.
To be 'Biblically feminine,' our women need to be healthy and fit or perhaps a little soft and cuddly (please, no fatties). And certainly not strong and muscular. That's excessively healthy and fit. If the wife can beat you at arm wrestling, you are obviously feminized and unworthy of the parts God created you with. No, hold on, it's not your fault, it's theirs. Whew, dodged a bullet. Oh, and wives just need to be hot. Not a sweaty kind of hot, but a wispy-but-soft swimsuit issue kind of hot. No strained faces, please. No, I see you. Knock it off.

Okay, that's enough of that. What we have here, quite plainly, is sexism and fear of stronger women posing as Biblical mandate. No, it's just what the Bible says, right? Sure, the Bible is chock full of verses detailing how women need to be the best arm candy they can be (dependent on their husband's tastes in body type), should never pursue their own interests (which may include joining the lacrosse team), need to be physically weaker than men so men don't get shown up (yeah, that's in the article too), and without exception should never sneer (even when their husbands write asinine articles like this one).

Related post: Top 10 Reasons Why Men Shouldn't Be Ordained


Unknown said...

Wow. That is really depressing. Thanks for quoting so I didn't have to give the article more traffic. Excuse me now while I return to my normal duties of life.

will smama said...

oi. I was going to go over and rant about the statistics that show the difference athletics make in young girls' lives (higher graduation rates, lower drug and pregnancy rates, etc...) but Songbird has the saner strategy.

Stunning that this is out there though and worse yet, the guy probably has all daughters.

Anonymous said...

Ok...think of the "biblical times." I can't imagine many of them were "attractive" in today's sense. Larger women were considered "attractive," and I'm sure many were quite I can't imagine the argument of women being more attractive if they AREN'T muscular holding much water...

annie said...

very entertaining post. i loved your commentary!

hip2b said...

Now if I could only wipe this sneer off my face...

Scott said...

Well, apart from your immediate discarding of the baby with the bath water, I hope that you at least see some truth in the article, and I wish you would have taken the opportunity to exhort your readers in biblical roles of men and women. I would not go so far as to say that women can play no sports. However, I would go so far as to say that there are certain biblical traits that are commended to men, and there are others commended to women. I would not allow my daughter to participate in a mock "army battle" with boys in the neighborhood, for example, whereas God has called women to be the givers of life and not takers. He has called men to be warriors, protectors, etc. I trust you can immediately think of biblical passages that support my comments. I will save the blog space by not posting all of them.

Jeff Nelson said...

Actually, Scott, the Bible is pretty slim as far as the "givers of life, not takers" line goes. In fact, I can't find it anywhere.

But we're looking for examples and implications, aren't we? Okay, sure. It's fine that you "saved me some blog space" by not listing yours. But for every passage you quote, there are women like these:

Rebekah - helped Jacob trick Isaac; Jacob, of course, eventually fathered the 12 tribes. Definitely not the quiet, subservient type.

Deborah - a woman called to be one of God's judges. In other words, a leader and a WARRIOR.

Rahab - the prostitute who protects the Israelite spies. Not really a leader, but certainly a protector.

Tamar - a strong-willed woman who tricks her father-in-law after he refuses to fulfill his obligation to her. Later listed in Jesus' genealogy.

Jael - drove a tent peg through Sisera's skull to aid the Israelites and commended for doing so. Certainly a "taker of life" rather than a giver.

Phoebe - listed by Paul as a deacon (also translated "minister") in Romans; commended for her role

Junia - listed by Paul as an apostle in that same chapter; also commended.

The Bible is not without strong women taking initiative and/or in leadership positions. They are women who face commendation rather than ridicule for these actions by God or by others called to serve God. So this idea of categorical "Biblically feminine character" could use some revisiting.

Unknown said...

That is a COMPLETELY ridiculous claim! I hope you never get a girlfriend, because your disrespect towards women shows you obviously don't have one!!!!

Jeff Nelson said...

If you're talking to me, Belle, you need to work on your reading comprehension. This entry is a sarcastic critique, so unless my "ridiculous claim" is that women CAN and SHOULD play sports despite what a few think the Bible says on the matter, you've barked up the wrong tree on this one.

Next time actually read the entry.

Anonymous said...

just cause you never played a sport don't be hat in'

mithu said...

I loved your commentary! I snorted with laughter at the sarcasm and sneered at whoever wrote this asinine article. More crazies like these (and fanatic enforcers to see these ideas through) and we just may have something akin to a Christian Taliban in the U.S. Scary.
Going back to your surprise at how many people search for "this question," I searched for it because I wanted to find what kind of male chauvinistic articles there were on the subject and, also how many women actually agreed with this particular stance.

Softballover said...

Alright people listen up. I'm a girl who loves what I do, but i'm also a christian. I think that girls should play sports. We shouldn't have to depend on men to do everything. Plus we have a right to show men up if they aren't string enough or think that " oh she's a girl she can't beat me at an arm wrestling game " think again buddy. I play softball so that means I have to be strong and I have to do whats necessary to get the out. That can mean I shove and push and be mean but that doesn't mean I can't be feminine. So that's all I have to say.