We Should be Proud to be ‘Crazy’ Women in Sport

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“Women should be allowed to be as competitive as men and should not be ridiculed for it. Competition is not an inherently male interest, it is human nature.”

Words by Amy Gibson

Image by Felice Trinidad

I think by now most people have seen the recent ‘Dream Crazier’ Nike advert which premiered back in February. In my opinion, it’s the best thing since cheesy chips. Finally one of the biggest sports outlets in the world has highlighted the numerous barriers still faced by female athletes today. The campaign discusses misconceptions and tackles them head on to show that women should be proud to be competitive in their field. Nike have absolutely hit the nail on the head. As a woman who plays sport, I am glad that a company as big as Nike are increasing the exposure of still-prominent inequalities.

There’s a common misconception that women are not as competitive as men and therefore a lot of female sporting competitions are not regarded as highly as men’s. Being competitive is seen as a ‘manly’ thing. Getting sweaty, passionate and angry are all stereotypical images associated with a man, and when women respond in the same way in sport they are seen as overreacting or as acting ‘too masculine’. Women are told by our society that we are supposed to be demure and composed and sport stereotypes do not allow for that.

Serena Williams, the Nike adverts narrator, has famously been ridiculed on more than one occasion for her temper and competitive nature and yet she is also one of America’s greatest ever sportspeople, coincidence? Definitely not. Results take passion and passion manifests itself in ways that can be misunderstood as aggression.

“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, delusional. When we stand for something, we’re unhinged. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational or just being crazy.”
— Serena Williams, Nike

Women should be allowed to be as competitive as men and should not be ridiculed for it. Competition is not an inherently male interest, it is human nature. We all want to excel in an area, whether it be sport or another field, and if someone (our competitor) is in the way of that success then it’s perfectly understandable that we might get annoyed sometimes. It’s a way of expressing our need to succeed, and that is not exclusively reserved for men. Nor is the idea of this need being crowned as ‘competitiveness’ for men and ‘dramatics’ for women.

I, for one, am proud to be apart of an all-female sports team. I train and play alongside 15-20 other strong, talented and independent women. We range from 15 to 65, students to retirees, tomboys to girly girls and yet I have never felt apart of such a cohesive, empowering, like-minded body of women. We aren’t amazing, but like all sports teams, we have a shared interest and want to support our team mates to achieve the best in something we are all passionate about. My team have shown me friendship and support like no other, and if that, combined with competitiveness and passion, makes us all a little bit crazy, then sign me up!