On The Issues Magazine is taking feminism outside! We’ve just launched our Spring 2012 edition – Level the Playing Field: Girls, Women and Sports. In light of two major upcoming events this summer – the 40th anniversary of Title IX coming up on June 23, and the Summer Olympics, which will begin on July 27th – this issue explores the many complex ways in which woman athletes are perceived and treated, the ways they relate to one another, the history of the laws that allow them to follow their dreams, and more.
Risa Isard kicks things off with Opening Historic Trails: Accidental Heroes Stomp Sports Inequity, a history of Title IX’s beginnings. Inspired by the challenges of her own workouts running uphill in the hot sun, Isard’s research led her to discover people who quietly started the movement for educational equality. Rachel Toor writes about the subsequent importance of Title IX in Nine Titles Thinking About Title IX, a lyrical and creative analysis of the many purposes Title IX serves in the lives of women. Marie Hardin takes a close look at the effect of Title IX on sports journalists in Winning the Sports Beat: Female Writers Need Wide Angle Lens, and identifies a problematic revolving door pattern that keeps women at 1/10 of the sports journalism work force.
Looking at women in sports from the outside in illuminates the many different ways their bodies are codified by mainstream culture — and the debates they cause. Laura Pappano, in Athletes and Magazine Spreads: Does Sexy Mean Selling Out? writes about the contradicting messages female athletes receive when it comes to their sex appeal. Lindsay Parks Pieper takes gender a step further with Rules Put Extreme Pressure On Transsexual Players, which discusses how athletic institutions seek to confine gender to the most basic binary of male and female.
Several other writers take a look at objections to Title IX, which policy analyst Martha Burk says are rooted in patriarchal privilege and padded with falsehoods in Who Owns Sports? Dissecting the Politics of Title IX. And Alex Channon takes a look at sex segregation, positing that integrating sports would be a transformative challenge to society’s gender hierarchy in Why Sex Segregation Is Bad for Society.
Finally, many of our writers are also athletes. Christine Stark writes about how her love of soccer gave her the strength to survive sexual abuse in Becoming Glory: Kicking Goals to Transcend the Night, A Memoir. Zerlina Maxwell portrays her childhood plan to become the next Dominique Dawes, a gymnastics gold medal winner, and how it has grown up into an appreciation for women competitors in My Olympic Dream and Watching New Gymnastic Generations.
We want to hear what you think about the ideas in the magazine. Please contribute your thoughts to our comments section at the end of every story and Café piece, or write a letter to the editor.
And we hope you’ll share this rich repository of material with your friends and colleagues — find us on Facebook and Twitter! We’re using the hashtag #levelthefield for this issue, so add it to your tweets to jump in the conversation.
Thanks for reading!