It seems that a lasting legacy of having the Olympics in London this year is a monthly examination (every month this has been happening by the BBC into why young women/women just aren’t taking part in sport. And you know what? They never look at any of the real cultural or social reasons that drags down female participation – as far as I can tell.
Today’s ranty post was sparked off by BBC Breakfast, yet again, looking into sports participation among young women. This blog post on the sports side of the BBC website is some general tie-in content to what was being discussed on Breakfast.
Oh yes, they went on about how certain women are into sport. The Olympics talents in the country. How surveys show that girls just aren’t happy with PE, usually focusing on the secondary school years.
And they fail to mention how sport is seriously thrust upon young girls during some of the most body image conscious years of their life – that whole secondary school thing that happens to take place at the same time as the main phases of puberty. Funny how girls who feel quite uncomfortable about their bodies aren’t too keen on running about the place, leaving them open to be viewed in a less than flattering light (potentially).
Also, if something “embarrassing” happens during a PE lesson or in the changing rooms – well, it can be pretty hard to recover from.
Outside of school, when a girl has grown-up, there’s not much in the way of free sports facilities aimed at the activities that they were mainly forced to take part in during secondary school. There’s hardly any free netball, hockey or rounders pitches in this country.
But hey, free football and rugby pitches – there’s plenty of them just waiting for a few people to have a kick about.
It took until year 10 for me to begin enjoying sports at school. But the stuff that I did enjoy, the sports I mentioned above – there’s nowhere in my local area where myself and a few friends could just take a netball or some hockey sticks and a ball and let rip for free. No rounders pitches for me to play on in the summer.
Of course there’s also that whole time factor. Yes, you could create a “sporting habit” in teenage girls, but if they’re not already in a position of responsibility in their parents’ household, they’ll have their own real life problems and tasks to deal with as adults. And these problems and tasks (housework… kids… job… education) make the maintaining of a sporting habit into adult life a tad difficult. Especially with the current cost of childcare and the simple fact that a lot of men still expect women sort out housework and meals.
So yeah, BBC coverage of this issue sucks balls.