I played rugby at U.Va. from 2006-2009. I played because I wanted to learn something new. Because it is uniquely exhilarating to throw your whole body at a person or a ball or the try line. Because my teammates were some of the funniest and most inspiring people I have ever known.
Fritz Metzinger’s Sept. 16 article, “Worth a Try,” suffers from an excess of assumption and a dearth of nuance. While the article purports to “explore women’s rugby in the context of sexuality and gender-related issues,” its stereotyped framework for discussing rugby does little to dig into the issue — if there is one. By presenting the women who play rugby as being masculinized, rather than illustrating the failure of the “feminine” trope to capture the fullness of female attitudes and abilities, the author buys into a faulty gender dichotomy. His chosen angle on women’s rugby does “implicitly label women’s rugby as abnormal behavior,” as he suggests “could” happen.
It is certainly possible to explore gender roles in the context of rugby or other sports, though I would like to point out that none of the stereotypes the author alludes to has anything to do with “sexuality” or “gender identity.” This article does, however, adopt an outdated and un-nuanced perspective on femininity without justifying where that perspective is coming from. It fails to explore why rugby, as opposed to other, also physical sports, presents a gender conundrum. It fails to identify anyone — except, apparently, the author — who believes that playing rugby “qualifies as peculiar female behavior.” Musselman flat out says that these issues aren’t even a part of the team’s discourse (something I can vouch for from my own time on the team).
So what’s the story here?
CLAS ’09, Law ‘14_