I’ve been digesting this over tea for a few weeks. And I do not adhere to this point of view. I mean my sister played Shot put at the state level in Varanasi (or somewhere in UP) during school. I did my first hike of 3888 meters as a baby and then just watched TV (~Oscar Wilde, but you get the point, right?). A lot of my girl friends run, hike and one is addicted to the gym. I even watched the Moto GP this weekend (~only Spanish boys race Hondas). So, I do not think women think of ‘speed’ as something that is alienating them as a consumer group.
Video via YouTube: Why do women’s sports get less attention?
But there is enough truth in the fact that women have traditionally (and even now) not been seen as speedsters. There’s also a strong issue with lack of comparative incentives: I do not know if it has now changed- but from what I do recall, major sporting events like Wimbledon would pay women champions less than men. If I think of India, many girls are married off early, have kids early and sports are not seen as a mainstream career. Look at the importance our Men’s cricket team gets versus the women. We even make movies on these sporty dramas.
If I look further into folklore (which I generally know only from the state I belong to), strange thoughts are not uncommon. Grandmother often said how gindun ta drakun (playing) was limited to young girls and after they grew up they should behave more lady-like (which means not playing). I even asked Arshia Malik (she’s played Basketball at the National Level and lives in Srinagar). She confirmed that girls are not encouraged to play sport after college. There’s this widespread superstition that if girls play during their periods, they will have difficulties in childbirth ( I wish I knew who thought of it, but it doesn’t seem far from the cleric recently who thought women drivers from Saudi Arabia would get diseases if they drove cars).
I am not in denial. I know these things exist. But for a German girl to think (in the developed world) of the stereotypical notion of women not relating to speed scared me. If girls with opportunities and the ability to create a difference fall into this image trap, then how can we imagine it to change?
And having said that, there is no issue with women who don’t associate themselves with sports. That’s a choice. But I’d probably be careful in putting everyone under the same bracket. That just doesn’t make it any better than the men who don’t have women on boards. I mean, if the purpose of that woman is merely to fuel more stereotypes under the garb of bringing in feminine perspectives, then it doesn’t work, no?