Stereotypes In Sport

A digital painting of my daughter in a prom dress as she plays rugby.

Progress shot 2 from Ronnie's digital painting Unnamed © 2017.

Gender parity in pay, equality, sexism, inequality, prejudice, stereotypes and feminism are just some of the terms that are making repeated appearances in the news as of late. The BBC, having just published a list of salaries for it's on-air talent, highlights pay-gap sexism. Yesterday the MP for Livingston (Hannah Bardell) made news by wearing a Scotland football top in the house of commons to support the ladies team. In a later interview with Sky News she mentioned the difference between the earnings of footballers Steph Houghton and Wayne Rooney and she highlighted the need for more opportunities for women in sport. We heard news this week that Doctor Who is going to played by a lady for the first time. As you can see, sexism and equality are getting a lot of coverage.

Our youngest daughter is only 8, but she notices (and often highlights to us) when things have not been made with her, or girls generally, in mind. Last week her brother asked if she wanted to play his computer game with him. Her answer was delivered in quesion form. "Are there any girl characters?" The answer was no. She had no intention of playing the game and not because of the gameplay, graphics or storyline being subpar, but because the game was not made for girls. I think she has a fair point, why should boys get to play all the heroes?

Our eldest daughter has recently started playing rugby and she has already been subjected to comments like "That's not for women" and "She's too girly to play rugby." Clearly some people don't think the two things, rugby and femininity, should coexist. I encourage my kids, two girls and one boy, to do what they like and their mum and I like to show them that we support them. So this week I am doing a special original piece of art and the above image is the second progress shot from it's creation. The artwork shows our eldest daughter wearing her high school senior prom dress and playing rugby at the same time. In the artwork I challenge those stereotypes and preconceptions. I say "That is for women" and "She can be girly and still play the sport if she wishes to."

Once I have finished creating the artwork I'll add it to a poster. I will use the poster to help promote the Livingston ladies rugby team. They're looking for new players of all shapes, sizes, ages and capabilities. If you're local to Livingston why not give it a go. You too can be girly (or not) AND play rugby. The art work needs a name though, help me name it and you could win a free A3 sized print of the finished artwork. Comments cannot be left here but if you would like to comment on what has been mentioned or name the artwork please do so on one of my social media pages. See links at the bottom right of this page.