247NEWS: perceived as a betrayal. The sisterhood ought to exist.

247NEWS: perceived as a betrayal. The sisterhood ought to exist.

Basketball superstars Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese meet again on Monday |  MPR News

In women’s sports, hazing is perceived as a betrayal. The sisterhood ought to exist.

Women have been fighting for equality in sports for years, and it has been an arduous and demanding effort. Women who battled for equal pay included Billie Jean King, who defied gender stereotypes about strength, and the players on the U.S. women’s national soccer team. I always felt that women who play sports are a sisterhood because we know what it’s like to be marginalized, mistreated, and faced with unfairness. Therefore, why do women tolerate the bullying of rookie WNBA superstars Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese, engaging in precisely the same practices we once fought against?

My two girls, ages fourteen and twelve, are middle school basketball players. They both adore Clark and Reese very much. We just watched Clark’s Indiana Fever play against Reese’s Chicago Sky as a family. However, I switched off the game when I saw Chennedy Carter throw a shoulder check to Clark, knocking her to the ground. I could see fear and perplexity on my daughters’ faces.

It is depressing to witness seasoned WNBA players continually hazing Clark and Reese. These two ladies represent advancement in sports as well as being role models and trailblazers. I feel obligated to inquire as a woman as to why we are continuing a pattern of abuse that we have long opposed in larger society.

These outstanding young athletes should be embraced rather than shunned because of antiquated customs. Women have made enormous sacrifices to establish safe places in sports, from women registering as men to run the Boston Marathon, to Title IX, a historic federal civil rights statute passed in 1972 that forbids discrimination against women in education, including sports. However, we now see WNBA players participating in a “rite of passage” that is ingrained in the most harmful toxic macho sports traditions, including intimidation, bullying, and occasionally physical violence, rendering sports no longer safe environments. I don’t want my daughters doing sports if this is what is expected of them when they succeed. By permitting hazing to occur at the

My daughters and other young female athletes receive a bad message from WNBA refs, coaches, and spectators on a professional level: it’s okay to be mistreated and treated poorly. What occurs on the courts when the television cameras are not there, if this is what we watch during nationally televised games?

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese headline one of the most anticipated WNBA  drafts in years

I’ve spent hours watching sports analysts provide their opinions, from Stephen A. Smith to the hosts of “The View” to unidentified YouTubers. The fact that so many individuals condone hazing and even defend it as a strategy for fostering team unity astounds me. However, given that violent behavior is a reflection of the same oppressive strategies employed to marginalize women in other spheres of life, how can women defend it?

The truth is that harassing women causes more pain. It is a betrayal of everything we stand for to see this occurring in women’s sports. Even worse, the teammates of Clark and Reese are not intervening to stop it. Rather, they are ignoring it, laughing at it, or mocking. The sisterhood is where? As women, we owe it to one another to do this. Women should draw strength and togetherness from their common history of struggle and victory. The integrity and advancement of women’s sports are being harmed by hazing.

I was more interested in speech and debate than athletics at my private high school in the Twin Cities. But because my classmates liked the girls’ athletic organization, I joined it. We participated in a hazing exercise in the school gym as part of our induction. With the intention of embarrassing us, the upperclasswomen spent hours sprinkling eggs, shaving cream, honey, milk, and other materials on us. I watched as a girl was made to replicate excrement by forcing her to wear an adult diaper filled with Snickers, while pop and honey were poured into my hair. Sitting in the filthy hours in a diaper. While sobbing, another girl had several areas of her body shaved. These were horrific deeds covered up as ninth-grade girls’ customs, not practical jokes.

Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark Never Had Any Beef | POPSUGAR Fitness

Teachers and school authorities were aware of the activity, but they took no action to put a stop to it. I feel like I’m in the ninth grade again when I watch what’s going on with Clark and Reese, but this time I don’t want to be a dumped on passive participant. Instead, I want to put an end to this brutality and absurdity and utilize my expertise and empathy to create a better future for women in sports, one in which superstar rookies like Clark and Reese are not harassed by hazing. And a day when my girls’ safety won’t be a concern for me.


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