UConn Women’s Basketball and the Scary Message for Women

Well, if there is one thing I do frequently with this blog, it is write about women’s college basketball πŸ™‚
Of course, I have never touched this subject in this blog.

But something about UConn Women’s basketball was pulling in the back of my mind as I was doing some art.

In case you are unaware, UConn Women’s basketball is at the TOP of the game. They are on an unprecedented run of success, success to the point that one sports reporter questioned whether they are “killing women’s game”- they are THAT DOMINATE.

Of course, sports, or should I say sports played by males, have a VERY LONG history of heaping applause and accolades on those who may be considered dominate in their respective sport at one time or another- Michael Jordan comes to mind and of course, so does Tiger Woods.

I seem to remember everyone thanking Tiger for all that he had done for the game of golf when he was winning tournament after tournament.

So, what is it about women that has us thinking something quite differently?

I really don’t know.

Women can be great, but do they have to be great in “just the right way”?Β  Are women tied to some Goldilocks version of greatness? Not too big, not too small, but “just right”.

What worries me profoundly is the message (that still exists in this time in history!) to women
to

“Be good, but do NOT be too great.”

Be good enough to win, but not too good that you annihilate other opponents (even if the opponents are other women).

Being great, if you are a woman, only puts a target on your back.

Women who are performing at a great level are still seen as failing on a larger level by some. Greatness by a women implies she is a threat – she is “killing the game”. Greatness by a man is celebrated.

Be like Mike? Hmmmmm… that seems to be celebrating someone’s dominance to me (and Mike, being male, obviously did “greatness” in the right (male-approved) manner).

Be like Mike? I don’t think so.

Be like UConn. Just be great.

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13 thoughts on “UConn Women’s Basketball and the Scary Message for Women

  1. I hear you! What a complex tangle of culture, perceptions, and relationships between men and women.

    One problem is that this is true of love, of relationships with other people, of raising children, “Be good enough to win, but not too good that you annihilate other opponents.”

    Women are often called to be in the precarious position of being just dominant enough to set some boundaries, to be strong and firm, but not so dominant that we completely annihilate everyone else, the men we love, the children in our lives. Flash forward to sports however, the goal is to completely devastate your opponents, something that runs counter to what is expected of women, something that tends to make people a bit nervous, uncomfortable.

    I’m laughing here, but I remember one of my daughters playing basketball with a boy and she was very good and he had not yet had his growth spurt, and my having to explain to her that if she really liked him, she was going to have to let him win once in a while. She would completely crush this little guy and while that is fun in a sporting contest, he was crestfallen, he had a desire to impress her and she was forever shooting him down, she wouldn’t give him an inch. Well than he finally stopped wanting to play with her and she was depressed. Girls are amazing and strong, but one of our other valuable qualities is letting others win, not on the basketball court, but in life in general. I think that is what lurks at the root of some of this discomfort, that’s a good thing in the world we don’t want to see women lose that skill.

    • I love the point about women being strong enough to set some boundaries, but not being too strong as so to dominate. And, I agree with you- when people see truly dominate women- they get nervous and uncertain. I like your ending as well, I think the world likes the idea that women will “let others win”. I am not sure that is the best thing for women, though.

  2. We’re taught to consider the other person even when it’s clear the other person didn’t work as hard as we did to accomplish the goals and dreams we’re accomplishing and reaching. I say it’s time to end the insanity of putting other people’s feelings first and keep driving forward into our full potential. Yes, be like UConn. Make no apologies for being committed, dedicated, passionate, and fucking great!!! Thank you, Kimberly!!

    • OH, this is a great point, Paula…about the other person not working as hard. I love the idea about simply striving to our greatest potential- I feel that is what UConn is doing!! πŸ™‚ I hope you are doing great, Paula.

  3. I think they were talking about the recruitment process, not the female gender. When all the top HS players across the United States are recruited to one team, it kind of makes the game one-sided. It’s different with men’s college sports because there are so many players at the top of their game, and pro sports has salary caps. Take women’s softball for instance, there are so many young HS girls that are great players, that one college team couldn’t recruit them all. This topic can be argued and debated, but the question wasn’t curtailed to be about a women not being great.

    • I am not so sure about that. The quote may have been alluding to something else, but I, as a woman, saw again that women’s success was not simply being celebrated, and I have a problem with that. No one seems to mind in college football the inequity of recruitment by the best teams.

      • The key word is, “teams.” There’s dozens of them. However, UConn has dominated women’s basketball for over decade. They don’t just win, they blow all other teams away. It’s like the Dream Team of the Olympics from NBA basketball a decade back. The rest of the world had no chance whatsoever. They blew teams out by 50 points and more. Call them sore losers, but I really don’t believe they were alluding to any inequity of the female gender.

      • …that is because you are male πŸ™‚ I hope you know I am just kidding. πŸ™‚
        I understand what you are saying about the Dream Team, etc. (although, again, I don’t think anyone accused them or their recruitment as “killing the game”) I am trying to convey the message women may pick up from this situation- recruitment, team dynamics or what not – A dominating women’s team was called out. I don’t see that every happening with any men’s teams.

      • Lol Kimberly. I really can’t think of any men’s teams that have slaughtered the competition year after year (college or pro) so there’s nothing in comparison. But I understand the message that could be heard. Love to you. ❀

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