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I have a couple of new heroes - Not that it matters but most of what follows is true — LiveJournal
I have a couple of new heroes
I feel horribly ignorant, but I must admit that it never even occurred to me that there was a time when women couldn't run.  I mean, it sounds ridiculous doesn't it?  But within my own lifetime, I've found out that women were simply not allowed to run more than 1500 metres at the Olympics.  I still can't quite wrap my head around it.  And that seriously - seriously - women were told that too much strenuous exercise and running could make their uterus fall out!


But then, thank fuck for women like Bobbi Gibb and Kathrine Switzer.  Bobbi Gibb was the first woman to run the Boston marathon, albeit unofficially because women weren't allowed. I mean, she had to hide in some bushes just to be able to start.  This is Bobbi Gibb and she's a fricking badass:


Then there's kathrine Switzer, who completed the Boston marathon in 1967, five years before women were officially allowed to enter.  Five years!  Women weren't allowed to run the fricking Boston marathon until 1972!!!!  And to do it, she had to endure being physically assaulted by people (men) who wanted her off the road:

You'd think that things would be better now, wouldn't you?  And they are.  But Paula Radcliffe still had her outstanding world record marathon time of 2:15:25 relegated to a "world's best" because she had a male pacer.  I honestly don't understand that.  She ran that time, whether the person pacing her was man, woman, child or beast.


I feel ashamed of my ignorance about all of this up to this point, but from now on whenever I go out running, I'll be so conscious that I'm doing it because I can, and because these women all had to fight for something that I just took for granted.
12 comments or Leave a comment
miwahni From: miwahni Date: 15th December 2013 10:30 (UTC) (Link)
We've really come a long way in only a generation or two. I grew up during the period of greatest change, when gender roles were being challenged constantly,and gradually overturned.
When I first left school I went to work in a bank, where your career followed a very definite path; you started as a junior then moved upwards as the person ahead of you was promoted. Well, when I was due to be promoted to Teller, I was leapfrogged by a younger guy who only had a years' experience in the bank. When I protested this, I was told that he was male and therefore would make a career of banking, whereas I would leave the workforce to have babies, so it only made sense to promote this guy over me.
Can you imagine the uproar if that was said to a female employee today? Still, I should have felt lucky; only ten years prior to that incident, any female employee who got married had to resign....
foreverfoxcat From: foreverfoxcat Date: 15th December 2013 18:56 (UTC) (Link)
It's unbelievable, isn't it? I honestly can't comprehend a world where women had to resign because they got married! And yet, I think we do still have a long way to go before there's anything like true equality. Thank goodness for those women who pave the way for the rest of us.
snailbones From: snailbones Date: 15th December 2013 13:17 (UTC) (Link)

... could make their uterus fall out!

Don't you hate when that happens? *rolls eyes*

Thank you - I was completely ignorant of all of it, though I must have lived through it. We have a lot of feisty ladies to be grateful to.

Edited at 2013-12-15 13:17 (UTC)

foreverfoxcat From: foreverfoxcat Date: 15th December 2013 19:01 (UTC) (Link)
We do. Who, strangely enough, all emerged from their ground breaking roles with their uterus intact. Sheesh!
constant_muse From: constant_muse Date: 15th December 2013 13:42 (UTC) (Link)
Really interesting, thank you. By not taking any interest in sport I'd never realised this either.
We've come so far, but there are people in this country today who seriously advocate gender segregated seating at public university lectures. harumph.
heliophile_oxon From: heliophile_oxon Date: 15th December 2013 14:35 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I was at the demo against the UUK guidelines last week - smallish, but good speakers! (My apologies if I've already said that on lj - I know I did elsewhere, but may well have done here too. Swiss cheese brain) And for once Cameron and Gove have been (nudged? embarrassed?) into speaking out unambiguously against this retrograde nonsense.
foreverfoxcat From: foreverfoxcat Date: 15th December 2013 19:02 (UTC) (Link)
Seriously??? Why?
heliophile_oxon From: heliophile_oxon Date: 15th December 2013 14:38 (UTC) (Link)
Hat off to those pioneers, putting up with so much appalling shit when all they wanted to do was ... do something utterly normal with their own bodies. Kind of beggars belief, doesn't it. And yet women in some countries still aren't allowed to do sport now (or get the vitamin D they need from sunshine), and suffer the resulting physical ill-health. It's staggeringly, fractally wrong.
foreverfoxcat From: foreverfoxcat Date: 15th December 2013 19:05 (UTC) (Link)
It's staggering when you actually sit down and think about it, isn't it? I find the basic concept that a woman can't have sole ownership over her own body unthinkable. And yet we still live in a world where that's not the case, in so many different ways.
hardboiledbaby From: hardboiledbaby Date: 15th December 2013 19:52 (UTC) (Link)
What the ever-loving fuck.

We really have come a long way, and yet there is still such a great divide. Thanks for sharing this.
foreverfoxcat From: foreverfoxcat Date: 15th December 2013 20:10 (UTC) (Link)
Firstly - I know, wtf, right? It's mind boggling to me to think there was a time when women were considered physiologically unable to run the same distances as men. Sheesh.

Secondly - love your icon!
From: moonlightmead Date: 15th December 2013 21:34 (UTC) (Link)
it never even occurred to me that there was a time when women couldn't run
Seriously, me neither.

I had no idea about any of this, so thank you for an enlightening run-down (no pun intended, but hey).

There was a fascinating programme on radio 4 some weeks ago about women's football in the first part of the century. It was huge and attracted crowds of tens of thousands, and the FA basically destroyed it by creating rules to stop it being played. Totally deliberately. The unbelievable bastards.

Ooh, the programme is on Listen Again: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b038hj3p and the women's football bit is the very first segment. There's a wander off into current football, and then at 7:30 we're back for a three-minute segment on the early 20th century which is fascinating.

Go you! Run! I shall cheer you on!
12 comments or Leave a comment