Sunday, March 1, 2015
Are softball pants about preventing injury or keeping professionalism?
Now a day’s people passing by softball games, tournaments, and practices will more than likely see every player on the field wearing pants instead of shorts. Just a few years ago pants became a trending thing in softball and it has stuck ever since. Softball players these days probably wouldn’t know what to do if they had to wear shorts and play a game of softball. Many people have wondered if the pants that are worn today to help with preventing injuries from sliding and diving or is it to present a statement in the sense of professionalism?
Many coaches and even players prefer to wear pants to prevent the injuries that shorts cannot prevent because pants cover the player’s legs much more than shorts do. Many coaches and teams prefer pants because it removes the fear of sliding and getting injured, but shorts are still very popular, from little league to college. “The result from the research in Sports Cultures shows how pictures of athletes are rated better if the athlete is wearing a uniform. The article explains how uniforms add a “dimension of professionalism, team spirit, coordination, natural ability, and muscular strength.”1 Does the variation in a female softball player’s uniform reinforce the society’s consistent sexualization and objectification of the female body? In the early 1900s women were gaining new freedoms and breaking away from the stereotypical womanly roles that were expected of them: the mother and the homemaker. World War II opened up several doors that kept women out, and women were welcomed into the factories and onto the playing field. Sports cultures states that, “The attempt to feminize softball determined the uniforms, which began to take the shape of costumes, short skirts, and even shorter shorts”. While very attractive, the skirts accomplished nothing in terms of practical uses. The uniforms did nothing to protect the legs of women sliding and diving into home. The uniforms might have looked good, but they were obviously made with alternative motives other than practicality. The impracticality of the uniforms made it very clear that the owners of the team were trying to gain an audience where the women are the spectacle and not the sport.”2
“Female athletes have made great strides in sports participation, yet they are still being limited because sports are still masculine dominated. However, there is a common misconception that sports are solely for men, the emphasis on physical appearance causes female athletes to overcompensate for her femininity while competing in an athletic realm. Revealing female uniforms have been a successful way of attracting audiences, sponsors, and media attention, but are gaining visibility based on sexualizing woman. In order to move towards a more equal playing field, we need to start thinking more critically about the practice and its implications of how uniforms affect women based on their practicality and function versus the visual appeal.”2
1Shorts vs. Pants. (2014, February 28). Retrieved February 28, 2015, from https://sportcultures.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/shorts-vs-pants/2Softball Pants: Proper, Practical, and Professional. (2014, March 21). Retrieved February 28, 2015, from https://sportcultures.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/softball-pants-proper-practical-and-professional/