Sports That Were Feminized During the War
The two World Wars that occurred in the mid 20th century changed the landscape of the world for better or for worse, depending on your point of view. It is important to note that women had to take up a lot of jobs during the Great War because the vast majority of men were conscripted to fight on the other side of the world. The same thing happened in World War 2 where we saw women taking the reins again as their men set off for lands unknown. So again, the men were out fighting and the women were at home doing the best they could do to support the troops.
Sports were still popular during these times and it was a long-deserved time for women to become more involved in sports that were otherwise deemed “male-only”. Here is a list of sports that have evolved over the years since the “great” wars and also a bit of context as to why this should have been done sooner.
Believe it or not, cheerleading used to be a male-dominated sport, with even former United States president George W. Bush participating in the sport in his college years. Nothing could be further from the truth now as females have rightly taken over the sport with their elegance and sheer attention to detail in their performances. It began in the 18th century as a form of rebellion for the male students in college but eventually evolved into the sport we see today, mainly showcased together with basketball and American football. It came into predominance with females during World War 2 when the men were drafted overseas and the sport became open to female participation.
Baseball is a major sport in the US and it stands to reason as to why women would like to play the game as well. World War II opened the door for female players and eventually female teams to have an outlet, since most of the men were overseas fighting. The US, as with the rest of the world, struggled to have a positive vibe to keep citizens optimistic about the future. Sports filled that niche and even though it was women playing, it was all about providing hope to the people who were otherwise saddened about the then-current events of the world. Women proved to be as astute as men in the game and it was a ray of sunshine to see people passionate about the game.
Why horse racing didn’t make the cut Due to the sexism of the early to mid-1900s horse racing was always a male predominant sport and this didn’t change during the wars. The jockeys were all of a smaller stature who knew how to race and appreciate the horses but for some reason, it never occurred to anyone that maybe females, who are inherently smaller and lighter, might be a better suit to race. Sexism obviously played a part in why females were not at the forefront of horse racing but it has slowly changed over time. Anyone who has some TJ Smith Stakes tips would have appreciated a female jockey such as Michelle Payne, who won the Melbourne Cup in 2015, proving that women are equally capable of running the race. Unfortunately, female jockeys were not prevalent until decades after the Great Wars but serve as a reminder as to what could have been.