The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Inspirational Girls: Sam Gordon

Sam Gordon (Courtesy of Brent Gordon)

Samantha Gordon is a breakthrough for American football; her recent stats of 1,911 yards on 8.2 yards per carry and 35 touchdowns in her youth football league are pretty impressive. She brings new hope to girls playing football everywhere, not only as a representative of female football, but also because she  plays alongside all-male teams, despite weighing only 60 pounds at nine years of age. Likened to running back Walter Payton, she has achieved the status of the only girl to play in a (mostly) all-boys tackle football league in the Salt Lake City area. Sam Gordon is a great inspiration to girls everywhere who want to play a sport that is not traditionally seen as female, and to excel doing what they love. Sam has received much media attention and fame for her impressive abilities as a football player, and has appeared on Good Morning America, the NFL Network, and is also the first female football player to appear on a Wheaties cereal box, due to her strong personality.

Football is traditionally seen as a male domain. Whilst women attend football matches, they remain excluded from football communities. Girls often have to fight off the stigma that surrounds women and football, as well as the fact that they can understand football, as it is often considered to be a man's sport. Yet women have been playing football for many years, though this may remain hidden from the public eye. The film Bend it like Beckham brought the issue of whether or not girls can play soccer into the entertainment sphere. An athletic career for women, specifically in traditionally male-dominated sports such as soccer and football, is significantly more difficult to obtain than it is for men.

Sam Gordon has begun to change these attitudes about women in football. It is more difficult for women than men to try out for football, due to gender stereotypes. This stems from belief that men are genetically apt at playing football, whilst women are not. Furthermore, girls who are playing football are not gaining the recognition that they should be. These ingrained beliefs in society stop women from trying out for pro football, and only in 2011 did the NFL allow women to play. Though she's got a few years to go, perhaps Sam Gordon will play in the NFL someday.

-Ayesha Khalid
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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