Athletic contests help define what we mean in America by "success." By keeping women from "playing with the boys" on the false assumption that they are inherently inferior, society relegates them to second-class citizens. In this forcefully argued book, Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano show in vivid detail how women have been unfairly excluded from participating in sports on an equal footing with men. Using dozens of powerful examples--girls and women breaking through in football, ice hockey, wrestling, and baseball, to name just a few--the authors show that sex differences are not sufficient to warrant exclusion in most sports, that success entails more than brute strength, and that sex segregation in sports does not simply reflect sex differences, but actively constructs and reinforces stereotypes about sex differences. For instance, women's bodies give them a physiological advantage in endurance sports, yet many Olympic events have shorter races for women than men, thereby camouflaging rather than revealing women's strengths.
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Eileen McDonagh is Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University and Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. She is the author of Breaking the Abortion Deadlock and The Motherless State.
Laura Pappano is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Good Housekeeping, and The Washington Post. She is the author of The Connection Gap and is currently a writer-in-residence at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College.
"A serious examination of the role of gender politics in sports."--The Nation
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