The other day I ran into a feminist blog that was anti-roller-derby, it was arguing that the way roller-derby girls dress was buying into the sexist exploitation of the female body. It drew parallels between cheerleading and Jell-O-wrestling… She did acknowledge the sisterhood within derby, that it is in many cases female run and women empowering, but then she had to go on and complain about the clothing. Why couldn’t roller-derby just be played in regular clothes? And this little rant is my thoughts and response to that blog:
It always amazes me why feminism has to attack things that they truly can own. I have been a feminist since I was born; I had screaming fights with my father as a teenager, when he tried to say a woman couldn’t do something because she’s a woman. I have been arrested for throwing stink bombs into porn-shops and I have arranged “take the night back” rallies. I make a point of telling my younger sisters that they can be anything that they want to be, anything they desire, and anything they wish. Even if it happens to be a plumber, doctor, fairytale princess or a wrestler.
Me for my part wish to wear short skirts, skate really fast, hit hard and play on a team with other wonderful women. I don’t expect anyone to wear fishnets if they don’t want to, I like it, and it’s like dress up for me. I'm like a six year old that gets to wear anything out of my mother’s closet. I can go out on the court and be my little fairytale giant berserk me. I like to wear snug clothes, they just happen to be easier to skate in. I don’t know what those feminists think we should come out and skate in, a burkha? Women in roller-derby come in all different sizes and shapes and they can all become valuable players. We go out there, skate and have a really good time, we hit each other, just to drink a beer or a soda afterwards, it can be a little sour, no one likes to loose, but in the long run, roller-derby brings women together rather than tear apart. I have made more friends those past 4 month doing roller-derby than I made during my 4 years in collage, and by friends I mean people I can talk to and that will listen. That will hug me when I need a hug and that will push me harder when I need to get pushed.
I am 29 years old, I know that most of the standards of society of today is normalized by men, I know that I will always have to fight a little harder than my male counterpart to do the same thing. I know that my short skirt might turn some dirty man on, but should I be ashamed of what I wear? There are dirty old men getting turned on by children, I rather say there is something wrong in the head of the dirty old man than in my choice of clothes. Should I be ashamed of being a woman? Should I have to act and dress in certain ways because it would be more feminists, I am sorry, I am proud to be a woman. I love other women, I find them attractive in short skirts does that make me sexist. I love being a woman, and I have no desire to change that. I love being a roller-derby girl, when I got picked on a team I almost started to cry. If I want to go out and skate in a thong or in a pair of board shorts, I will do it. There is no woman required to wear a short skirt or hot pants to skate on any of the Jet City teams, we all got to choose ourselves. People don’t come watch roller-derby because we wear short skirts, it might be the initial reason for some to come around, but most people stay around to watch the team play, the hitting, the extraordinary jammers, the excitement of two jammers taking each other out.
Roller-derby strengthened my self-esteem and I have heard so many other girls say the same. So if your girlfriend might not seem be the same after she joined a roller-derby league, she probably isn’t. All of a sudden she has a thousand sisters allover the US, even the world, to support, to talk and share with. Roller-derby is everything but sexist, I wear my short skirt with pride, and I am planning on keep doing it!
I hear males within derby saying, that there will be drama within derby because it’s so many women coming together at one place. Please women speak up for yourself, we are the ones that can own and run this, let us show those guys that a bunch of women getting together does not mean drama… and by the way… with a lot of men coming together at the same place tend to create war… at least drama doesn’t kill…
By the way mad props to all the males within derby, you guys that come out and help, you guys that ref, score keep, coach, set up, tear down, mascot, cheer us on and are just amazingly supportive!
I wrote all this on a flight between Amsterdam and Stockholm, going home to Sweden for a bit, I guess flights makes me really contemplative. And by the way, this is all my personal opinions and you are allowed to disagree, but please don’t disrespect!