Feminism | Posted by Emily Rose on 03/27/2013

Why My High School Needs Roller Derby

Roller derby is empowering: see Whip It for reference

I go to a public high school, and have recently expressed interest to the administration in starting a school roller derby team. However, I was first met with resistance and then refusal by the authorities. The general assessment was the sport was too dangerous for the public school to allow. However, when one takes a look around, they will see that football is a high priority. How different are these two sports, really? Both are contact sports, and despite its portrayal in the media, roller derby does have rules prohibiting certain potentially dangerous moves. The biggest difference to those who have been asked is that one is played primarily by males, who are considered “tough” enough to play a contact sport, while one is played by females, who are, in the eyes of some, too fragile.

High school can be a place of stereotypes. Girls fill the rolls of cheerleaders and dancers, while boys go off and play sports and are fawned over. While some girls don’t mind and enjoy these activities, many wish for a different outlet, and that should be provided. Roller derby is not for everyone, but we should at least be given the opportunity to participate, and if it refused to us it should be for a better reason than the false opinion that women are too weak to play. Schools should not be encouraging this view of women and certainly shouldn’t pass it off as logical reasoning. It is important that schools encourage girls in as many ways as possible so that we graduate with a firm sense of what we can do, of what we can accomplish.

The reasoning that I was provided with, that girls should not be allowed to play such a potentially violent sport, is exactly why schools need sports like roller derby. We should not accept or blindly follow the double standards that are forced on us. Sports like roller derby prove to girls that we can do anything. They connect women who want to feel strong and powerful, who refuse to succumb to the pressures to stay on the sidelines like they are expected to. Roller derby is a symbol of women’s empowerment which is something that most high schools could use a good dose of.

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