Perhaps the reason I love figure skating above all other sports is that it is one of two sports (the other being gymnastics) in which women’s contributions are highly valued. I am writing from the U.S., where the most popular sports involve (ostensibly) heterosexual men committing violence on each other.
I am a feminist, a male, and a professor of Women’s Studies and Philosophy. I also love, more than any of the other disciplines, LADIES figure skating. My question is: why the heck is it called “Ladies” figure skating? I’m sure there is a historical explanation. But I am looking for a JUSTIFICATION of why the discipline continues to have this name.
Here’s one "post-hoc" explanation: Nowadays, the top female figure skaters are not actually “women,” in the sense of being ADULT female human beings. But that is post-hoc (thus insufficient) because that has only recently been the case, perhaps since Michelle and Tara. (Whereas top male skater have actually been, more-or-less, “men”—over 18 years old.)
But I don’t think that’s *actually” the explanation of why the relevant discipline is called “ladies.” Obviously, it’s nothing more than the gender conservatism of our sport.
For example, I think it’s no coincidence that the women who’ve been capable of the triple axel, have, generally, been judged to be less “artistic.” Seriously, how does one explain how Jill Trenary beat Midori Ito for the World Championship that one year? (Well, except for the racism of our sport at the time, which is not gone yet. But the consistent under-marking of Mae Berenice Meite is another post...)
How does one explain how Mao Asada’s PC’s have gone up in the past couple GP events (this year) where she DIDN’T attempt the 3A?? (She’s been kicking *** in PCs ever since she stopped trying the 3A.)
Here’s calling for a movement to change the name of the discipline. Are you with me?
OCCUPY THE RINK??? ☺
Best wishes, Pepe