It’s why Sepp Blatter, then the president of FIFA, instructed in 2004 that girls soccer gamers ought to put on “tighter shorts” and why there was a transient second in 2011 when the AIBA, the boxing affiliation, instructed that feminine boxers compete in … skirts.
Though each of these concepts have been rejected pretty rapidly, it’s nonetheless true, Ms. Fleshman wrote, that “uniform guidelines mandating exposed skin and ‘formfitting’ silhouettes for only one gender have been coded into rule books across many sports. In others they have been internalized as symbols of professionalism by the women themselves.” If you develop up watching champions in buns (or “runderwear”), you suppose champions put on buns. If you watch winners in attire, you suppose winners put on attire.
“It’s called ‘the athletic-feminine identity paradox,’” Ms. Howard mentioned.
And it exists, Ms. Fleshman mentioned, “until someone asks to change it.” Until somebody says, successfully, “Wait — why are we doing it this way?”
Wait. Why Are We Doing It This Way?
Wait, why are athletes sporting white shorts and questioning if spectators can inform they’re menstruating as a substitute of specializing in doing their job? Wait, why do subject hockey gamers follow in shorts and compete in skorts (and, for that matter, put on low-cut compression tops that showcase their cleavage each time they bend over)? Wait, why do males run in shorts and play volleyball in shorts and girls do it in tiny bottoms that make them fear about cellulite and bulges and exhibiting their stomachs? Wait, why are the armholes of basketball jerseys so monumental that they act like home windows to the sports activities bra? Wait, why is the default garment the smallest garment as opposed to the most impartial garment?
Clothes are to a sure extent a type of encoded messaging between head and physique. Put merely, they make you are feeling a sure method about your self, and that influences the way you act and carry out. Or so discovered Hajo Adam, an organizational psychologist at the University of Bath in England, and Adam D. Galinsky of their 2012 paper, “Enclothed Cognition,” which checked out the impact white lab coats have on the wearers. Essentially, folks in lab coats behaved extra like docs and paid extra consideration — as a result of they dressed like docs, which made them really feel extra like docs.
The identical impact is true for athletes. Just as garments, the most intimate of instruments, could make you carry out higher, they’ll have the reverse impact. Ms. Howard started learning the relationship between sports activities uniforms and the charge of women dropping out of sports activities as a part of her undergraduate dissertation at Durham University, and earlier this yr revealed her findings in a report entitled “Practical, Professional or Patriarchal?” which included the startling knowledge level that 70 % of women who dropped out of sports activities dropped out due to uniform and physique picture considerations. She known as it her “aha” second.