Planet Sport. Sport and feminism: when voices are raised


Stéphanie Frappart imposed herself in professional football by becoming the first female referee in Ligue 2 then in Ligue 1. (PHILIPPE RENAULT / MAXPPP)

Planète Sport, the summer meeting that explores subjects on the border between sport and politics, meets women who are advancing in a world steeped in virility, shaped by an often macho vision. A universe also marred by many scandals of sexual harassment. Do top-level sportswomen evolve in a world that suits them? Do they have the opportunity to be heard? The scandal Me Too and the recent sports policies implemented give, in any case, the impression of having relaunched the feminist fight in the world of sport.

It was a few weeks ago, world tennis, not escaping the rules of confinement, found itself totally frozen by the health crisis. A call for donations is launched by Novak Djokovic to help the most precarious players. But one of the top men on the men’s circuit, Dominique Thiem, refuses to contribute. Ines Ibbou, 615th in the WTA ranking, is responsible for calling him to order.

On May 9, 2020, the Algerian player records a ten-minute message. The voice is calm, the speech firm. She reminds Thiem how unequal the world of tennis is: “You know, in a country like mine, it’s not easy for a woman to be an athlete …”

A spontaneous speech that the sports sociologist Béatrice Barbusse could liken to a form of feminism in action. “There is nothing formalized or organized, but more and more frequently, sportswomen raise their voice ”, she analyzes.

The first woman in France to have led a professional male team, Béatrice Barbusse is well placed to discuss feminist projects in sport: harassment, governance, salaries, and the central question of how we look at sportswomen and their bodies. .

“All the hypersexualization that there can be in athletic performance or in athleticism, everything that is aesthetic, that’s what bothers me and what annoys me. We put more emphasis on the sides than on the sporting aspect, says the former hanball player. The question of the body is fundamental and in sport, we are at the heart of the feminist problem … “

How do you dress this body? How should he move? Does he have to be muscular? Do we have the choice to dress as we want when we are sporty? Not all the time, we sometimes impose the skirt for example.

Beatrice Barbusse

to franceinfo

“A girl who is too muscular is likely to be called a boy lack, continues the sociologist. These are questions that men do not ask themselves. On the contrary, they can afford to showcase their muscles, it is a proof of virility. “

Manhood still sanctuarized today in certain sports. “Japanese tradition prohibits us from entering the Dohyo”, testifies Japanese sumo champion Hiyori Kon. She fights for the creation of a professional female status in her sport. “If we sumo wrestlers can make our voices heard, then I hope more and more people will help us redress this inequality in our sport.” A documentary, Little Miss Sumo, is dedicated to him on Netflix.

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