Women Athletes of the 1920s Essay

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The 1920s was a time for many new opportunities for women in America, including participating in sports and becoming athletes.
Prior to the Roaring Twenties, only upper-class women had participated in sports. These wealthy women had joined sports clubs, social clubs, and country clubs. They engaged in sports at institutions, as well as playing sports while vacationing in Europe (Women’s Sports Foundation, 2/21/2011). An example of a woman like this would be Jordan Baker, a character from the novel The Great Gatsby. Jordan is a competitive golfer in the novel. Baker comes from the wealthy, upper-class, and is ‘old money’.
Consumerism of the 1920s caused the amount of clubs and sports teams for women to multiply. This materialistic
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Officials tried to emphasize the social side of play days by encouraging breaks in play for reading and refreshments. Sport days were developed to satisfy the desire of students to compete. These sport days permitted teams to represent their schools and compete against other institutions. To make sure the games did not become too competitive, officials modified the rules. The games were shortened and less challenging. Sports days became the most popular form of competition for women promoted by physical educators (Woolum, 1992).
There was opposition to women participating in sports in the 1920s. It was believed that women could not handle the stress of the competition of playing sports. A very popular stereotype of the time was that women were too fragile to play strenuous sports. Some people believed that competitive sports did not promote feminine values, and participation in sports made a woman less-feminine. However, “by the 1920s a certain degree of athleticism and competence at sports was considered desirable, even necessary, for young American women” (Wukovits, 200, p. 180). Warnings were made about athletic competition harming female participants, both physically and psychologically. These warnings had to be accepted by those who controlled sports for females of all ages. Women also

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