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TAKING THE

Volume 52 - Issue 21 March 20, 2019 theeyeopener.com @theeyeopener Since 1967

FIELD

CELEBRATING SPORTS, CHAMPIONING WOMEN


PHOTO: ALANNA RIZZA
2

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NEWS 3

What will the new RSU team do in their first month?


ident operations’ responsibility to ing students on the importance of a ing with Equity Service Centre co-
update the budget spreadsheet. students’ union [and seeing] where ordinators this week to assess what
Joshua Wiggins, the incom- we can find other funding and part- kind of support the staff need before
ing vice-president student life and nerships for students,” he said. she starts in May.
events, said that during their first 30 “I [want to be] prepared for all of
days they want to collectively look at “It’s really important for the questions, concerns, comments
the budget and make sure they know [and] fears that staff do have coming
what what they are prioritizing. oversight and holding ourselves into the new year, with budget cuts
Student Choice Initiative accountable” as well,” she said.
The RSU will work with the pres- Pereira said she wants to begin
idents of course unions to present The newly elected vice-president her term by compiling two lists for
a united front against the Student equity Naja Pereira echoed similar students: one concerning accessible
Choice Initiative or ancillary fee ideas, saying she believes educating venues for students off-campus, and
opt-out, Henry said. She also plans students on the services the RSU the other on grants, scholarships and
to work with other Toronto schools provides could help encourage them bursaries for marginalized students.
and take direct action by organiz- to remain opted-in. “I [want to] lay the groundwork
ing protests and setting up meetings Equity services for that and [make] sure the lists are
with politicians. Pereira said she has started meet- up as soon as possible,” she said.
But she doesn’t think her team
will be impacted by the opt-out sys-
tem as the initiative hasn’t been en-
| PHOTO: KHALED BADAWI forced in legislation yet.
Henry said it’s unrealistic to as-
By The News Team Within their first week in office, sume the May budget will be the
the new exec team will hire a gen- budget for the whole year. She
The Ryerson Students’ Union eral manager, incoming president said in September the RSU will

Course materials
(RSU) elections wrapped up last Vanessa Henry said. have a better idea of their budget.
week, with team Refresh sweeping “We think it’s really important for They will be cautious with mon-
all six executive positions. The team oversight and holding ourselves ac- ey throughout the summer and
will take office May 1, signalling the countable,” she said. wouldn’t plan any big events, she

leaving you broke?


end of what can only be described as She also said she’ll support con- said, adding orientation is funded
a hectic year for the union (remem- tinuing the forensic audit into the internally through the university.
ber those credit card statements?) RSU’s finances. Incoming vice-president educa-
The Eyeopener talked to some of Her team also wants to create a tion Kwaku Agyemang said that
the new executives to learn more live budget that will be updated bi- he believes there is a three-part ap-
about what students can expect weekly, she said. Executives will proach to the Student Choice Initia-
from their first month in office. submit expenses and their weekly tive. It will include “seeing where
Financial transparency work hours. It will be the vice-pres- funds need to be allocated, educat-

Ryerson applies to $10 million federal challenge


The university nominated a researcher focusing on immigration and settlement
By Kiernan Green hear back,” said John Shields, in-
terim director of Ryerson Centre
Immigration and settlement is an
“area that is important for our coun- OPEN
LIBRARY
Ryerson University made it to the for Immigration and Settlement and try,” said Lachemi.
second round of applying for a Ca- member of the CERC nominee se- Immigrants also account for 70
nadian Excellence Research Chair lection committee. per cent of Canada’s population
(CERC), a federal government He said he can’t yet identify Ryer- growth and 90 per cent of growth in
challenge that rewards up to $10 son’s nominee. the workforce, according to a report
million to successful universities. If Ryerson’s nominee meets the from the Canadian Immigration
Ryerson is one of nine post- government’s standards, the uni- Summit in May 2018.
secondary institutions in the chal- versity will be awarded $10 million
lenge’s second phase. over the course of seven years, ac-
cording to CERC’s website. The “A competition among all
“The idea is to bring a money can only be used to fund the [Canadian] universities to
world-class person to chair and their research. attract the best”
lead all of this”
Out of all of the competing uni- At eCampusOntario’s new Open
versities, Ryerson is the only one
not focusing on the field of science, Areas where research might im- Library, you’ll find high quality
The university nominated a re- technology, engineering or math, prove immigrant life were also in-
searcher globally recognized as being Lachemi said. cluded in the report. resources in key subject areas
at the top, or rising to the top, of their Other research topics include sus- Finding more effective ways
field in immigration and settlement. tainability, health science, natural to measure immigrant success, that you can use or adapt for
“The idea is to have a competition resources, information and commu- streamlining Canada’s complex
among all [Canadian] universities nications technology, manufacturing system of immigration policies and free. Print a copy or save on
to attract the best in the world,” and social inclusion. These are topics better accounting for how factors
president Mohamed Lachemi said. of “strategic importance” to Canada, such as race, disability or gender your device to read on-the-go!
Ryerson is “playing in the big according to CERC’s website. directly affect immigrant life were
league,” he said. Canada accepted over 300,000 each mentioned.
Lachemi told The Eye that Ryer- immigrants last year, according to Lachemi said Ryerson has many
son’s nominee is a woman. Statista, an online portal for sta- professors who are already studying
Of the 26 previously awarded tistics. On average, 200,000 im- these issues. Browse the open library now at
chairs, McGill University’s Luda Di- migrants and refugees have been All previous chairholders have
atchenko is the only woman. accepted annually over the last de- researched STEM subjects. openlibrary.ecampusontario.ca
“The evaluation process is at a cade, according to the Council on “The idea is to bring a world-class
very sensitive point as we wait to Foreign Relations think tank. person to lead all of this,” he said.
4 EDITORIAL
The year is winding down, but there’s still time to volunteer with

E IS FOR ELECTION
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VOTING IS MARCH 29 - SEE NEXT WEEK’S ISSUE FOR DETAILS Alozzi
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Pakistani-Canadian Youth: Opportunities and Challenges in securing


E x p l o r e Yo u r C r e a t i v e P o t e n t i a l employment and social integration. Video presentation and talk.
Thursday, March 21, 5.30 pm
A r t . D e s i g n . N ew M e d i a CONTINUING
STUDIES
Riel Room, Oakham House, 3rd Floor
(63 Gould Street, west of Church St)
E ve n i n g s . We e ke n d s . O n l i n e For further information:
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Presented by: Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians

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5

Your Fees – Your Space – Your Place

SCC OPEN HOUSE


Thursday, MAR. 21, 2019

WhosE space? EVERYTHING FREE 11am-3pm:


• Tons of activities, events, free food!
Students' space! • Scavenger Hunt, Ping Pong
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6 NEWS

Hub mislabels Halal stew made with wine Here’s what


else is up at
By Madison Wong
Rye High
Ryerson Eats has issued an apology
after students noticed that red wine
was listed as an ingredient in one of By Sherina Harris
the halal meals at the Hub Café.
Located in Jorgenson Hall, the Rye pres says there’s a “misun-
Hub Café serves a variety of break- derstanding” about surplus
fast, lunch and dinner options. It also The Ryerson Faculty Association
offers menu items to accommodate (RFA) wants the university to
dietary and allergy needs such as veg- use money from their surplus—
etarian, vegan, gluten-free and halal. which, in 2018, totalled $64.275
Samaa Abou Hussein, a third- million—to cover the loss of rev-
year nursing student, was ordering | PHOTO: MATTHEW SAUDER
enue from the 10 per cent tuition
a meal at the café when she realized cut for domestic students.
that one of the halal stews had ‘red In response, Ryerson Univer-
wine’ under the ingredients list. dent Mohamed Lachemi. other community member filed a it’s careless to just put ‘red wine’ on sity president Mohamed Lachemi
She initially thought it was a “funny Cocolakis said the label was in- formal complaint.” the ingredient list, as the institution told The Eye people have a “mis-
mistake” that the label was on a meal correct as the stew was “made in Abou Hussein, who is also presi- should know that any Muslim read- understanding” about the surplus.
that clearly wasn’t halal. accordance with halal regulations” dent of the Ryerson Muslim Students’ ing that would not assume or think He said the restricted carry
“I jokingly pointed it out to the and contained no red wine. She Association, wrote about the incident that it’s halal,” she said. forwards are committed to a
Ryerson Eats staff member who was said Ryerson Eats has since updated on the group’s Facebook page. Aly Atallah, a second-year busi- specific purpose, like one-time
working [at] the time. I told her the the label. ness management student, said he initiatives or faculty units—not
dish says it’s halal but also says it con- “Halal red wine is sometimes add-
“It really placed a doubt in uses the Hub Café services weekly. day-to-day operations.
tains red wine. She didn’t seem to un- ed to the recipe when available, but “I think Ryerson Eats should ex- It “is a short-term solution, not
derstand the problem until I explicit- is removed entirely when not avail- students’ minds about Ryerson’s plain exactly what happened to avoid in the best interest of the financial
ly said that Muslims do not consume able…the team will ensure that the credibility” any misunderstanding because I con- health of the university,” he said.
alcohol,” explained Abou Hussein. ingredient listing identifies the wine sider it humiliating to the Muslim Rye unaware of potential
She said she can’t remember if the as halal,” said Cocolakis. “It really placed a doubt in stu- community,” he said. phone call scam
staff member said they would men- Though halal red wine typically dents’ minds about Ryerson’s cred- Abou Hussein said that accom- Several Ryerson students said
tion it to the chef, but the sign was has the same taste as regular wine, it ibility when it says it serves halal modating to the food restrictions in a Facebook post that they re-
left as is. is made without alcohol. meals,” she said. of all students is an essential part of ceived calls from Ryerson Uni-
In an email statement, Voula Co- “It occurred to me that Ryerson Abou Hussein said using halal respecting the diversity at Ryerson. versity’s phone number asking to
colakis, executive director of Univer- Eats may actually consider this dish meat is not the only thing that con- “The institution should take the speak to their parents.
sity Business Services, said Ryerson halal, just because they used halal stitutes a dish as halal. It must also initiative to educate themselves, or Cody Maung, a first-year oc-
Eats was made aware of the issue af- meat,” said Abou Hussein. “The not contain any alcohol and pork or at least acknowledge their gaps in cupational health student, said he
ter they received an email originally signage was left where it is. It was pork cross-contaminated products. knowledge and seek clarification and received several calls from Ryer-
sent by a student to Ryerson presi- not removed or changed until an- “Even if ‘halal’ red wine is used, education based on that,” she said. son’s number to his cell phone.
When he picked up one of the

Ryerson library entrance to get new look, accessibility prioritized calls on a Sunday afternoon in the
fall, a male voice who identified
himself as someone from Ryerson
“Two Row made a compelling case sibility within and entering the build- asked him for his parents’ phone
for both honouring Indigenous prin- ing and library, include Indigenous numbers to conduct an interview
ciples while responding to the re- place making, ways of knowing and with them, he said.
alities of an urban campus that’s tight design and improve access to library A spokesperson in Ryerson’s
on space,” he said. services and programs,” she said. public affairs office said she
“Indigenous perspectives on Another goal for the remodelling couldn’t find instances of com-
ways of interacting with each other of the entrance is to create a height- plaints to Ryerson’s call centres
and engaging with space can ben- ened sense of security, she said. about spam calls.
efit all students.” “I think Ryerson should clarify
Kucheran said he hopes the In- “I hope the library entrance this,” Maung said, adding students
digenous presence will create a safer redesign sets a precedent for need more education about scams.
and more positive space for students ‘Too early’ to say if internation-
to learn.
how...[buildings] are designed” al tution will rise: president
“It’s about building respectful spac- It is “too early” to determine
es where everyone is welcome, spac- what increases, if any, will be
es where we can relax, reflect and “I want to make sure all con- made to international student tu-
heal, and spaces that are connected to cerns are addressed and we take a ition at Ryerson to make up for
Including Indigenous ways of knowing is a priority | PHOTO: ALANNA RIZZA the earth,” said Kucheran. human-centred approach that em- the 10 per cent cut in domestic
“As the shared place of learning braces universal design principles,” student tuition, president Lache-
By Elizabeth Sargeant team of Ryerson students, accord- and idea exchange on campus, we said Kucheran. mi told The Eye.
ing to Shepstone. know a quality university library is Students and Ryerson community “We have not decided anything,
Ryerson University is partnering Two Row will work in partnership essential to students and their suc- members were invited to take part in but in some instances we may in-
with an Indigenous architecture firm with Gow Hastings Architects, a firm cess,” Shepstone said. the creative process of remodelling crease them a little bit in line with
to increase Indigenous presence in which employs some Ryerson alumni. Located on the corner of Victoria the entrance. The Aboriginal Initia- peer institutions,” Lachemi said.
the new library entrance. and Gould streets, the Ryerson library tives Office and booths at the library The increases would be for new
“The library is the academic
“Two Row made a compelling offers research support, workshops began holding consultations on Feb. students and not current interna-
heart of campus and core to the and specialized programming, accord- 25 and wrapped up March 15. tional students, provost Michael
scholarship, research, and creative case for...honouring ing to the Ryerson library website. “Indigenous presence means a fo- Benarroch said at a town hall on
activities mission of the universi- Indigenous principles” Shepstone said the redesign of the cus on holistic wellness: ensuring budget cuts in February.
ty,” chief librarian Carol Shepstone entrance is just the first step in re- that the mental, physical, emotional “I’m concerned that we’re not
said in a statement. modelling the library. and spiritual needs of students are going to be taken into account as
The team enlisted Two Row Ar- Riley Kucheran, an Ojibway grad- “A desire to transform the library met,” said Kucheran. “I hope the li- much when these policies come
chitects, an Indigenous architec- uate student and Indigenous Advisor tower entrance has been raised at dif- brary entrance redesign sets a prec- into action,” said international
tural firm, to redesign and remodel at Ryerson University, was part of ferent points over the past few years, edent for how all new buildings on student Sofía Rodríguez Garzón.
the entrance. It was selected by a the team who chose the firm. as there is a need to improve acces- Ryerson are designed.” With files from Rhea Singh
WOMEN IN SPORTS
7

INEQUALITY Masthead
Editor-in-Chief

IN SPORTS IS
Jacob Dubé
Managing Editors:
Peter Ash

EVERYWHERE
Christian Ryan
Design:
alanna rizza
Writers:
Julia Mastroianni
Nicole Fernandes
by Maggie Macintosh Will Baldwin
Samantha Chazonoff
Tom McCabe
I’ve never been bullied for being a competitive female athlete.
Instead, my classmates and closest friends have taken aim at my sport. Madison Kelly
“Curling’s not a real sport.” “Do you even break a sweat?” “And, why do you play in ugly
men’s dress shoes?” Libaan Osman
Their comments make me feel like I’m a loser—even when I win—because I curl.
And I don’t blame them. I blame my parents for dragging me and my little sister to Sunday Elisabeth Rositsan
morning curling practices for years. They’re the ones who forced me onto the ice until I actu-
ally wanted to go throw rocks after school, on weekends, all the time. Hayden Godfrey
Curling is a peculiar sport. Recent Olympics have drawn attention to it—and with that, new
fans. But I doubt I’ll ever proudly identify as a curler in my lifetime. Jemma Doorleyers
The only thing outsiders think is cool about the sport is the ice temperature, so it’s no sur-
prise that curlers are often isolated from discussions about high-performance athletics. Kayla Zhu
You probably didn’t know both of Ryerson’s curling teams qualified for U SPORTS within
three years of the program’s existence. Or that we were promised varsity status, but never got it. Matt Vocino
We’re a close-knit community. Men’s and women’s teams look out for one another. We often
play on mixed teams together. And if we’re not on the same team, we cheer each other on behind MaGGIE MACINTOSH
the glass. I even cried of happiness when the Ryerson men’s team qualified for nationals last year.
All curlers are equal. That’s just how things are. No matter your gender, you were bullied SHERINA HARRIS
if you grew up curling in Southern Ontario. At least, that’s what I thought until earlier this
month when it was revealed top female curlers have approached Curling Canada with con- RANEEM ALOZZI
cerns about pay equality.


The top men’s team in Canada wins more than double the prize money than the top women’s
team at their respective national championships.
Kevin Koe’s Alberta team won $70,000 for win-
ning the Canadian men’s championship. Mean-
while, Chelsea Carey’s Alberta team earned only
$32,000 at the Canadian women’s championship. Women belong

Are you kidding me? You’re telling me I’ve
been made fun of my whole life for curling and on the field
have trained with coaches and sports psychol-
ogists for countless hours working towards
a Scotties title that is worth half of what the
guys make?
I shouldn’t be surprised. This is all too common for female athletes.
This month alone, both female curlers and soccer players have made headlines for speaking
out about their discriminatory paycheques. And the problem extends far beyond prize money.
The U.S. women’s soccer team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the country’s soc-
cer federation that alleges discrimination plays into everything. From the fields they are sched-
uled to play at to the medical treatment they receive, the players argue they’re disadvantaged
compared to their male counterparts simply because they’re women.
There’s always talk about ticket sales and viewership differences between men and women’s
teams, but not about blatant sexism.
That’s why The Eye has put together an issue about women in sports. In this issue, women-
identifying athletes address tomboyism, coaching, the evolution of women’s sports and the
numbers gap are some of the things that they touch on.
As a skip, I call the shots: “SWEEP, HARD!” Now I’m joining our country’s top female curl-
ers, and all female athletes, to call for pay equality in our respective sports.
8 WOMEN IN SPORTS

WHAT YOU NEED GENDER PAY GAP LACK OF DIVERSITY

TO KNOW
In 2017, 10 of the highest paid female For the first time in Football Bowl
athletes in the world made about $107 Subdivision School History, there were
million USD as a group. Three of the top two athletic directors that were women
male earning athletes, Floyd Mayweather, of colour, according to an article by the
Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo University of Central Florida
made OVER $105 million combined

THE REALITY TRANSGENDER ATHLETES


According to 2016 article by the Canadian Association for
the Advancement of Women in Sport, the “average woman”
isn’t participating and there’s been huge dropoffs as a result

• 41 per cent of girls age three to 17 do not participate in sports Despite allowing trans athletes to particpate in the Olympics, the International
Olympic Committee will make it harder for trans women to compete in the 2020
• 84 per cent of adult women do not participate in sports games, as they’re lowering the maximum testosterone levels that they are allowed to
have. This rule will be applied to every sport
• Women received only four per cent of the coverage on Canada’s national sports net-
works in 2014, and only 5.1 per cent in print media over a four-year period

TAKING
dressing rooms would be the way in which against Hockey Canada in 2013 after being
women talk compared to men,” Lee says. told he wasn’t allowed to change in the same
She also says the biggest misconception locker room as his teammates.
between women’s and men’s hockey is that The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal de-
women are portrayed as weak or not know- cided to change their policy as a direct result

BACK THE
ing the game as well, but adds that idea is of Thompson’s complaint.
”totally untrue.” As much as men and women deserve to
Women’s locker rooms are either portrayed feel comfortable in their respective locker
being filled with catty girls and petty fights or rooms, trans people deserve the same—and
just full of nonsense with no real care for or thanks to Thompson, kids playing within
understanding of the sport. the Ontario Hockey Federation are now
First-year student Natalie Thompson, goal- allowed to dress in whatever change room

LOCKER
keeper on the Rams hockey team, feels noth- aligns with their gender identity.
ing but love, comfort and support when in her In September 2018, UC Berkeley opened
locker room. a “universal” locker room, for people of any
“I got my first player of the game in that gender-ID and body type.
room,” Thompson said. “I got my first shut- These are signs of hope that things may be
out in that room. I’ve made 27 more friends in moving in the right direction.
that room. I’ve had so many great memories.” Locker rooms are also places of privacy

ROOM
Thompson also recounts many sing-offs and undressing, which and should make
and dance parties occurring in the locker everyone, no matter what gender or sexual-
room. She says her locker room environment ity, feel comfortable. Free enough to break


is very laid back. out into dance, song and laughter; like what
“We are more like sisters in the sense that happens in the Rams women’s basketball

I got my first player of the



game award in that room

we get on each other’s nerves and make fun of locker room.


each other, but it all comes from love.” The women’s basketball team knew Whit-
Rams basketball guard Leyki Sorra doesn’t ney Houtson’s “I Wanna Dance with Some-
By SAMANTHA CHAZONOFF Pennington says he has heard “distaste- have a hard time whenever she’s in her team’s body” would be their team song the second
ful boasting and crude talk about the attri- locker room either. She says her team is really it came on in their locker room.
The term “locker room talk” has gained a pret- butes of a recent date or a new girlfriend,” close and they’re all best friends. “Everyone started singing along and
ty negative connotation. in some men’s locker rooms of teams he was She says they rarely argue and they consider jumping up and down, and we started danc-
In 2005, U.S. President Donald Trump was reporting on. themselves one big family. ing like we usually do, and that was the mo-
recorded talking about forcibly kissing and Locker room talk has in many instances been “I know some boys can get physical or ment that we kind of realized, ‘OK this is our
groping women. After being called out for linked and associated with sexual language. really harsh, and I just know that’s not re- song,’” Sorra said.
his behaviour when the tape came out, he ex- However, some students say that this isn’t ally our team’s environment or the type of “We ask the DJ to play it during our
cused it by deeming it “locker room talk.” necessarily the case. people we are,” Sorra said. “That isn’t to say warm-ups. It’s kind of just our thing that is
Men’s locker rooms are usually portrayed in Alexandra Lee, a third-year University of there isn’t anything negative, but every- really special to us.”
movies with aggression, loudness, and some Toronto student, plays hockey a few nights a thing’s really constructive and we all just Hearing about what really happens in
talking about the sport but mostly inappropri- week, after work and school. love each other.” some women’s locker rooms is proof that
ately discussing women, sex and dating. She loves the sport and enjoys being on a Her team’s locker room also consists of mu- the culture of the locker rooms can be posi-
Bill Pennington is a former athlete and now team. She used to play boys hockey and would sic and singing and dancing, but not all teams tive. There’s still a lot of work to be done,
a sportswriter who has spent a lot of time in be in the locker room with them, but now she or locker rooms are as problem-free. but with the right approach, locker rooms
locker rooms—as both a football player and as plays with other women instead. Jesse Thompson, a transgender teen from might be able to stray away from the nega-
an observer. “The difference in [men’s and women’s] Oshawa, filed a human rights complaint tive connotations it has.
WOMEN IN SPORTS
9

THE PAST
KAREN SEBESTA
PRODUCER/PROFESSOR

AND
THE PRESENT When Karen Sebesta left her job at Hockey
Night in Canada in the early 2000s, three
other individuals had to be rehired to take
on her place. The senior producer at CBC
Sports leads production of live events
internationally and domestically.
she says. “The more I got into it, I began to
think this is so amazing. In sports you win
or lose, there’s a villain and a hero! News is
so depressing.”
Sebesta said she got a lot of opportuni-
ties she wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
Sebesta helped create the RTA sport me- She worked there for five years, but after
dia program and its curriculum at Ryerson a while she felt like she wasn’t learning
University, when she decided she wanted to anything.
come back and teach at her alma mater. Sebesta would go on to work at CBC for

RANEEM ALOZZI AND SHERINA HARRIS TAKE


When she first pursued her RTA de- the next decade and would cover news and
gree at Ryerson, Sebesta knew she wanted entertainment before returning to cover

A LOOK AT SOME OF THE TRAILBLAZERS FOR


to work in television covering entertain- sports for Hockey Night in Canada.
ment. But, when the opportunity showed Moving forward, Sebesta says the indus-

WOMEN IN SPORT MEDIA, AND THOSE WHO ARE


itself, she joined TSN, which she described try is changing as equipment and technol-
as a “tiny little sports station” that had just ogy becomes more accessible to women.

FOLLOWING IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS


started up at the time. But most importantly, they need to be able
“I got the job because I didn’t want to to put in the effort and the drive to get the
work in sports but I wanted television,” work done.

MADDY HARRIS SARAH JENKINS


PRODUCER/STUDENT PRODUCER/ALUMNA

It was in her second-year TV lab class that this much larger thing, because if you do it Sarah Jenkins played competitive hockey an effort to vouch for women.
Maddy Harris experienced what she calls a wrong, or the girl beside you does it wrong, her entire life, but never saw sports as a If she had seen her own job posted on-
“small example” of being a woman in sport then guys are gonna be like, ‘This is why we viable career option. It wasn’t until she line, she wouldn’t have applied. It was only
media. She was partnered up with a male don’t let women produce’ or ‘This is why was applying for university programs when the chair of her program told her she
friend for a pitching assignment. When she we don’t let women direct.’” that her dad suggested she try sport media was the perfect candidate that she decided
explained her idea, he said it was good—and Harris says she’s in a unique spot, at Ryerson. to apply—and ended up with a full-time job
then said, “Listen, you’re really outspoken, working in both digital and broadcast She graduated in 2018, and she’s now a right out of university.
you’re really aggressive, people don’t like sport media as a student. She says there’s video producer at Yahoo! Sports. She’s also “It’s scary to think I wouldn’t even be in
that. Let me pitch the idea.” more women’s representation in broad- the co-chair of the Women’s Inclusion Net- this position if I wouldn’t have had some-
At the time, she didn’t recognize why she cast than digital media, and notes the im- work at Verizon Media. one push me and give me that extra boost
was so upset by what happened. Now, as a portance of representation in any facet of “If we can find a way to have those ‘a ha and say, no, you are good enough for this
fourth-year sport media student and pro- the industry. moments’ way earlier for young women, role,” she says.
ducer, she sees the double standard. “Some…women have already trailblazed knowing especially in high school [they can Jenkins says she wants to see more vis-
“Women aren’t afforded the same amount for us,” she says. “If I have someone I can choose] sports as careers, then it’d be such a ibility in the industry.
of chances that men are. If you mess up as look up to, I can say, ‘She’s who I want game changer,” Jenkins says. “I want to get to a place one day where I
a woman in sport media, it speaks for all to be, I want to emulate some quality of Up until recently, Jenkins was the only walk into the Leafs dressing room and I’m
women in sport media,” she says. “You al- what she does.’ Then that gives me a trail woman on her team at Yahoo! Sports. not saying, ‘Oh, look, there’s another wom-
ways feel like you’re carrying this weight of to follow.” When reviewing job applications, she made an in here today.’”
10 WOMEN IN SPORTS

I WAS ONE OF THE FEW GIRLS


IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WHO
WANTED TO ACTUALLY PLAY
SOCCER OR TAG AT RECESS.

Wexcept for soccer. So I petitioned the boys’ team’s coach to


e had a girls’ team for every sport at my elementary school

let me play when I was 12. It worked until the whole league
folded due to low numbers.
I also hated shopping and make-up, and refused to wear
jeans until I was 13. These things didn’t feel particularly radi-
cal or weird to me, but coupled with my affinity for sports,
earned me the title of ‘tomboy.’ From the way people said it, I
gathered I was supposed to take it as a compliment. So I did.
At that age, I didn’t think too much about what my lack of
interest in traditionally feminine things meant, or what tom-
boy meant either. I had a mother and a father who were both
athletic and they passed that along to my two sisters and me.
They supported all of our interests, feminine or otherwise,
and never gave us any indication that not caring about clothes
or liking soccer meant my sisters and I were irregular.
To be a young girl interested in sports is still seen as an
anomaly, so much so that there’s a term we use for them: tom-
boy. Though the term has changed in meaning over the years,
it’s most widely known today as a word to describe “nontradi-
tional” girls—namely, girls who are more active, physical, loud
and even sporty.
In a 2011 study in the Child Development Research journal
titled “The Role of Athletics in the Self-Esteem of Tomboys,”
researchers suggested self-identifying as a tomboy or being
gender-atypical during childhood was associated with lower
self-esteem—but only for tomboys who didn’t play sports.
Playing sports is linked to positive psychological adjustment
and higher self-esteem, whereas girls who identify as tomboys
may deal with lower self-esteem due to feeling gender atypi-
cal. So while tomboys generally suffer from self-esteem issues,
tomboys who play sports don’t because of the positive effects
of athletics.
Higher levels of athleticism act as a “buffer” from those self-
esteem issues for tomboys, defined as girls who deviate from
gender norms. They suggested this is due to the proven link
between “positive psychological adjustment” and athletics in
all genders.
Despite this, young female athletes tend to stop playing sports
around their adolescent stages, according to the Canadian As-
sociation for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physi-
cal Activity (CAAWS). CAAWS surveyed female sports leaders
and identified insufficient funding, a lack of female-led instruc-
tion and lack of media interest and coverage as the top three
hurdles faced by girls who are interested in sports.
While adolescent girls are dealing with all of these hur-
dles—such as lack of media coverage and athletic opportuni-
ties—boys don’t have to grapple with understanding how their
interest in sports relates to their understanding of their own
gender. Athleticism for boys is instead tied directly to tradi-
tional ideas of masculinity. “That drop-off is not true for boys
and young men, because it’s so valued as a part of the culture,
and probably as part of their own positive experience of them-
selves as masculine,” said Susan Cahn, a history professor at
the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences and au-
thor of Coming on Strong: Gender and Sexuality in Women’s Sport.
On the field, my team and I only had to worry about playing
our best and winning the game. We knew we were good and
we knew we were capable. Yet, women are still taught to doubt
themselves and question their own skill level and ability.

Nwho was a gym teacher and a mother who played volley-


ikoletta Wood grew up in an athletic family with a father

ball all throughout university. Getting involved in sports was


not only supported, but expected for her. However, outside of
Wood’s family, that wasn’t the case.
Wood was the only girl at her school who wanted to play
sports at recess, but the boys at school wouldn’t let Wood play
basketball or soccer with them. “I was constantly getting the
person who was on yard duty to come and force them to allow
me to play,” she says.
PHOTO: ALANNA RIZZA
But sports were Wood’s solace in a place where she was
11

DON’T CALL ME A TOMBOY


WOMEN IN SPORTS

BY JULIA MASTROIANNI
often bullied by other kids. So she continued to work at get- who are masculine stop being cute and quirky and start being son, so being able to compete with boys when everyone says
ting better—despite the fact that boys weren’t welcoming, they a social transgression of gender expression. boys are more physical and more athletic than girls was a com-
grudgingly let her play. Wood eventually developed her skills Some individuals who grow up as tomboys, though, even- pliment,” she says.
throughout the years on all-boys teams. “I had to command tually find a pressure to conform and express themselves simi- Pearson’s parents were athletic growing up, so she says it
respect by being a good player,” she says. “You don’t really see larly to what is considered the norm—with more feminine was natural for her to get into sports too. When she was a kid,
acceptance from men in sports. I’m counted out before I step appearances and interests. Second-year creative industries Pearson says there weren’t as many girls into sports as she was.
in the room every single time.” student Grace Li started to feel pressure to conform around So she ended up spending most of her time at recess with the
When Wood joined co-ed basketball intramurals in her first Grade 7, when she says everyone was more insecure and self- boys who would play soccer or football. “It did feel a little bit
year at Ryerson, she had hoped that things would change at the conscious. She took art classes instead of gym, and though like you’re the odd man out,” she says.
university-level. But when she walked into the gym on the first she enjoyed art, she felt she wasn’t expressing herself fully. “I But other than that, Pearson says her family supported her
day, there were so many men that she initially thought she was started wearing dresses and skirts to feel good about myself.” athleticism and she had all-girls teams in and outside of school
in the wrong place. After confirming with the woman at the Li was also into sports from a young age, but she says her to play on. She says everyone was always really accepting on
score table, Wood found out she was indeed in the right place. mother believed sports were only for boys. “I would tell her I the girls’ teams, and that it was nice to be in a group of girls
Wood then walked over to meet her team and introduce wanted to play soccer or field hockey, but she wouldn’t enroll who all had the same goals.
herself, only to be asked if she was the scorekeeper by a male me in those programs. She would say things like, ‘Oh, your
teammate. “It’s heartbreaking because at the time I was think- thighs will get too big,’ or, ‘be more like a girl,’ because I was

Ito give in to traditionally feminine behaviour, she faces a


ing, ‘He’s not wrong. I’m not an asset to this team.’” such a tomboy,” Li says. f a girl can get past the drop-off and the societal pressure
“That first game...I didn’t see the ball at all, and I was wide The same pressure to assimilate into gender norms exists
open the whole night.” Wood says the guys she played with for women athletes who identify within the LGBTQ2SA+ new set of challenges.
automatically assumed she didn’t know how to play. Even spectrum. In Carr’s 1998 study on tomboyism, many of the Wood says the guys on the teams she played against either
when she was better than some of her male teammates, the lesbian and bisexual participants expressed a need to conform wouldn’t bother marking her at all, or would get angry that
guys would pass around her, or try to keep her off the court. to femininity in their adolescent years. “[They] depicted their she was on the court and play too aggressively. She was once

“BE MORE LIKE


The challenges of gender disparity follow us out for a month and a half due to a leg injury
onto the field or court, and place limitations on from one of the guys hitting her midair during
our playing time—and further, our opportunity the game. “If I outplay [him], I run the risk of
to perform. [him] injuring me because now [he’s] playing to
Wood says she always felt excluded from oth- prove himself to his boys,” she says.

A GIRL ”
er girls because of her interest in sports. “The Wood says if men created a positive athletic en-
girls look at you differently because you were vironment, by actively including her in the game
someone who wanted to play sports and they and supporting her on the court, she’d play better.
didn’t,” she says. This sense of alienation is one When guys looked annoyed at Wood showing up
that can often haunt girls who have less interest to the game, she’d think about everything she did
in being feminine into their adolescence—when to be perfect, or else her teammates would stop
tomboyism becomes more stigmatized. passing to her and she wouldn’t be able to get bet-
C. Lynn Carr is a sociology professor at New ter. It took up space in her head, when she should
Jersey’s Seton Hall University and has written have been focused on her performance.
multiple papers on tomboyism, conformity and adolescence. conformity as ‘heterosexual panic’ (i.e. denial of their later rec- Wood also felt the pressure to represent women, something
“When girls get to a certain age, it’s no longer seen as a good ognized sexuality) and viewed failed conformity as early indi- men don’t have to think about when they’re playing sports.
thing,” she says. cations of budding homosexuality,” Carr writes. “I can’t leave because I have to represent women. I’ve been
Carr says some of the women she surveyed for her study on I spent much of my high school years doing my best to dis- through worse, this isn’t that bad,” she said.
tomboyism cited stigma as one of the reasons they faded out of tance myself from the tomboy image of my childhood, mainly It ends up being a nasty cycle, in which traditional ideas
tomboyism as they got older. “When they became interested through clothes. It didn’t register back then that this was an of gender tell us we’re not supposed to like sports—and then
in boys, their tomboyish behaviours were seen as incompat- internal act of denial of my sexuality, an attempt to camouflage when we end up liking them anyway, those same gender
ible with their heterosexual interests.” my identity into a more normalized version of femininity. In norms work to drive us away from what we love.
a less accepting school, the fact that I still played competitive
soccer might have made that more difficult.

Bson and member of the women’s varsity soccer team, says Lstereotypes and assumptions. And yet for women, there
rooke Pearson, a first-year architecture student at Ryer- Female athletes also battle the perception that all female oving sports should be simple, and uncomplicated by
athletes are gay, and that it’s easier for women athletes to come
it wasn’t until this year that she realized people around her out than men. Aside from that, female queer-identifying ath- are so many barriers that it’s amazing to me that any female
were wondering about her sexuality because of her continued letes also face homophobia—even if it’s coded in slightly dif- athletes make it to the top. Battling with internalized ideas of
interest in sports. “I definitely feel that people more often as- ferent ways. When Griner came out, she told ESPN that her what it means to be a woman (and how that conflicts with an
sume that [I’m gay] just because I enjoy sports and because of coaches at Baylor knew she was gay, and didn’t want anyone interest in sports) can affect an athlete’s focus and make sports
the way I dress in athletic wear and baggy pants,” she says. to discuss it. “The coaches thought that if it seemed like they a source of tension instead of enjoyment.
She wishes that people would be straightforward with her condoned it, people wouldn’t let their kids come play for Bay- The least we could do is question what we mean when we
and just ask. “I don’t know if that has created any divisions lor,” Griner said. call girls tomboys. Is it really a compliment when we tell girls
between me and other people because no one has actually con- When we see a young girl who behaves in traditionally their interests and passions are due to their proximity to boy-
fronted me.” masculine ways, she is given a label that directly associates ishness, and not just a product of their own unique identity?
That assumption is linked to the stigma surrounding tom- her with boyishness so that we know her behaviour is anti- Why is there an age limit on that proximity, a point where the
boyism; it’s still deemed so unnatural for women to be inter- feminine for a reason. behaviour we applaud girls for suddenly becomes unnatural?
ested in sports that it’s assumed that any woman who is a pro- “Masculinity is more valued, so that crossing over Li and I spoke about Crazy, the recent Nike ad narrated by
fessional athlete must be gay. Deviation from gender norms is into masculinity seems like a positive thing,” Cahn said. Serena Williams addressing the tendency for women athletes
still negatively perceived to the point where many will associ- “Whereas boys are stepping into a lower status by acting in to be called crazy, hysterical or irrational for showing emotion
ate it with a difference in sexuality. feminine ways.” We receive messages from all around us at in sports—and I’m beginning to think that’s true.
When Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) young ages that tell us boys are superior to girls. Not only There’s nothing rational about wanting to be an athlete.
player Brittney Griner came out as gay in 2013, The New York that boys are better at what they do, but that the things boys From being judged for showing emotion in sports or for be-
Times ran a story with the headline “Female Star Comes Out as are supposed to be better at (physical, stoic, logical) are bet- ing a tomboy, women just can’t seem to win. There is no win-
Gay, and Sports World Shrugs.” ter than the things girls are supposed to be better at (caring, ning in a system that expects women to act a certain way and
Carr says tomboyism is defined by two key qualities: reject- emotional, artistic). then shames them whether they choose to conform or not.
ing femininity and leaning into masculinity. But to continue Pearson says she grew up thinking of “tomboy” as positive. The only winning we have left is on the court and on the field.
both behaviours into adolescence is taboo. At that age, women “I took it as a compliment because I’m a very competitive per- Thank god for sports.
12 WOMEN IN SPORTS

S
SPRINTING TOWARD
pectators watched as heavy rain poured at school while trying to make new friends.
the Olympic Stadium in London. Marissa It was a tricky time,” says Bob Westman,
Papaconstantinou stood in lane three, all Papaconstantinou’s coach.
smiles as she waved to the camera and crowd. Westman, who’s also an assistant track and
She was introduced to the world before the field coach at the University of Toronto, said

STARDOM
end of the 2017 200m T44 World Para Ath- that they wanted to be as patient as possible
letics Championships. when dealing with the injury and spend time
Moments later, the 17-year-old Pa- becoming familiar with each other.
paconstantinou would come out of the “We mostly just wanted to rehab off that
blocks flying, racing down the red co- injury, let her adjust and transition into being
loured track, approaching the final a university student at Ryerson and then start
straight. She was putting herself in a po- to get to know each other.”
sition to get on the podium.
But as the finish line appeared in sight, AFTER DEALING WITH A SERIOUS INJURY, PARALYMPIAN Marissa
Papaconstantinou felt her hamstring pop.
She managed to take a few more laboured Papaconstantinou IS TRYING TO BOUNCE BACK STRONGER THAN EVER. The pop Papaconstantinou felt in her
strides before falling to her knees. The smile BY MATT VOCINO hamstring was a tear. But before it put an
that was on her face a minute earlier was end to her season, she got up off the track
gone. Instead, it was replaced by a look of and finished the race to a cheering crowd.
pain and disappointment. Although unsure if she would be selected for the Rio Games because she was only 17, Looking back on those first five months af-
her dream became a reality as Canada’s rising star made her debut on the Paralympic stage ter the injury, Papaconstantinou admits that it
in Brazil. She finished ninth in the 100m, but was disqualified from the 200m for stepping was a challenging time but her drive to accom-
on the line. plish her goals in the future kept her going.
Born without her right foot, the now-RTA The disqualification was a tough pill to swallow as it was one of her best races. “I just re- “It was really tough mentally, physically to
sport media student began participating in member my pure reaction of, ‘oh my God I really messed up’ and that’s just something that is get over those hurdles,” she says. “Even when
team sports at a young age and would run keeping me pushing forward.” I started running again, I would get scared
whenever she could. The adversity prepared her to battle through her injury. Just a month and a half after sometimes. And something that always made
While in elementary school, her passion the popping of her hamstring at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships, she me feel really good...didn’t really necessarily
and interest in track and field would grow. began university at Ryerson in the RTA sport media program and began training with bring that same joy, but thinking about how
She attended high school running meets the Toronto Varsity Blues. She had to get used to a new routine, a new coach and a new close I was, and thinking about what could
with her dad, a high school principal, on be possible in the future is what really kept
a regular basis. “My [Dad] would always me going.”
take me to track meets to watch him run,” Although it would be fair to assume that
recounts Papaconstantinou. “It was always this would be a huge setback and one of the
part of my life.” lowest points of someone’s athletic career, it
While running was a constant part of Pa- wouldn’t be the case for Papaconstantinou.
paconstantinou’s life growing up, she didn’t Instead, it became a moment she is proud
pursue the sport that she loved to watch until of. She says it painted a picture of the type of
the age of 11 when she received her first run- person that she is.
ning blade. “I don’t even know why I did it, it prob-
Unlike a traditional prosthesis, a running ably did more harm than good to my body,”
blade is much lighter and springier, which she says, “but I think that people realized that
in turn reduces impact pressure, allowing even though you get knocked down, you can
individuals to run more comfortably and, of just get back up and keep moving forward.“
course, faster. As anyone who has dealt with a serious in-
“The first time I ran on it was on a jury knows, the recovery process is gruelling.
treadmill to test it out, and I just remember Now, 19 months since the injury, a year since
[thinking], ‘Wow, this is really cool.’ I don’t returning to competition and in her second
feel the same sort of pain I felt before. It felt year of university, she’s determined to excel in
freeing,” says Papaconstantinou. track and field. She now has her sights set on
Since trying on the blade for the first time Tokyo 2020.
many years ago, Papaconstantinou hasn’t Although she’s balancing both her studies
looked back. At the age of 12, she was selected at Ryerson and a rigorous training schedule,
by Athletics Canada and was invited to Otta- Westman says that Papaconstantinou’s “fo-
wa for a “Para Camp” to be evaluated—expos- cus” and drive has given her success.
ing herself to other disabled athletes for the “You’re going to have hurdles put in front
first time. of you, you’re going to have obstacles in the
“I was always the only person that I had road in the pathway to success, and it’s just
known with a disability,” says Papaconstan- her ability to remain calm under pressure,
tinou, who says she became more comfort- to look for solutions, and about not feeling
able with herself after the event. “I realized sorry for yourself,” says Westman. “To just
that there are more people out there like me stay driven and focused on the goal, despite
that sometimes maybe go through similar whatever setbacks might come, are what are
struggles, or have had similar experiences.” going to lead her to being successful.”
In 2014, the Ontario Science Centre created With Tokyo only 18 months away and
an exhibit inspired by Papaconstantinou that the negativity and injuries in her rear-view
promotes bionics and prosthetics in “human mirror, Papaconstantinou only has three
performance.” things on her mind: completing her final
A year later, at 15, Papaconstantinou school project by next year, medaling at
served as the Pan Am torchbearer that the 2019 Para World Championships this
carried the flame when the torch relay visited November and winning her first medal at the
the Science Centre. Paralympic Games.
And only a few months later, the 15-year- There is no doubt that the lead-up
old set a Canadian record for her amputee and journey to Tokyo will be a taxing
class in the 200m at her first Para Worlds, set- one, and that achieving her goals will be
ting her up for a spot in the Rio Games and a difficult. But if anyone can overcome the
potential chance at the Paralympics. hurdles, it’s Papaconstantinou. After all,
This was huge, especially because at one she’s proven that she has the will and the
point, Papaconstantinou says she didn’t even mental toughness to overcome adversity
know about the Paralympics. | PHOTO COURTESY: MARISSA PAPACONSTANTINOU and achieve her objectives.
WOMEN IN SPORTS
13

MORE THAN ART


When you ask the 11-year-old girls at High of the street and do any of the vocabulary, just
Pointes Dance Academy in Cobourg, Ontario, a lot of it is not natural to the human body.”
if dance is a sport, the answer is yes. Historically, dance was seen as delicate,
The interview takes place during the fif- fragile and girly because of its graceful nature.
teen-minute break at their Friday night re- However, if you have ever been a dancer or

BUT NOT JUST


hearsal. Their faces are red. They’re chugging been close to one, you will come to find that
their water during one of their breaks. It’s 4 it is not beautiful. Toenails fall off. Ankles,
p.m. and they’ve got about five more hours to knees, hips and backs are constantly in a stage
go until they finish their practice that day. of recovery.
“You have to work as a team, it gets your There are ice baths and bandages and blis-

A SPORT
heart pumping, and you have to put a lot of ters. Through the rise of sports medicine,
time into it,” said Rylee Brown, an 11-year- physical therapy and chiropractors there has
old dancer who competes with the academy. been more visibility to the effects that dance
They say it has all of the aspects of a sport has on the body.
and that there really is no difference. “A dance injury is a sports injury,” says Dr.
“You have to practice and you are never Colin Mandin, the chiropractor and owner of
perfect at it,” said Aeowyn Commissing, Bayridge Chiropractic Centre. “Dance is really
another dancer in the academy. “You have a quite specialized and really intense physical
to keep on going, kind of like other sports activity that requires a lot of fine motor skills
that you keep on practising and always have and has a lot of repetitive manoeuvres.”
It’s calm and soothing In nature, and yet dancing things to improve.” A study published in the Journal of Ath-

is one of the more rigorous activities out there.


They say they feel sad and angry when peo- letic Training states that 60 to 90 per cent of
ple tell them that dance isn’t a sport. “It kind dancers will be injured in their careers. The

Dancers explain the delicate balance


of makes me want to fight someone,” says study cited that there were four categories of
11-year-old Avarie Harmer-Kelly. common dance injuries: knee injuries, foot

By Jemma Doorleyers
But they know the level of training and ex- and ankle tendinitis, back injuries and general
perience dance takes and they want to feel val- injuries. Dance caused such a risk to injury
idated and respected for the hard work they that children under 10 should be careful when
put in, as other athletes do. For them, dancing training in because it could cause complica-
is a sport and should be recognized as such. tions later in life.
However, the debate remains among the Many dancers say that they don’t want to have
dance community and the outside world, it summed up only to a sport because it does not
mostly among young boys and young girls acknowledge the artistry that it involves.
trying to get on each other’s nerves. “I’m not sure if this is an acknowledged cat-
So much so that, in an effort to bring a egory or anything but I call it an athletic art,”
younger audience to the Olympics, the orga- said Pick. “It’s not a sport in the sense that it
nizing committee announced in February that does not usually incorporate a lot of the rules
it would recommend break dancing for the that you would imagine from a sport.”
2024 games in Paris. Pick also says that in competitive gym-
The proposal will be presented to the In- nastics, there is a point system. The same
ternational Olympic Committee at the end of goes for figure skating, which is the two that
March and is not expected to be confirmed would be the closest to dance that would be
until December 2020. This is one step closer considered a sport. However, when a dancer
to dance being recognized as a sport. is dancing as a professional there is no com-
But the question of whether dance is a sport petitive aspect. Instead, they’re thrown into
isn’t that simple. dance shows and recitals, placing them into
Third-year performance dance student Kath- the category of entertainment—this is after
leen Pick is the one of the few who considers all, what dance was first developed to be.
dance more of an art form than a sport. With Dancers only started competing in the
the expression and artistry of the movement 1930s in dance marathons, which were then
that is involved with dance, she believes that it adapted as time went on.
is unfair to only consider dance as a sport. Watching a gymnast, a figure
“I personally would not consider it a skater or a dancer compete, many feel they
sport,” she said. “But it does require a great are a spectator. However, when watching a
deal of athleticism to accomplish a lot of its play, musical or movie, those same people are


necessary vocabulary.” now known as the audience. The spectator is

Toenails fall off. Ankles, knees, hips and backs



are constantly in a stage of recovery

Watching Pick and her dance partner watching for a specific outcome and cheering
Ethan Kim snap into shoulder stands, drop for their team, whereas the audience wants
into splits and burst into jumps, it’s not dif- to be entertained and feel as though they had
ficult to imagine how much athleticism is in- experienced something that enriched their
volved when attempting these moves. They mind. There is no argument that a dancer is
make it look effortless, but wait for moments not an athlete but you cannot undermine the
in between to catch their breath. creativity that goes into dancing when chore-
“I remember as a kid, it upset me because it ography, music and story come together.
seemed that they didn’t acknowledge the physi- So, for the 11-year-old girls, and those
cal demand that dance puts on you,” says Pick. who believe it to be so, dance is a sport and
“As a little girl, I definitely wanted to be nothing is going to change that. But accord-
validated for my hard work because dancing ing to the young adults at Ryerson and more
is not easy and it is so different from most experienced dancers, it is more than that.
| PHOTO: JEMMA DOORLEY- sports. You can’t necessarily just come in off It is an art.
14 WOMEN IN SPORTS

merchandise line in 2017 with the “It might not be great ultimate but

THE RISE OF GENDER DIVERSITY


goal of being a “conversation sparker” our team is super fun and everyone
when her staff wore it at tournaments. learns so quickly. We’re a great group
“I think one of the first things you of girls.”
have to start talking about when you “We’ve improved so much. The

IN ULTIMATE FRISBEE
talk about equality is equitable action team has made me so proud.”
to achieve equality,” said Withers. Dos Santos has played competitive-
“The statement ‘The Future is Female’ ly and recreationally for years now,
is embodying equitable action.” experiencing the transition to the 3-3
In a blog post, Withers asserts that ratio in TUC leagues and other female
“as a community, we need to focus development initiatives firsthand.
energy and resources on the devel- But, in her opinion, coverage is one
opment of female athletes and their of the most powerful and effective
University combined their girls team the main recreational ultimate competitive opportunities to make up ways organizations can push female
By Kayla Zhu to create the “Yorkerson” team, due to organization in Toronto, aims for so much lost ground.” ultimate.
a lack of female participants in both to combat these issues through “The idea is that the future needs “When more women see women
I picked up my first 175-gram schools. female-focused programming and to be female because the past was playing ultimate, they think ‘Hey, I
Discraft disc in the summer of 2008 However, in the 2017-2018 school policymaking. male. We’re not starting at the same can do that too’,” said Dos Santos.
during an ultimate frisbee summer year, Ryerson was able to create their “All our initiatives are informed by level.” “Younger players who are just coming


camp. own women’s team. This school year the feedback provided to us from our As the CEO of VC Ultimate and up, they can see women doing amaz-
As an eight-year-old girl playing saw an influx of new players trying out. female members,” said Patrick Russell,
against 13 and 14-year-old boys, I “I was really surprised. We actually the board representative for TUC’s
mostly ran around the field in circles, had to cut girls for the first time,” said Women’s Committee.

We actually had to
hoping someone would pass to me. Ta. “A lot of our team this year were Such initiatives include the cre-
They never did. first years, more than we would usu- ation of the player Harassment Policy
It wasn’t until the last day of the
camp, after three days of squirreling
around the field and eagerly awaiting
ally have. I think it’s due to their over-
all interest in the sport.”
Ultimate frisbee is also one of the
to help establish sanctions for ha-
rassment of female ultimate players,
female-only skill development ses-
cut girls for the first

time
a pass, that I finally touched the disc. only sports where co-ed teams com- sions, and most prominently, an even
I remember the moment vividly: an pete at the highest levels of play. gender-player ratio.
opposing player threw a flick to a boy In Canada, high school teams are “The goal of this initiative is to in-
I was dutifully marking. I sprinted to co-ed. Mixed ultimate is played fre- crease the quality and quantity of en-
catch up to him as he cut under and quently in recreational leagues and gagement of female players in TUC
I smacked the frisbee to the ground, at the national level with competitive games,” said Russell. a board member of the WFDF ing things and instead of just knowing
intercepting the pass. My team- club teams. Every two years, the Team “As a governing body, the big- Women in Sport Commission, that woman from rec league who no
mates were astounded. Instinctively, I Canada U24 mixed team represents gest thing we can do is help change Withers has noticed the lack of one throws to, they start seeing wom-
picked up the disc and threw a wobbly Canada in World Flying Disc Federa- policy,” said Rebecca Thompson, the females in leadership positions in the en who are real athletes out there and
backhand to the end zone where a girl tion (WFDF) 2018 World Ultimate communications manager at Ultimate ultimate community. know that it is possible to get to that
on my team caught it. Club Championships (WUCC). Canada. “The phrase I really like is ‘You can’t stage.”
A defensive block, then a point. In Co-ed play comes with a host of “We can’t change policies for be what you can’t see’,” said Withers. In 2017, Jesse Shofner became the
ultimate, we call that a “double happi- considerations. Women not getting leagues, but we can encourage leagues “I think more women in leadership first female to play on a major league
ness.” Pretty fitting. passed to, injuries and a shortage of to say ‘Hey look, we’re doing the equal will encourage more women to try to ultimate team, joining the Nashville
Victoria Ta, the team captain and female players are some of the most gender ratio at the highest levels, put their hat in a leadership position. Nightwatch.
third-year Ryerson professional com- common issues in recreational play. there’s no reason you can’t do it in a It also puts a different perspective.” In early 2019, the Premier Ultimate
munications student, has been playing And it is in these recreational leagues league.’” Krystal Dos Santos, a Chang School League, a new professional women
university ultimate ever since her first where female ultimate players start At the national level, Ultimate Can- student in the publishing program, and non-binary ultimate league, was
year. In that time, Ryerson and York dipping their feet into the sport. ada has the power to make and change believes that having skilled, confident created. The league’s goals are to
Toronto Ultimate Club (TUC), policies that effect Canada’s most players on a team gives more develop- increase accessibility and visibility of
competitive teams. ing players something to mimic and womxn players through high-quality
Beyond switching to work towards. competition, leadership experiences,
the equal gender ratio in She recounts that in the past, Ry- and community partnerships.
their mixed nationals, the erson has had a hard time finding in- The league includes cisgender and
organization also ensures terested women who had any ultimate transgender womxn, non-binary, and
that there is equal livestream experience. intersex people.
coverage of female and “This year, having coaches and hav- In 2016, the All-Star Ultimate
male games during national ing great handlers and cutters to show Tour, a group of hand-picked, elite
championships, and that the people decision making has been real- college-aged female ultimate players
first finals time slot rotates ly great,” said Dos Santos, who joined travelled across the United States,
every year. Ryerson’s roster this school year after playing the best women’s ultimate
“Because we’ve been a grow- playing for the University of Toronto team at each of their stops.
ing minority sport for a long in her undergrad. “That’s something The team took a little trip up
time, we have a chance to put you can’t learn without seeing it— to my hometown, Vancouver. There,
our minority players within knowing when someone is open or I got to watch some of the best female
our minority sport in the spot- staying on the open side on defense, players in the world match up against
light,” said Thomson. “We are things like that.” women I had been idolizing my
a smaller sport that has the Dos Santos is among the top ech- entire life from Vancouver Traffic,
chance to look at how other elon of elite women’s players in To- the top women’s team in Vancouver.
professional sports did it be- ronto. She has played several seasons It was 90 minutes of the most
fore us and do it differently.” with the Toronto 6ixers, Toronto’s elite women’s ultimate I had ever
Equal coverage and an equal top competitive women’s ultimate witnessed in person. I watched with
gender ratio are major strides team. Her competitive team’s season 20 of my summer club teammates
in promoting female ultimate overlaps with the university series, by my side, all of us wide-eyed and
but Adriana Withers of VC Ul- and many of her teammates opt out of gripping the edge of the bleachers.
timate Inc., a prominent North playing for their schools due to risk of It was at that moment I realized just
American ultimate apparel injury. how powerful women’s ultimate cov-
company, believes that equita- “They said, ‘Why are you going to erage was.
ble action is needed to level the play? You’re in the Division 2, it’s not Perhaps if eight year-old Kayla had
playing field for female players. going to be great ultimate’,” said Dos watched that game before her sum-
Withers designed VC Ulti- Santos, who took on a major leader- mer camp, she would have picked up
mate’s “The Future is Female” ship role within the team this year. the disc much earlier.
WOMEN IN SPORTS
15

I’M AN ATHLETE,
NOT A MODEL
By Madison Kelly the actual sport itself.
Kleuskens’ teammate, Alicia Lam,
Lindsay Kleuskens, a second-year dealt with a similar incident during
volleyball player for the Ryerson high school.
Rams, recalls a time when she was “My first encounter was with my
discussing how volleyball teaches high school volleyball team as we
life lessons with a fellow athlete and were banned from wearing spandex,
a young father. because apparently it showcased a
They were all generally on the sex appeal that was inappropriate
same page—but by the end of the for school,” she says. “Many girls
conversation, the man said, “That’s took offence to this as the standard ALICIA LAM (right) and lindsay Kleuskens (Left) have both SAID THAT BEING OBJECTIFIED CAUSES THEM TO CONSTANTLY
a sport I won’t be getting my girls uniform is spandex, not for the rea- THINK ABOUT HOW women ARE PERCEIVED in sports | PHOTO COURTESY: ALEX D’ADDESE
into. Not with the shorts they wear.” son to show off our bodies but be-
Kleuskens was deeply affected by cause that was most comfortable.” practice or games with makeup or to feel stronger, or is it simply a during an interview with Sports
this remark, “I just thought how sad Women athletes have to walk their hair done, then ‘they’re not fashion statement?” Illustrated. After becoming the first

“ I really think that speaks volumes


is it that this guy is willing to deny a fine line when it comes to their ready to play,’” said Olivia Pepe, woman to win FIFA’s player of the
his daughters all the amazing things appearance. Women in sports have second-year fastpitch softball
volleyball has to offer, because he either been told their outfits are not player at Ryerson. “I’ve also
doesn’t like the length of our shorts.” modest enough or they should be been judged for my body. Since

to how women’s sports are


“I really think that speaks more revealing, which ultimately I don’t have the petite physique,
volumes to how women’s sports forces them into being sexualized sometimes I’m underestimated.”

are perceived,” Kleuskens said. “So
many times female athletes are
and objectified by men.
In 1943, in the All-American
Sexualizing female athletes
not only affects the athletes
perceived
showcased by the outfits they wear Girls Professional Baseball League, themselves, it also affects female
or their body types, [instead of] the women were forced to wear viewers as they are discouraged by After Holder posed the question, year award, Norwegian soccer player
being a part of a team that works so skirts, even though it actually the representation of women in male panellists Bo Dietl and Mark Ada Hegerberg was sexualized when
hard in the weight room to compete made it more difficult to play, ac- sports. In the 2016 Olympics, many Simone added on to Holder’s she was asked by French DJ and
at a high level.” cording to an article written by female athletes were subjected comments, with the latter saying producer Martin Solveig to twerk
Contrary to male athletes, female Elle magazine. to this ongoing issue. During a “Why should I have to look at a on stage. She refused to do so, and
athletes have been showcased not As a result of the media’s sexual panel for Fox News, host Tamara girl’s zits?” walked off the stage.
for their athletic abilities, but rather depiction of female athletes, it al- Holder said, “We all know the old Not only were women critiqued From the Rams athletes to the
for their sex appeal. lows for coaches to feel as though adage ‘sex sells.’ Well now, female on their physical appearances, they pros, it’s clear that there’s a pattern.
By sexualizing and objectifying they also have the ability to over- Olympians are sexing it up more were also objectified for their ath- There’s nothing wrong with being
female athletes, the credibility of sexualize their players. than ever by wearing makeup letic abilities. beautiful, but when it comes to
female sports is diminished, as audi- “Personally, I have experienced during their competitions.” American swimmer Ryan Lochte sports, the athletic accomplishments
ences tend to focus on the way the it with my coaches and teammates. “Do women who are elite said that fellow countrywoman should be what comes first and
athlete looks instead of focusing on They often assume if girls come to athletes need to wear makeup Katie Ledecky swam “like a guy” foremost.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF
program having a vacancy for their medal at the International Basketball imaginably well that year, com-
head coaching job, Joseph knew Federation (FIBA) Americas U16 peting at the biggest stage no one
they couldn’t settle for anything. Championship in 2015. thought was possible.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
They needed the best. In her seven years at Ryerson, she With a new group of seniors
Carly Clarke, a former player and turned an average squad into one of in Sofia Paska, Cara Tiemens and
assistant coach at Dalhousie, was the better nationally ranked teams Katherine Follis, the Rams found
on the rise, head coaching at the in the country. In her third season, themselves in a title-seeking posi-
University of Prince Edward Island the Rams set a program record in tion once again.
(UPEI) for three years before the job wins with 16 and the group made From March 7-10, Ryerson host-
By Libaan Osman Joseph was looking to change that. at Ryerson became available. the Final 8 tournament for the first ed the Final 8 tournament, getting
“They just didn’t have a big, “Her name kept coming up as I time ever. back to the national stage.
Before the women’s basketball team strong winning tradition,” Joseph made phone calls to find out who The success would follow It was the first time the
won the school’s first Ontario Uni- said. “It would not be unusual to find were the best coaches in the coun- through to the next season, as the tournament was held in Toronto
versity Athletics (OUA) champion- five or 10 or 20 fans at a home game try,” Joseph said. “Everybody kept team would win the school’s first- since 1998 and even though the
ship, broke a record for wins in a on the weekend.” talking about her potential and that ever OUA championship. Rams secured a fifth-place finish,
season and make their first national Now the vice provost of student she was one of the bright spots in “Being part of the school’s first the university put on a show like
championship appearance, it was affairs at Dalhousie University, Jo- Canada basketball.” OUA banner, I’ll never forget that,” none other.
just a program with potential. seph became the Athletics Director Toronto is the hub of Canadian said fifth-year guard Cara Tiemens. With young girls and the next
About a decade ago, losses were at Ryerson in the summer of 2008. basketball, and the wide range of “Those first two years of my college generation of hoopers in atten-
second nature for the women’s bas- While he was there, he focused talent and recruiting possibilities career were definitely very special, dance of the four-day event, it al-
ketball team. on what athletes desired when were just too good for Clarke to I learned a lot from the seniors on lowed for them to dream of the
From 2001 to 2008, the team choosing a program, by looking at turn down. this team.” possibility of playing at this level
wouldn’t register a winning sea- top National Collegiate Athletic “One of the big things I would say Led by Keneca Pingue-Giles, and put themselves in these stu-
son despite being under the eyes of Association (NCAA) schools in the drew me here was that Ryerson was Mariah Nunes and Silvana Jez, the dent-athletes’ shoes.
long-term coach Sandy Pothier. United States. striving for excellence,” Clarke said. Rams won the OUA conference “It’s hard to be what you can’t see,”
After Pothier’s exit in 2009, After leading a successful referen- “They wanted to be great.” and were seeded fifth heading into Clarke added. “For young players
Charles Kissi filled in, but still dum to acquire the Mattamy Ath- Winning at Ryerson was destined nationals, winning their way to the to see the opportunities that are in
wasn’t able to spark the program letic Centre (MAC), Joseph knew to happen for Clarke, whose championship game, before falling front of them, to see women coach-
into success. Overall, Ryerson and various athletic teams had a chance involvement with Team Canada to the Saskatchewan Huskies. ing, to see women players playing at
women’s basketball weren’t clicking, to attract top-level recruits. proved she could captain a ship, For a team that could barely crack a high level and to begin to aspire
and former athletics director Ivan With the women’s basketball helping them win their first gold 10 wins a decade ago, they did un- into their future is great.”
16 WOMEN IN SPORTS

WE’RE NOT ‘FANGIRLS’ WE’RE


sports,” Bianchi said. “We talk about student at York University, was on
hockey, the playoffs, the stats.” the verge of tears when she thought
With that being said, there about the initiative.

FANS
have been a couple changes to “I get taken back by it because
start supporting and empowering we’re not just seen as girls who
female fans. think athletes are cute,” Marji said.
In Toronto, Maple Leafs Sports “We actually appreciate them and
& Entertainment (MLSE) has see their hard work.”
celebrated International Women’s Things are starting to move in
By Nicole Fernandes tunately gotten used to. Stereotypi- “When I was in high school there Day at games in the past. This year, the right direction with initiatives
cally, men are believed to be more would be guys who were like, ‘Oh, they introduced a new initiative like this. Still, there’s room for more
Riding the subway, Rania Elhilali “authentic” fans. However, statistics you’re a big fan of the Leafs? Who’s to show love to their passionate improvement to make experiences
was wearing a hoodie repping one show that the ratio of men to wom- their second pairing?’” Pincente female fans. better for female fans in the future.
of her favourite sports teams, the en in fan bases isn’t as unbalanced as said. “All that stuff that people


Toronto Raptors. people think. make memes about, that actually
She could feel the eyes of a group In 2017, women made up 45 per did happen.”
of guys occasionally glancing in her cent of the National Football League As a result, some women keep
direction. Eventually, she picked up (NFL) fan base, according to a study their support to themselves to avoid All that stuff that people make memes “
about, that actually did happen
on what one of them said. by Athletic Business, a company confrontation from men.
“Sports merch has become a fash- that conducts studies for profes- “I tend to watch myself more
ion statement.” sional sports leagues. That’s nearly with what I say,” said Patricia
Elhiali approached and confront- half of the league’s fan base, but sex- Dumlao, a first-year practical
ed them. “Excuse me?” ism is still apparent in sports culture nursing student at Humber Col-
“It’s true,” the guy said. “You and women are constantly judged, lege. “I’m scared that some guy The Maple Leafs, Raptors and “We don’t want to be shut out all
probably took it from your broth- mistreated, and invalidated. would come in and be like, ‘Oh, Toronto FC will each host a Pow- the time,” Bianchi said.
er’s closet.” Men tend to believe that women you’re wrong.’ That’s something I ered By Female Fans game this “Just keep an open mind,” Marji
Elhilali, a Grade 11 student at Gi- only watch sports for attractive never want to experience.” March. “Powered by Female Fans is said. “Sports is known for being a
braltar Leadership Academy, tried players. To Jessica Pincente, a third- While hiding their interest may intended to bring women who love guy thing. But we enjoy sports, too.”
to explain her love for basketball. year sport media student at Ryerson be easier for some women, other sports together and hopes to change Sports allows a diverse range
Despite showing him that she knew University, this stereotype is the fans are unconditional about their the narrative around how profes- of people to unite for a single
her stuff, the guy dismissed her. most troubling one of all. love for sports, regardless of the sional sports leagues view female cause. Anyone can enjoy them,
“You like them because they’re “That assumption is inherently comments and gazes from men. fandom,” Shannon Hosford, chief whether they have minimal or
tall and hot,” he added. sexist and that’s detrimental to fe- Alesia Bianchi, a first-year funeral marketing officer at MLSE, wrote vast knowledge. Whether they’re
“It was awful,” Elhilali said. “The male fans who just want to be a part services student at Humber College, in an email. passionate or quiet. Whether
fact that I had to prove my love for of sports culture,” Pincente said. is a proud Montreal Canadiens fan Hosford said it’s more about they’re male, female, or any other
sports.” Women also get questioned about who doesn’t let men get in the way “evolving” how female fans are gender identity. For Elhilali and
Being forced to justify their pas- their knowledge of sports, which of her love for hockey. treated in and outside of the arena. others alike, that shouldn’t matter.
sion for sports is an exhausting only adds to the sexism that exists in “When I hang out with a lot of Victoria Marji, a second-year “We‘re not fangirls,” Elhilali said.
process that female fans have unfor- sports culture. my friends, we do mostly talk about human resources management “We’re fans.”

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SPOOOORTS BUT NOT 17

START
Proving how unathletic we all are
Nathaniel Crouch reports on the man who’s entering the sporting world in
order to prove how nobody compares to the raw talent of student athletes
existential dread looming around
and six push ups after I go for some
McDicks nuggets.”
Have you ever seen how far
someone can throw a javelin? The
record is 321 feet. I honestly don’t
believe I can see that far. Diggins
will be swimming, tossing and run-
ning against the best of humanity in
hopes of teaching everyone just how
shitty everyone else is in compari-
son to the student athletes.
The expected time on Diggins’
swim in the 1,500-metre freestyle
is about 76 minutes. The record is
14 minutes.
Diggins has had enough of complacent viewers. He’s starting the journey to become the Having an average human be-
worlds most average student athlete | PHOTO: ISABELLA ESPALDON
ing compete will greatly increase

We’ve grown complacent watching They have the same list of abilities as
the time of each event as everyone
watches something they could go END
the student athletes of Ryerson in Superman—naturally excluding the see at their local swimming pool Touchdown, Ryerson! I think that means hello in “Footballian”. Any-
our gymnasiums, and Dimble Dig- weakness to the word “Martha”. during “senior hour”. thing can tricky, like a new language or even that maze above this box
gins is on a mission to get us out of Diggins will be among the Ryer- Diggins has earned the title of of text. We’ve only got so many weeks left before my job here as Fun &
our athletic gazing funk. son student athletes starting in the “Honourary student athlete to a Satire editor ends, so why not surprise me and play the weekly puzzle?
Whenever there is a big event or fall 2019 semester in his very own reasonable degree of scientific cer- This week we’ve got the winner’s groceries covered with a $25 Metro
game where they offer something separate category called “normal tainty” and is excited to start his new gift card, just drop by our office (SCC 207) and throw the completed
free, students flock support their person” to show to every viewer competitive lifestyle. maze in the box of destiny. That’s all you’ve got to do, so get on it!
student athletes in gold and blue just how freaking insane student “I just need everyone to know
and watch whatever sport happens athletes are. that what they do is batshit crazy
to be there. “I’ve been working hard on keep- and the only way to prove it is by Email:
To the average student, the ath- ing an absolute average bod and showing how utterly unfit the rest
letes are the equivalent of watching diet,” says Diggins. “My workout of the world is for any kind of seri-
gods play in the realm of mortals. consists of a run whenever I feel ous athleticism.” Name:
18
19

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