Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Qualifying Times: Points of Change in U.S. Women's Sports

Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Qualifying Times: Points of Change in U.S. Women's Sports

Article excerpt

Qualifying Times: Points of Change in U.S. Women's Sports. By Jaime Schultz. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014. Pp. xiv, 254, notes, index. Paper, $26.00.)

When my sixteen-year-old daughter took interest in the book sitting on the couch I knew the marketing department at the University of Illinois Press had hit a home run. The cover of Qualifying Times: Points of Change in U.S. Womens Sports features a close-up of the iconic celebration by Brandi Chastain upon the U.S. Women's Soccer team winning the World Cup in 1999. The photo drew my daughter to the book and encouraged a conversation between us about some of the issues concerning women involved in sports in the twentieth century. But this book is far more than an interesting cover. Jaime Schultz, an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Women's Studies at Penn State University, has researched and written an important study of how issues specific to women and their bodies (such as handling menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth through athletic training and performance) have influenced the ways in which women could participate in sports, and society's responses to their competitions. In each of her seven chapters, Schultz "addresses the genealogy of an element of women's physical culture, including the precursors and cultural conditions that encouraged its inception" and explains how "each aspect brought with it a unique set of controversies and evinced clashes between dominant, residual, and emergent ideologies about femininity and athleticism" (p. 9).

Schultz draws on sources from several national and international archival collections, such as the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance in Springfield, Massachusetts; the International Olympic Committee Historical Archives in Lausanne, Switzerland; the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum in Newport, Rhode Island; and the National Association of Physical Education for College Women Collection at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. These primary sources, along with an extensive and thorough secondary source base, guide Schultz' assessments of the gynecological invasions of sex-testing endured by some female athletes, the hygienic concerns surrounding menstruation, the sexist animosity sparked by Title IX mandates as well as athletic fashion decisions, and the racial divisions embedded in social practices deemed acceptable (such as the ability of certain athletes to pull their hair into a pony tail). In the introduction, Schultz explains that she does not engage in a comprehensive gendered history of women's sport; rather, the analysis in Qualifying Times is "meant to tease out some of the complexities brought to bear by analyzing several elements in women's sport" (p. …

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