UPDATE: I emailed Natalie to ask if she would like to correct the many errors in her article Why Gymnastics Should Be Banned. Here’s her unrepentant response:
Hi, Thanks for writing to me. And no, I haven’t changed my mind about the nature of gymastics – I think it presents a harmful, damaging model of what it means to be female in our society. Why are the women supposed to smile and wear makeup through all of their feats, when the men are not?
Yes, Natalie took the opportunity to add yet another embarrassing misstatement to her list. Perhaps she should actually research our sport before writing about it. And learn how to spell the word gymnastics.
There are, so far, 68 (mostly irate) comments on her article.
===== original post Nov. 15th, 2007
A professional writer and blogger named Natalie Bennett actually put her name on an article called Why Gymnastics Should Be Banned in 2005.
She is astonishingly uninformed. And the comments on the post are outraged. Well worth reading, actually.
Here are a few of Natalie’s opinions:
These are children – usually before puberty, or with all signs of puberty disguised by huge amounts of exercise and a restricted diet – doing things that only such small lithe bodies can do. Female gymnasts are usually washed out for serious competition by the age of 18, if not 16.
And to do these things even the girls have to put in vast numbers of hours of physically hard training – and many of course will fall by the wayside with injuries before they even see the inside of a competition hall – labelled as failures as 10, or 12, or 14. And what sort of education will they have received for other careers? …
Aside from the sexualisation of routines – girls are expected to smile pleasingly while performing the most amazing physical feats – there’s a question about a sport that ensures all of its participants are washed up before the age of 18.
The answer surely is to limit the age of participation – should children of 12 really be competing in Olympics and World Championships? And should the competition really require, and be judged, on the basis of what a child’s body can do? Isn’t this child labour, and child abuse – not just in China, but everywhere?
Why Gymnastics Should Be Banned – BlogCritics.org
You might want to slap Natalie yourself by leaving yet another comment on her post.