“But why might a woman want to play such an aggressive and hardcore sport? Why not do something feminine?
That type of question is itself a large reason that I love rugby — it makes people reevaluate their assumptions about what it means to be a woman, to be feminine. One of my favorite parts of every season is watching the rookies join in the fall, unsure and awkward, asking themselves what on earth they’re doing here. They come to rugby having implicitly if unconsciously accepted the ubiquitous cultural messages that say a woman’s body should be decorative, not functional. There is a wonderful transformation during the season as recruits come to realize that being strong and muscular makes someone more beautiful, not less; that routinely tackling other women into the ground on the weekends not only doesn’t compromise femininity, it increases self-confidence and assertiveness; and that women really can do something that almost everything and everyone says we can’t do. I can personally name multiple women who were borderline anorexic when they started the sport, who only because of rugby began to treasure their bodies for what they could do rather than for how little fat they contained. There is almost nothing in our society besides rugby that allows women to be truly physically aggressive, to use our bodies in the same unselfconscious, unafraid, assertive way that men use theirs all the time.”
via Becoming Trees