Crossing a very high bar

In the comments that followed this Robert Stacy McCain piece on contemporary feminism, McCain and Roxeanne de Luca found themselves talking about the pole vault, an event that hasn’t been always open to women. “The powers that be,” said de Luca, “told us that it was bad for our uteruses.” McCain, not too surprisingly, called for an investigation into this claim once he gets an NIH grant, possibly to steal a march on noted amateur gynecologist Andrew Sullivan.

I, of course, have no idea as to whether this is true or not, but I am reasonably certain it’s not a factor as regards external appearance:

Mary Sauer is an American pole-vaulter; she appeared unclothed in the September Playboy [2004] “Women of the Olympics” pictorial. I of course had checked out the fine print, and had found this little gem:

“I’m afraid of heights. But when I pole-vault I can’t tell how high in the air I am. I’ll go driving down the freeway and see an overpass sign that reads CLEARANCE 14 FEET, 10 INCHES, and I think, Wow, I’ve jumped over that.”

She continued to vault through 2007, at which time she was in her early thirties; I rather suspect that if something horrible had happened to her internal workings, we’d have heard about it.


1 comment

  1. Roxeanne de Luca »

    21 March 2011 · 12:54 am

    She’s gorgeous. WOWZA – and I say that as a woman.

    Pole-vaulting was reintroduced as a woman’s track and field sport when I was in high school; the men had always been allowed to compete it it. Things like that are not at all unusual: when I was growing up, girls in other towns were told that they couldn’t have travel basketball teams, but the boys could, because it was bad for girls to play basketball on the road (or something). The middle school town team didn’t let the girls have an A league a few years back, but the boys could, so they could play the top competition but the girls couldn’t. One league in Texas still has girls running a shorter distance in cross-country (i.e. not a full 5k), which is reminiscent of the prohibitions on women running marathons. Girls’ ice hockey was almost unheard of when I was growing up.

    I certainly do not pretend that we are equally as strong as men, but I think that women’s teams take care of that – you have women running marathons and competing against each other, and men running marathons and competing against each other. Then McCain wonders why I call myself a feminist.

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