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Lady Pointers

Updated: Feb 14, 2020

Lady Pointers and Why We Should Stop

By Retta Karpinski

Using the phrase Lady Pointer devalues our athletes and perpetuates the idea that female sports are somehow less important than their male counterparts.

The word lady comes from the Old English hlāf, meaning loaf. The word lord originates from the Old English hlāfweard, meaning bread-keeper. Like Eve from Adam’s rib, we are all familiar with this age-old Western tradition: men dominate, women placate. But of course, it’s different today. Feminist waves of the 20th century began to tear down gender norms and double standards, just as the word ‘lady’ has evolved over the centuries. However, this term still conjures up images of polished pearls and perfected propriety, just as traditions of sexist ideals and expectations still affect us today.

The term Lady Pointer is an oxymoron, contrasting the grit and spirit of an athlete with the refined propriety of a ‘lady’ and even implying that women aren’t expected to play sports (she is not a Pointer, but a ‘lady’ Pointer). This devalues female athletes. How ridiculous is it to say: Gentlemen Pointers destroyed Hoover’s football team? How can you tackle someone like a gentlemen? The term ‘ladies’ was used in order to distinguish between women’s sports and other sports. By doing this, we are reducing committed athletes to their gender. Why should we add a qualification? We’re all athletes.

Organized sports, particularly baseball and boxing, developed in the 19th century and became the epitome of masculinity for many Americans. Because sports developed with men, it was difficult for female athletes to gain recognition. Even to this day, people still believe that men are better at sports. In the book, Playing with Boys: Why Separate is Not Equal in Sports, the author explains that women’s bodies are made better for endurance and asks why so many sports, including track and swimming, have shorter races for women. Also, despite amassing more revenue and doing better than their male counterparts, the US Women’s soccer team are still fighting for equal pay, at one point in 2016 making 38 cents for every man’s dollar. This inequality perpetuates the idea that women’s sports are not as important as their male counterparts and reinforces negative stereotypes and distinct gender expectations.

Using Pointers in place of Lady Pointers is not a question of “political correctness” but of inclusivity. As more and more people start to challenge our rigid gender boxes, dividing sports between Pointer and Lady Pointer can send discriminatory messages to those who don’t identify as a ‘lady’. Using Pointers to refer to all athletes, including female athletes, can lead to a more unified identity of all Point Loma Pointers. We aren’t watching girls play sports but simply watching sports.


Lady Pointers: What’s the Harm?

By Sophia Sullivan

The phrase lady pointers is not a degrading term, but a term of recognition for women. With all the progress female athletes have made, to diminish them to the semantics of their own title is insulting to their accomplishments.

Over the decades, we have made an immense amount of progress to extend rights to all factions of people. Although this fight for equality is not over, even in the 21st century, to revert back to old english definitions is to disregard all progress made throughout time. As we evolve so does our language. We can take the meaning of lady for ourselves or we can fall victim to century old definitions. Even so, the term lady comes with it a sense of respect, used to address a woman of high standing since times such as the renaissance.

For years, female athletes have been fighting for the recognition they clearly deserve. In the last few years our lady pointers have gone to CIF championships in multiple sports, namely soccer and volleyball. As lady pointers, they have not only improved their teams and proven themselves throughout the state, but they’ve also kept a high level of academic achievement. Our own Charlie Ekstrom made it all the way to Stanford for beach volleyball and her impressive academics. It's easy for a majority of sports to fall through the cracks at the expense of what college would deem “revenue generating” sports, such as men’s football or men's basketball. Creating an entire section for our female athletes is just another way to celebrate their great achievements and inclusion in sports over the years.

Women have had many great accomplishments in gaining equality and establishing themselves in the competitive world of sports. In 1972, Title 9 was passed stating: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” This means that when applied to sports in public schools, womens sports will receive the same treatment as men's sports. This is one of the many steps forward we have made as a society to breaching our inequality gaps. It's been mentioned that the women's soccer team, while generating more revenue than the mens team was receiving less pay but this was simply due to lousy union contract deals, not systematic patriarchal oppression.

To reach such a high point in our development of women's rights, where the biggest concern of inequality is in the semantics of the sports team titles just further proves the awe-inspiring growth and achievements of our society.


Lady Pointers: I Want a Bite of the Apple

By Tim Fraher

I’ve always wanted to call myself a Lady Pointer. It has a certain je ne sais quoi to it that runs amiss with the much simpler label of “pointer”. Aside from the pleasant sound as it rolls off the tongue, being able to call yourself a Lady Pointer, regardless of your gender, is a power move. Let your contemporaries know where you lie in your views. Let the normaties of the world dissolve away around you. You are you, not defined by your labels, but duly a product of your own definitions.

It’s awkward, I know. Some may even call me crazy. But this mentality reflects the superficially-concerned spirit of Point Loma High School. Join me.

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