fighting sexism

Illustration by Billy Alexander from

Well, not exactly.

It seems that many of the women of Roller Derby don’t like the idea of men skating the game.

Why in the world would men want to invade women’s territory?

Well, if you think Roller Derby started with its revival in the early part of the century, then I can understand your feelings.  However, Roller Derby was created in 1935 as a game for men and women (or if you prefer, women and men).

I guess when something disappears for 30 or so years, you get a different perspective.  But the two sexes had always been the ying and yang of the skating sport.  You didn’t mention Wes Aronson without Kitty Nehl, Mary Youpelle without Russ Massro, Bert Wall and Bobbie Mateer, Gerry Murray and Gene Gammon, Ken Monte and Toughie, Red Smart and Joyce Beasely, Charlie O’Connell and Joan Weston, and a number of male skaters and Ann Calvello, and on and on.

The game was designed to be the perfect American game:  equality between the sexes.  Men and women skating exactly the same rules, and the spectators loved it.

The Derby women today have a huge advantage because they caught the idea first, developed their own leagues, and have reached a very high level of skating.  The men have a lot of catching up to do, but they will.

Will they skate against each other?  I don’t think it would be a good idea;  each will have achieved his or hers own identity.  And I foresee when an evening of Roller Derby might consist of  a two-half men’s match and the same for the women’s teams.  Separate scores, separate leagues, separate standings.

No other sport does it……what a huge spectator attraction.  Just you wait and see.