In their book Futbolera: A history of Women and Sports in Latin America, Brenda Elsey and Joshua Nadel provide the history of women in sports by comparing cases in Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Chile, among other countries. They argue that there has been a rise in the physical education programs for girls. In their arguments, the rise in physical education for girls has been driven by eugenics concepts and the concept of proper motherhood that could have led to the changes in the sports for women. Elsey and Nadel also submitted that the women sports club could thrive beyond the school systems’ confines. These are the ideas that have been responsible for increasing the robustness and development of women leagues or their equivalent across the world. The argument advanced in this work is that women have always been excluded from sports events and activities. The exclusion of women has always acted against the development of women’s physical activities, and this has not always been better in the development of women’s sports events. The black American athletes are known to have had impeccable achievements. However, most of these achievements were being linked to men. Therefore, Elsey and Nadel provided an understanding of how Latin American women have been performing over time in sports.
In the book, women have always been disadvantaged by various factors, including bodily integrity, public space, and lack of access to leisure, mostly due to the exclusion from the national pastimes. The book also submits that in the years between the 1970s and 1980s, when different countries faced military dictatorships, the focus was being turned on women. Moreover, feminist and democratic space was expanding due to the governments’ deliberate efforts to come up with systems that could integrate women and men in different aspects of social lives. The book also submits that today, the mindsets have shifted entirely to face different changes and society’s aspects. Society has developed to overcome some of the activities that were against women being in sports. Initially, the society had not focused on developing behaviors that would permit women to participate equally in different activities, both sports and other social activities. Elsey and Nadel have also presented an understanding of different activities and how the change in the society has been responsible for influencing the women’s space in the development of sports and the development of women in the sports, including access to the leisure facility.
Elsey and Nadel have conducted a proper study and mapped the changes in sports and how women have been slowly integrated into society to practice sports. However, this book fails to interrogate the willingness of women to participate in sports activities. The book has also provided an understanding of how the feminism of the 1970s contributed to the openness and practices vital in understanding different activities. In the 1970s and 1980s, women were subjected to the practices due to the affirmative actions embraced in different parts of the world. However, one of the main issues that have not been interrogated is the role of authoritarian regimes in handling different issues and ensuring that the women participated in these sports. Women can participate in sports activities; however, the main issue that Elsey and Nadel overlooked was the contributions of women and their willingness to participate in sports events. It also failed to look at whether the events were available for women early enough. Critically, Elsey and Nadel have made their decisions based on what had been happening over time.
Elsey and Nadel should have concentrated on the mental preparedness of women to engage in sports activities. It should have interrogated how the preparedness of women contributed to the development of women’s sports events. It should also have looked at how women’s morale was guided and how this was critical in developing different aspects of society.
The development of women in sports can be looked at through the acceptability of the projects promoted and enhanced in different countries at the time. Overall, the book has understood the development of women in sports and how women have become competitive in the process. It has also presented an important aspect of women and sports and looked at how women’s body has changed in the sports industry.
Thomas Smith McNeill
Appalachian State University