Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Performance of Pain: Women & the Sport of Triathlon

This lecture was very interested and related very well to the lecture the previous week about theatrical performance. The part that captured my attention was physically seeing people struggling to finish the Iron Man Competition and stopping at nothing to do so. I can see how it would be awesome to finish the race and call yourself an Iron Man, but it also looks gruesome as people are injured and crawling past the finish line. It’s frightening seeing people’s bodies just giving out and as hard as they try to pick themselves up cannot do it. I get tired at the gym after one hour; I can’t even imagine training for 8-10 hours a day!!! I think it’s great that these people are battling themselves just to finish the race, and not too interested in “beating” everyone else. I can see the pleasure in all of the pain, being proud and finishing something that you pushed yourself to extreme limits to accomplish. A sense of unity is shown as people help one another and encourage everyone to finish the race, which is very different than most competitive sports.

Also, I thought it was very interesting how women were portrayed very different from the men…they both were in the Iron Man Competition, but the women were seen as smiling and soft and the men were considered rough and all business. Even with the participants that are overcoming adversities, women are portrayed as an emotional story, as males are still seen as more tough. In reality, I think women should get more recognition from being tough because they are finishing an extremely difficult athletic event that no one’s body is supposed to handle, plus they are at a disadvantage because men’s bodies are genetically engineered to be more athletic. Rather than showing them as soft women, these women should be shown as tough warriors. Just because the cameras catch the women smiling doesn’t mean that they should be made to seem less tough than any of the male competitors, when in reality they may be a better athlete than all of the men.

I think the Danskin race is really great because anyone can finish it if they train and put their mind to it. Not everyone can train 8-10 hours a day for the Iron Man Competition, but the Danskin allows middle aged women to show that they can train, finish the competition and show that they are athletes. Also, these women don’t look like bikini supermodels from magazines; they are average and even overweight women that are still showing that they can be athletic and fit. I think races that everyone can accomplish if they work hard are more important than the ridiculously difficult races. I know the more difficult races may help people get personal recognition, but the everyday races help everyone to feel a sense of athletic accomplishment. Not everyone may be an Iron Man, but almost everyone can complete more simple athletic races if they train hard.

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