Today I went for a run. Just 5km, at a leisurely pace. While running, I kept thinking of a video I just had seen on Facebook, featuring Kathrine Switzer who, in 1967, decided to enter and run in The Boston Marathon. She faced an outrage of verbal abuse and assault, but she finished the damned thing and her courage and determination paved the way to all long-distance women runners ever since.
The arguments against her running were that long-distance running would make her uterus fall out, she would grow a moustache, and a hairy chest would develop. This statements, mostly discredited in our days (but some of them still lingering in lighter versions), belong to a long list of myths, distorted ideas, and generalised ignorance about biology in general and women’s reproductive system in particular. However, they are all rooted in ferouscious male-based needs to control women’s bodies, their reproductive lives and, overall, maintaining a status quo of male dominance.
Well, Kathrine, I salute you and I bow to you. Above all, I thank you, for being so brave and for being such an awesome role model. I doubly enjoyed my run today because I kept thinking of you.
My uterus didn’t fall out, I don’t see any hair sprouting from my chest, and my Mediterranean moustache is trimmed and under control.