Is women's lacrosse the most sexist American sport?

I need to start this by saying I'm very proud of the SU women's lacrosse team. I didn't really watch, but it seemed like their two comebacks on their way to the national championship game showed tremendous heart and determination. And making it to the title game is an achievement to be absolutely proud of.

My beef, however, is with the sport of women's lacrosse. I also know not everyone agrees with me on this point, but it is my strong personal opinion. Also, please correct me on my inaccuracies with the rules below, as I admit I'm not an expert by any means - and yes, I know that hurts my overall argument in this case.

I love lacrosse. I didn't know much about it until I went to Syracuse from '04-'08. When I was a senior in high school, the first game I ever watched was the SU/Navy national title game in May 2004, and I was hooked for life.

Women's lacrosse is not lacrosse, and I believe it is a product of archaic, sexist rules, which should be addressed and fixed. Let's discuss some major points ...

1. The overall rules

I can not tell you half the rules for women's lacrosse, but I know many of them are distinctly different. The lines are different. The crease is different. There is some sort of free shot on certain penalties (right?). Honestly, I have no idea, because every time I've tried to watch it I can't figure it out. All I know is it seems pretty different.

2. Checking

This falls into rules, but should have its own category. One of the reasons men's lacrosse is great is because of the physical play combined with the high speed of the game. While women's sports have grown a great deal in the past few decades, sports like women's lacrosse and women's ice hockey still do not allow the same level of body and stick checking as their male counterparts. I believe this is an archaic notion that women can't handle the physical play. But I've seen and know women's lacrosse and hockey players, and some of them could probably kick the crap out of me, so I think they can handle it. Fragile women do not play these sports, so they should not be treated like they are fragile.

Above all, I will never understand the idea that women shouldn't be allowed to hit women just like men are allowed to hit men. The sports should be exactly the same, in my opinion.

3. Equipment

The lack of hitting somewhat negates the need for the same protection (I guess). As you can see in these photos from a previous post , they wear goggles instead of helmets, and basically no shoulder, elbow or glove protection. This also puts an emphasis on limiting the contact because there is no protection from a hit or a check in the wrong area.

There are also differences with the sticks, which I actually think are a good thing and should be the same for the men's game, because the smaller pockets speed up the game, but this is a different argument for a different time.

But the #1 thing that stuck out to me was the skirts. Why do women's lacrosse players wear skirts (clearly this is optional, since NW seemed not to be wearing them)? Women's basketball players wear shorts. Women's hockey players wear the same type of pants as the men. It again makes the women's game seem different (and somewhat inferior) to the men's game.


I think men and women should play the exact same sport. I think it should have the same rules and be played with the same equipment. Some minor tweaks would be fine. For example, women's basketball is the same as the men's game, but with a smaller ball and a slightly different three point line. But the scoring is the same, the court is the same, and the rules are essentially the same.

I believe that by creating two separate sets of rules for men's and women's lacrosse, it is perpetuating stereotypes that women can't handle physical sports and are inferior to men. It's basically the same as when women's basketball used to be played with 6 players, which I think most people agree is pretty ridiculous at this point.

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