Gertrud Pfister is a renowned scholar of sports and a long-time colleague here at Berkshire Publishing. (Gertrud and I were coauthors on the International Encyclopedia of Women and Sports, published by Macmillan.) She has just sent her chapter “Challenging the Gender Order: Women on the Gridiron,” and this paragraph explains the challenge she took on:
Being aware of the demonstrative masculinity of football players and the aggressive “nature” of the game, I was not surprised that American colleagues laughed about me or shook their heads when I asked them about the opportunities and challenges of women participating in this game. They doubted that women play football or – if they do – that their matches are serious competitions. All Americans with whom I discussed this topic were convinced that even if female footballers existed, their activities could not to be considered as “athletic endeavors” and as “real” football.
Gertrud is German, and brings an essential international perspective to Football: An American Obsession Goes Global, as author and as co-editor with Gerald Gems.