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Elizabeth Lambert is the modern female athlete




Elizabeth Lambert, who achieved Internet and now television fame by basically hitting, hair-pulling, and beating the tar out of BYU's women's soccer team, is the picture of the modern female athlete.

What?

Yes. And no, this is not an endorsement of her actions in any way, but given the attention she's gained from her dirty play, I think its important to now place Lambert in the appropriate social context. Elizabeth Lambert is the sum total of both positive and negative social change.

The making of Elizabeth Lambert started with the passage of Title IX, which opened the door for women to play sports and achieve a level of education equal to that of men. It was long overdue. Title IX's impact on American society can't be underscored: by giving women a sports outlet, it caused the reformation of what it means to be female.




Now, it's perfectly acceptable for a woman to be "tough" and have and show muscle. Even our first lady, Michelle Obama, is admired for her well-sculpted arms. But beyond looks, women in sports can copy not only the play of female athletes, but males players too.

Ask a WNBA player like Cappie Poindexter of the Phoenix Mercury and she'll tell you that NBA great Michael Jordan is her role model and the person she'd most like to play in a game of one-on-one basketball. In soccer, there was the dirty play of Marco Materazzi before we ever heard of Elizabeth Lambert.

The mainstreaming of women playing sports has also grew with the normalization of feminist culture. The idea of a woman as a "bitch", once thought undesirable, is now a magazine (which should be saved!), considered a complement, and used to identify a woman who's tough and would just as soon throw a punch as a man.

To me, there's nothing at all wrong with these developments and they've produced some of the most extraordinary and exciting female leaders of our time, today, from Hillary Clinton in politics to Serena Williams in tennis. No, one may not like what she said to that linesperson a few months ago, but no one can deny her expression of anger, fury, and raw power:



It's a display we're not used to seeing from a woman. But in 2009 it's far more commonplace. Is it bad? No. Is what Serena Williams, or to a much greater degree Elizabeth Lambert, a good example for female athletes to follow? Of course not. But that kind of decisive, forceful, determined person is what a leader makes and that's really the gift we all enjoy from the rise of women's sports.

Elizabeth Lambert is the modern female athlete.

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