Lady Vikings: Traditional or an outdated view of women?



Senior Mia Froccaro goes for the birdie during a match against East Meadow on April 19. The badminton team is one of the school’s only all girls teams

Will Gropper , Contributing Writer

Men’s teams at Schreiber High School are called the Vikings, while

women’s teams are called the Lady Vikings.  After 65 years of these

titles, in an era when political correctness is becoming ever more important, the school is finally examining the validity of these names.

Many girls have voiced their opinions against being continued to be

known as the Lady Vikings.  Historically, many feel the name is

inaccurate, since Vikings were a historical group that included women. What’s more, Viking women had a great deal of social agency. They had the power to own property, request a divorce, and get her dowry back if she chose to end her marriage.

Men are not known as the Men Vikings, or the Gentlemen

Vikings, which would be the parallel to Lady Vikings.  Therefore, there

is no need to refer to Schreiber’s female athletes as the Lady Vikings.

This is especially true in sports that are clearly women or men.  For

example, badminton consists of only girl players who compete in their

league, yet the team is still known as the Lady Vikings.  The same goes

for sports with different seasons for boys and girls.  This is present

in the Lady Vikings, who compete in swim meets in the fall season,

while the Vikings swim in the winter season.

“I think many people have tried to talk about changing the name from

the Lady Vikings, but it is kind of a sensitive topic with the current

feminist climate,” said junior Maddy Feigin.

Because women’s sports are known as the Lady Vikings, especially due

to the fact that the word “lady” has historically been tied to traditional notions of femininity and politeness, many feel that referring to female athletes as Lady Vikings is somewhat reductive.  Plenty of students feel that the name does not allow for increased diversity in sports and only

re-enforces stereotypes of athletes.

“Boys and girls sports should have equal recognition for the same

sports name,” said junior Jacob Fain.  “Being called the same sports

team should not be an issue.”

At Schreiber, many students are concerned that the name

may have negative effects on the attention paid to student-athletes

who are young women.

“As a girl in sports, I definitely feel like  more attention is paid

to sports for boys instead of girls,” said senior Tali Crowley, “A lot

of times, people go to boys games. They are more widely advertised.”

However, some students take the opposite approach to changing the

names. They do not see a strong need to change the name of sports

after over fifty years of Varsity sports at Schreiber.

“Though I think being called the same name should not be an issue, I

also do not see an issue for girls to want a separate name,” said Fain.  “It’s traditional.”

Is there a next step after changing the names of sports, such as

integrating sports teams? That question is a little more cloudy. There

are concerns out there regarding gender and sexuality with regard to sports.  One such concern came to the spotlight in 2014, when Michael Sam became the first openly gay NFL player.  Sam was a key player in college, earning the 2013 SEC defensive player of the year.  A top prospect, many believed he would be picked in the first round in professional sports.

However, teams passed up on him.  He wasn’t drafted until the late 7th

round as the sixth to last pick by the Rams.  Although he made history,

he retired just one year later after being cut.

“Although it is anticipated that sports ideology is associated with

both sexism and negative attitudes toward gays and lesbians, these

associations may differ by gender.  The relationships of the

institutions of sports with women, both physical and symbolic, have

often been subject to tensions,” said Joseph Harry of Northern

Illinois University.

In light of students’ diverse opinions, it will be interesting to see whether the present Lady Vikings will retain their current title or abandon tradition in favor of a more modern moniker.