No Man’s Land Celebrates Women in Sports

No Man’s Land discusses the challenges female athletes both face and overcome.

No Man’s Land discusses the challenges female athletes both face and overcome.

Alex Weimer, Maroon-News Staff

The Hamilton Movie Theater showed a screening of the documentary film series No Man’s Land on Thursday, October 19. The film screening was brought to the community through the help of Outdoor Education, the Varsity Athletic Department and the Women’s Studies Program. 

Sabrina Farmer, a senior at Colgate concentrating in biology and Women’s Studies, opened the event by introducing a panel that would discuss the challenges women face while partaking in sports and outdoor activities. The women on the panel were Sue Brumm, a professional climber who has been involved with the Colgate climbing community for many years, Sarah Jillings, the assistant director of Hamilton College Outdoor Leadership, Martina Loncar, a varsity soccer player and junior at Colgate and Yingqi Zhang, a senior at Colgate involved in the outdoor and climbing community. 

Brumm was asked how she worked to overcome her own challenges. “[I had to focus on] what was important to me, and not let society dictate what that was. I’m not letting someone else make these decisions for me,” Brumm said. 

Brumm brought to light the important issue of women fitting into the frameworks society typically places before them. 

She pointed out that muscle is empowering to women, and encourages them to push their limits. 

“When you climb, you gain muscle,” Brumm said. There’s nothing wrong when women show their strength; if anything, they’re doing something right.

“There’s something really satisfying in smashing through a [biking] route and seeing the look on [the men’s] faces,” Jillings said. 

The discussion then turned towards what we can do as a society to help effect change.

“Women don’t get the same recognition and respect as the male teams. We need to question why this is on an individual level and local level to create change,” Loncar said. 

Jillings brought up the idea of microaggressions.

“Check your biases by seeing what you’re surprised by,” she said.

While there are differences in capabilities between men and women, they in no way negate what women are able to do. Phrases like “wow, that was really smart for a girl” and “you’re really strong for a girl” are often belittling phrases women hear on a daily basis. So next time you are surprised by what a woman can achieve, ask yourself why is it so surprising. 

The film series describes itself in its mission statement as  “a collaboration and celebration of men and women who are deeply engaged in enhancing the female presence in the adventure arena.” No Man’s Land consists of over one hundred minutes of film series, bringing together different documentaries of women “redefining the feminine.” 

There is a segment for everyone in this series. The films highlight a range of athletes from climbers, bikers and skiers, to a six-year-old surfer, an Alaskan air pilot, ballerinas, skateboarders and rollerbladers – just to name a few. They also draw attention to the intersectionality of age, race, and location in sports. Each film shows how women transcend the adversity that usually holds them back, excelling at what they do and enjoying every minute of it. If you’d like to see more information about the festival and their goals, check out their website at http://nomanslandfilmfestival.org/.

Contact Alex Weimer

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