Incredibly Annoying Stereotypes Rugby Girls Face

At the start of second year, I decided to take the plunge and sign up to the women's rugby union at my university. Two months later, it's hands down one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and my biggest regret is not having taken it up in first year. I love the sport, how friendly everyone is and how amazing the socials are. Anyway, not too long ago, I began chatting to a guy in a bar and I mentioned to him that I did rugby at university. He looked gobsmacked and said, "Oh so you're obviously a lesbian then."

There was a bit of an awkward silence so to break it I laughed and replied, "Erm no, I'm not."

He kept insisting that since I play rugby, I was a secret lesbian deep down (because who knows your own sexuality better than a random stranger on a night out amirite?)

I'd known before uni that rugby was a male-dominated sport but I hadn't actually realised that there was such a stereotype around girls doing it until I started playing. So, after talking to a few other girls who also play rugby, here are the most common stereotypes we face:

1) "You're just lesbians"- Because we play a sport that involves tackling other girls we must be lesbians…

2) "Whaaat how do you play you're so skinny/small?!"- Anyone who watches rugby or plays it would realise that some of the smallest/skinniest players are actually the most fierce/agile on the pitch because they're harder to tackle. You don't need to be a towering ogre to play rugby.

3) "You can't be very feminine."- This one annoys me massively. Yeah we might be tackling and running around on the pitch but we happily dress up and wear make-up when we want to as well.  The rugby union I play with take nights out/dressing up very seriously and I live for it.

4) "You don't look manly enough to play! "- Why on earth does a girl have to look manly to play a sport? Rugby players come in all shapes and sizes and women don't need to look manly by any means just to have an excuse to play.

There's just something about being tackled on a weekly basis that makes you really bond with your teammates and I've come to consider the girls at UoNWRFC as my second family at university. We obviously drink a lot more than the average nuclear family but we have all come across stereotypes fairly similar to or exactly like the ones I've mentioned. And the sooner they get stamped out and stop putting girls off from playing such a great sport, the better it'll be for both the older players and the newer ones.