03 April 2012

Kathrine Switzer

Kathrine Switzer of Syracuse found herself about to be thrown
out of the normally all-male Boston Marathon when a husky
companion, Thomas Miller of Syracuse, threw a block that tossed
a race official out of the running instead.

These photos are from 1967. I recommend this report at NPR (listen to the interview with Switzer) for a few reasons. First, it was not so long ago (it mat still be the case) that Americans thought that women doing unnatural things would cause them to grow hair on their chests, and so forth. Second, for those who think social norms are unalterable, the transformation of women's athletics is a standing and massive counterexample. Finally, as Switzer explains, there was no "political" agenda here, she just wanted to run. That's how social change works sometimes.

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