Mark Cuban recently raised eyebrows when he said he would consider drafting Brittney Griner to play for the Dallas Mavericks. That many national sportswriters even engaged in the conversation might never have been possible without federal legislation like Title IX, passed in 1972, recognizing a woman’s right to participate in sports equal to men and level the competitive playing field.
“Women in Motion: Fitness, Sport, and the Female Figure,” a new exhibit opening Friday at the Wolfsonian-FIU (1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach), opens a window into the early part of the 20th Century, when women were barred from sports yet encouraged to keep their figures trim and attractive.
On view is everything from magazine covers to political propaganda, culled from the Wolf’s expansive collection, that depict the “athletic and healthy woman as a source of sex appeal, a basis of national vigor, and — sometimes — a figure of individual self-fulfillment,” explain organizers, who add that the images convey a powerful sense of how athletics defined femininity during the era.
“The growing participation of women in all aspects of public life is one of great transformations that the Wolfsonian’s collection documents,” says Jon Mogul, FIU’s assistant director for research and academic initiatives. “This exhibition takes an in-depth look at just one area — sports and physical recreation — showing not only the new opportunities that existed for women to be physically active, but also how the culture responded to these changes.”
May 10-Aug. 18, 2013