So I’ve run into this a shocking number of times recently, and it’s really starting to piss me off.
In all of the correspondence for football, and in much of the correspondence for hockey, people talk about “your son” this and “the boys” that. I have at least one friend who thinks (wrongly) that girls should not play football. He has some lame-ass reason that doesn’t hold water, to which I usually stop listening around the point where he says: “you need to understand” or “I’ll tell you why” or somesuch thing. To be fair, I don’t think he’s saying that girls are not *capable* of playing football. He’s saying they *shouldn’t*. He also thinks that most kids under the age of…what…fifteen? Shouldn’t play tackle football. I listen to that reason more frequently than the girl thing.
I have another friend who works for someone who believes that there is woman’s work and man’s work and that ne’er the twain shall meet. The guy won’t or is incapable of making his own lunch. I’m pretty sure the guy would urinate on his own leg if his wife had to drive the tractor.
This really, really makes me angry. All of this gender-bias bullshit. If I had a daughter, you can bet your arse I’d be putting her in football. And if the minor football association gave me grief about it, I’d take them to court. It pisses me off that my boys can’t go into Guides if they want to, too (it’s not a fight I have to fight because they’re not interested. But if they are, I’ll be there with gloves on). It’s this kind of small-minded, backwards thinking that makes me livid.
There’s nothing wrong with ‘girly’ things, but that has to go both ways – if you have a son who wants to be a princess, then don’t be a nutbutter; let the kid dress up as a princess. If your daughter wants to wear boxers, just remember they’re probably better for her than a thong. If my boys want to play with dolls, I don’t mind (I kind of draw the line at Barbie and ‘Whores-R-Us’ dolls or whatever they’re called, but I’d draw that line if I had girls too). If they want tea sets and all that jazz, I’m cool with it. So much of gender identity is dictated by society, and honestly, that scares the crap out of me. Because for the most part, society is just wrong.
Part of it might be because I’ve always been a tomboy, and because if I wanted to do something, I bloody well did it. Because my mother was an amazing woman who did stuff that people of her gender weren’t supposed to do. Because my father has some backwards ideas, but he was never reticent about teaching me what I wanted to learn and supporting me in what I wanted to do.
I’ll give you that at some things, *most fellas* are more naturally gifted, and at others, *most wimmins* are more naturally gifted. And there are some things that are physically impossible for each gender. But hey. I played contact sports; I did firearms training instead of babysitting courses; I took my bike apart so that I’d know how to put it back together piece by piece. I’m a ‘jill of all trades, master of none’, if you will, and the idea that there is something I cannot our ought not do because I’m female is, frankly, idiotic.
I thought for the longest time that I wouldn’t know what to do with a girl child. But I think I do. I think I totally know what I’d do with a girl child. I would teach her what I was taught. I would teach her that most of the girls and women portrayed in the media are far worse than fantasies. I would tell her that if she wanted to play ball, or hockey, or any sport, she was welcome to play on the boys’ teams, and that if someone gave her grief, they’ve have me to answer to. I’d treat her the same as I treat my boys; we’d rough-house, we’d cook, we’d build fences…we’d do everything together. I’d raise her up to be confident, self-sufficient, and not bound by any ridiculous idea of gender roles.
I think there are a whole lot of people out there who need to get their heads out of their arses.