Monday, May 20, 2013

Let Girls Be Girls

I spotted this t-shirt for sale at one of my daughter's all-girls basketball tournaments.  It's catchy, but what's it mean?  What is the subtle message we're sending?  "It's one thing to be a great girl, but that means nothing if you can't hang with the boys."
What's the message we're sending our girls?
There seems to be a popular notion that being able to keep up with the boys makes a girl better.  For all we talk about girls being equal, just as smart, strong, athletic as the boys, we  still push for the opportunity to prove our girls by hanging with the boys.  We don't want pink & frilly stuff, we want what the boys have.

Consider the big deal made over the woman who went out to be an NFL kicker. She played soccer, but that wasn't good enough, she was going for a man's job; she didn't make it.  Or the debate whether the top girl college basketball players should forego the WNBA and try-out for the NBA.  What's wrong with playing in the WNBA and being a darn good woman basketball player?  Difference in salary aside, why do they have to prove their skill by competing with Labron and Kobe?

By nature, we are, on average, the smaller, less aggressive sex, yet we want our girls to compete with and be more like the males of our species.  We don't do this to our boys.  When was the last time you heard of parents petitioning for their son to play on the girl's softball team or a male golfer to ask to hit from the women's tee?  No, no, no, that would show some kind of weakness.  What dad would buy their son the t-shirt pictured if it had the reverse message "act like a boy, play like a girl"?

Yes, there are girls that can hang with the boys.  Getting Venus, Serena, Nadal, and Federer one one court would be a great match to watch.  And it'd be fun to watch fellow Blue Hen, Della Donne and Skylar Diggins and Brittney Griner play 3-on-3 with some of the big boys.  But not to prove anything.  Not because the girls need to validate their worth and their skill.  They've already done that.  They've already proved they are great women athletes.  They don't need to also be a great male athletes.

We need to send our girls a different message.
"Act like a girl. Play like a girl. Be proud to be a girl."

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