The girls and I went out for frozen yogurt the other day. While we were enjoying our delicious treats (and playing Connect 4 since our local fro yo place is awesome) a guy and his daughter walked in. It was immediately apparent that he was one of those annoying fools that needs the universe to listen to him spout off his bat shit ideology.
As soon as he made eye contact with the woman behind the counter, he launched into a rant about soccer and how he had figured out why Americans don’t like it. While I tried to tune him out as quickly as possible, I couldn’t avoid him repeating over and over how soccer players were like girls. He obviously found this despicable, as evident by the tone in his voice and the curl of his lip as he repeated it again and again. This, while his daughter stood quietly next to him.
I realize that putting men down by comparing them to girls (especially when it comes to athletics) has become something that some people don’t even think about anymore—but that doesn’t make it any less harmful. Some of you might roll your eyes and say that it’s just a figure of speech and it doesn’t mean anything. But it does. It means that girls are less. Less tough. Less competitive. Less worthy. Just less.
Girls should not have to hear it and accept it as a harmless figure of speech. And they definitely shouldn’t have to hear it from their fathers. I don’t care if you’re not trying to put girls down when you come out with a statement like that. I don’t care if you weren’t thinking about it or if you think girls are awesome. The second you turn “like a girl” into an insult—especially while your preteen daughter listens at your side—you are part of the problem.
I want my girls to live in a world where it doesn’t even occur to them that someone might find them less capable because of their gender. But it’s really hard to accomplish with jerks like that dad hopping up on his ignorant soapbox. I suppose the best I can do is raise them to know they are strong and capable and equal—and to teach them to shake their heads at the fools who don’t know how true that is.