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Write Or Wrong 89

Now, I'll be honest, I'm not really one you'd see marching for women's equality and such. I'm far too lazy and self-important. But lately I've been starting to really see the sexism that permeates our society at it's roots.

I've been coaching at a basketball camp for the past week and, along with three other coaches, I've been working with about forty kids. About a quarter of them females. So you can imagine a room full of 3rd through 6th graders, playing basketball. Balls bouncing, adrenaline pumping, and sexism running rampant. Boys would intentionally play harder against the girls. I wasn't sure if it conscious, but they were definitely trying to assert some measure of dominance. It was scary how these young guys were doing this and probably didn't even realize it.

Then came the end of the day when we announced the player of the day. Out of the first three days, two girls were picked as players of the day. They played hard, showed use of fundamentals, and generally outplayed the guys. When this was announced the boys immediately went into boo and hiss mode. This angered me quite a bit. But the real shocker came today when a girl made a jump shot in the face of one of the star boy players and his friends screamed "How you gonna let a GIRL do that to you, Jeff?" and "Haha, Jeff got schooled by a GIRL!". Most people would find this funny, or even light-hearted banter, but it really was a subtle and seemingly socially accepted form of sexism. Asserting that they were somehow superior, the boys used the girls perceived inferiority as a way to demean their friends. It was really disturbing.

And at the end of the day, no matter what the coaches and I said, the boys still didn't pass to the girl anywhere near as much as they did to each other. When we tried to correct them, they just shrugged and said that girl aren't as good so they shouldn't pass to them if they want to win. I just really was in awe when I heard that.

But I have to say that I always found it awkward when I played basketball or any sport with girls. I was scared to play my hardest. To throw the ball as hard. To move as fast. To move in as closely. In all honestly, I was afraid of hurting the girl. It was ingrained in me, just by seeing everything around me in life, that I act this way. I found it weird when girls would play sports instead of doing "girly stuff" like putting on make-up and shopping and all that stereotypical crap. So I can see why these young guys are the way they are.

I think about it now and realize how we are just blind to things like this. We automatically assume roles and abilities based on gender. We make snap judgments based on skirt or pants, body hair, and make-up. We just tend to keep perpetuating this world where women really still are second class citizens. I really don't have anything more to say than it should stop. If every male in the world could realize these socially constructed barriers, and females could not immediately conform to them, then life would be so much better.

Thanks kids. You taught me a lesson.