Re-examining what we are teaching through team sports

we continue to gender segregate team sports

I’ve heard it said that who you are as a teenager is essentially who you will always be, that your personality is pretty much set at that point. I’m not sure how true that is, but it worries me. I remember being a teenager and in high school and it was a pretty sexist time. It’s obvious that a lot has changed since 1999, but how much has the sexism changed? Every community is going to be different, sure. I know that some towns are very involved in football programs and that such programs do a better job of fostering sexism than expelling it by it’s very nature. Any “all-boys club” such as gendered team sports will tend to do this. That’s kind of the problem with team sports as we know it in schools, generally. It’s great to teach teamwork and cooperation, but aren’t teaching that all people need to be included. It doesn’t teach cooperation and teamwork between people of different genders unless you happen to go to a school with incredible progressive sports. It’s easy to integrate other genders into drama clubs and yearbook committees because there’s no chance of them getting physically hurt by a boy.

But sometimes they will get physically hurt by boys. Sometimes they will be hurt in all kinds of ways by boys that are supposed to be on the same team and sometimes they will hurt the boys. They will need to learn to deal with it and so will the boys. Boys need to learn how to have girls on their team and that they can be valuable members of any team. They need to learn that anyone who identifies as other than a boy can be on their team and be valued members. We spend so much time concerned that these boys will physically hurt someone that goes out for the same team that we lock in their perception that the girls can’t handle it and trans and gender variant kids are so wrong they have no place on a team. If a girl is tough or physically strong enough to try out for an aggressive team and does well enough at try-outs to make the team on the same criteria, it does no one any good to tell them that her vagina makes her ineligible for that team. She is no less likely to get hurt than any boy that is on that team. If a trans or gender variant kid tries out for a team and make it, ze should be able to be accepted on the team. The only exception is when certain team members sometimes get singled out and targeted due to diversity issues on the same or opposing team. That creates problems. But it didn’t stand in our way for integrating races onto sports teams. It shouldn’t be the deciding factor in integrating girls and other genders.

Of course, this whole argument is based not on whether or not it is fair to exclude non-boys but whether or not we are teaching boys the lessen that we think are. If we are using team sports to teach team members to cooperate and work well in diverse groups, than we need to integrate everyone into those groups and not single any group out from trying to be on the team. If we’re teaching them something else, than that argument is for another day. If we aren’t teaching boys how to be on a team with non-boys in team sports that really are great for that reason, than when do we plan on teaching it to them? When are we planning on teaching boys that sometimes you will hurt a girl when you don’t intend to? When are we going to teach them how to handle it and when are we going to teach the girls how to handle it? Why isn’t it important to us to integrate all genders onto all types of teams in schools, especially since there are very few teams in the professional world that are still segregated that way?


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Note: As is pointed out in the comments, to de-segregate gendered teams would also mean the end of all-girl teams. The sexism involved in maintaining all-girl teams (and gyms) is just as much of a problem as all-boy teams when discussing the importance of teaching teamwork to teenagers. While I’m sure there are many reasonable arguments for maintaining these teams, I’m sure that we can figure out a way to accomplish this without teaching that anyone is less qualified for anything based solely in their genitals or gender expression.

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31 thoughts on “Re-examining what we are teaching through team sports

  1. Hi Heather,
    Thanks for your post. I had never really thought about this before. I have always felt that men were in “the team” and wives and girlfriends are like an outer cirlce, surrounding a tight knit group of males. Which sports do you think both men and women could play together? Ultimate frisbee?
    Thanks again,
    Sarah

    • I think any sorry could be played by both together. I don’t believe in forced integration, but allow them to try out and meet the standards. I’ve known women and girls who would appreciate the chance and could do it. We would be pushing standards and not gender at that point.

    • I think any sport could be played by both together. I don’t believe in forced integration, but allow them to try out and meet the standards. I’ve known women and girls who would appreciate the chance and could do it. We would be pushing standards and not gender at that point.

      • Interesting. I’m chewing that over. I’m thinking about women playing in the NFL, which seems jarring for some reason. Then I’m thinking about women being on the front line in the army, which doesn’t. Thanks for putting forward ideas that make me question my beliefs on this issue!

  2. Why the focus on boys teams? Why the focus on aggressive sports that include real risks of injuries. Is the volleyball team not just as gender segregated at the football team? Wouldn’t integrating the volleyball team do just as much to break up gender segregation in sports while not having to deal with the arguments about physical safety.

    If you start arguing for the integration of boys onto girls teams, you will see what the real arguments against integration are.

    • Hi genderneutral language. I’m confused by what you mean. I’ve always seen volleyball played by gender mixed teams, but then I have never watched it being played professionally/on TV. Are you referring to sponsorship deals etc in the professional sport? I’d be interested to read a blog post on this 🙂

        • Ah ok. The times when I’ve visited the states and seen adults playing volleyball in tournaments/leagues (linked to bars) I always saw gender mixed teams. I liked that. It seemed kind of social and a fun thing to do.
          “If you start arguing for the integration of boys onto girls teams, you will see what the real arguments”. By “real arguments”, what do you mean?

          • When arguing to “Take away privilege from boys” and “empower girls” by integrating boys teams. The focus is on “Taking Privilege away from boys” and “Empowering Girls”. The functional foundational reasons we have gender segregated teams fall off the radar.

            If we start talking about integrating the girls teams the functional foundational reasons for gender segregation are what is talked about. The simple fact is that in sports girls can’t compete with boys. Women can’t compete with men. Males are larger stronger faster more agile and are more durable. These are biological differences, not some social construct. The real reason we have gender segregated teams isn’t that girls are not allowed on boys teams, but that boys are not allowed on girls teams. We do this so that girls can play, and play competitively with others whom biology allows them to be competitive with. If we don’t have male exclusions from sports teams the all-male teams will dominate to such an extent that only all-male teams are actually competitive.

            In short the gender segregation of sports isn’t “No girls on the boys teams” but “No boys on the girls teams” and for good reason. But these reasons won’t get talked about if we are talking about the non-existant restriction of “No girls on the boys teams”

          • “When arguing to “Take away privilege from boys” and “empower girls” by integrating boys teams. ”
            I’ve had a quick scan of the internet, and it would seem that you are right in some ways. Women’s Olympic records still differ from men’s by10%, and it seems to have been that way since the 80s.
            You wrote:
            “When arguing to “Take away privilege from boys” and “empower girls” by integrating boys teams. ”
            That is not my interpretation of the article/argument put forth here.
            Here are some quotes from this article that I think sums it up:
            “Boys need to learn how to have girls on their team and that they can be valuable members of any team. ”
            “If we are using team sports to teach team members to cooperate and work well in diverse groups, than we need to integrate everyone into those groups and not single any group out from trying to be on the team.”
            I think this article is really talking about what we are teaching through sports. I don’t have a statistic of how many young people go to high school versus how many go on to become pro/semi pro athletes, but it seems like a very small minority. Surely men and women could play soccer, ultimate Frisbee, or touch rugby together. Some sports could be co-ed and some could be segregated?
            I find this article interesting due to my own (limited) personal experiences of sport. Men at the gym who seem to have an attitude that I am in their way when using the weights (even though strength training helps protect women from osteoporosis, which is why I do it), men on the college darts team who continually pushed in front of me at practice to try to stop me from practicing, men at college who became really upset when I won at poker and started to gender shame me… I’m sure you will agree that these things aren’t right. So how can we stop these things from happening? Surely gender segregated sports contributes to these sorts of attitudes and behaviours?

          • Okay, so I just now got a chance to check on the blog and am apparently getting here way too late. Also, my phone is having issues loading whole comments passed the first paragraph, so I apologize for not bring able to fully respond to every point.
            I was remembering my high school when I write the post, which only offered shorts for boys, except cheerleading and soccer. We had quite a few girls who wanted to play football or wrestle but was never given the opportunity to at least compete. I’m pretty sure the school is still not offering anything else for girls.
            I don’t support it either way, personally. As Sarah mentioned, we seem to have less of a problem with women in the army then girls playing football with boys. Or boys playing soccer with girls. I also didn’t say that out was to take privilege away from anyone or to empower anyone else. I mean for standards to be enforced over gender.

          • Unfortunately, I don’t think we can just talk through these existing behaviors and attitudes. I think those of us who are bothered by them can just not model them, and teach our children not to do them. We can look at the things that teach this to our kids and try to ensure they learn what we believe the right thing to be.
            I have known people who have changed their minds based on the behavior of people around them, though. I don’t have a sport example for this, but I see it with women around my husband. Many act like he must be failing as an at home parent because he’s a man. Then they meet my son and realize that care work has more to do with being a nurturing person than having a uterus.

          • That’s really sad that women treat your husband in that way. Do you think they feel threatened? (I suppose that’s a whole other post!)
            I suppose this is where we apply Ghandi’s words, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Change can be scary sometimes, but it’s what life is all about.

            I see that your “Pinboard” section that you’re a big reader. Do you know any studies of mixed gender sports teams, with segregation based on ability?

            I’ve just been reading about this issue online through some googling and I found something interesting which I hadn’t considered before. Due to the fact that girl’s bodies mature faster than boys’, the “biological difference” argument from people pro gender segregation makes little sense. (“There is no one-size-fits-all time when genders should be separated in sports. Some girls develop faster than boys and may be able to compete with boys their age well into puberty. An example of such a case was a 12-year-old Ohio girl named Makhaela Jenkins, who in 2013 fought her school’s district in court over her right to play on a boys-only football team. She won. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, there were more than 1,500 girls playing on boys football teams that year, and the trend was growing with a 17 percent uptick since 2009.” http://www.livestrong.com/article/494431-what-are-the-benefits-of-girls-boys-playing-sports-on-the-same-team/)

          • That is really interesting. I hadn’t seen anything about it before I write the post, unfortunately. I’m gonna have to pin that study. I like to keep supporting studies and such in the pinboards and books. Thanks for the referral!

          • So, lets start with the less controversial. I think you are dramatically understating the pefromance difference by phrasing it as 10%. While I don’t doubt that is accurate, it doesn’t grasp the affects of the difference.

            The article didn’t talk about “Taking privilege away from boys”. It was an unspoken assumption that the argument for integration was based upon. The focus was on integrating the boys teams, with out mention of the girls teams. It talked about “The boys clubs” of gender segregated teams without also talking about “The girls clubs”. It talked about teaching boys girls can be valuable parts of a team without saying the reverse. “Taking privilige away from boys” was very much an unspoken assumption.

            Team activities do teach how to cooperate. It’s the SPORTS part that is the issue. Sports are about physical prowess to such an extent that if the teams are not male exclusionary, they are female exclusionary. If the team is going to be competitive enough to teach teamwork and the other life skills it is going to be competitive enough to exclude women. (with few exceptions like darts and bowling). There is no need to learn teamwork and cooperation on the team for “Everyone gets a Trophy” days.

            Gender integrated teams could be a very good tool to teach these skills and gender inclusion. They just need to not be SPORTS teams. The Debate team, the chess team, the dance team, Drama club, music bands, Heck even “Mathleets” are all great teams to integrate.

            Lastly, your personal experiences. The things you described are just right and good, not problems. The problem is your interpretation. The problem is that you are female and don’t have lived experience from the male perspective.

            The people weight training did treat you as if you where in the way. Because you where in their way. It wasn’t because you where female, it’s because they are full of themselves. A full of them selves that they need to be the initiator/pursuer in relationships. A full of them selves to have the confidence to do the entire male bravado thing. They treat me the same way, and it’s not something that should change (well not a first step change, but that’s a different issue)

            People on the darts team push in from of every one else. This wasn’t some sort of gender bias against you. It was the combination of competitiveness and a shortage of practice space. You could try to make a dart team that excluded males to alleviate the crowding, but then your doing gender segregation.

            People get upset when they loose at poker. The few time’s I’ve played really competitively people where waiting for me in the parking lot with bats and tire irons. That your detractors stopped at insults shows more “Female Privilege” than “gender shaming”

            You have only ever lived from your perspective. Your perspective isn’t incorrect, just very incomplete. A more well rounded perspective is needed to properly understand the dynamics of why Gender interaction in the various ways you described.

          • This article does not discuss taking privilege from boys because I don’t consider gendered teams of any sort to be a privilege, so don’t presume to speak for me. Teams of grown individuals who choose to associate with each other are also not part of this debate. This is about telling children that not everyone who has ability can play on a team because of body parts that are not used to play the game and then trying to tell them that we are all equal in a separate context. Treat boys and girls like life is based on ability in all facets our don’t, but don’t hide behind stereotypes in order to do it.

          • I believe you that there was no intent to pose the issue in terms of “Male privilege”, but you did. This would be a great opportunity for you to self examine the unintentional and subconscious biases that you used when writing this post.

            I was talking about younger individuals as well. High School and College. It is inappropriate to call college women “girls”, but neither are they fully formed and experienced adults. They are still learning and should be part of this discussion.

            Unless you are talking about toddler sports where the peak of prowess is not tripping over your own feet, the biological physical differences between the male body and the female body will exclude females from competing. The three options for sports teams are
            1)Not explicitly gender exclusionary, but functionally exclusionary based on physical differences.
            2)Not explicitly gender exclusionary teams and a “Loser’s bracket” for the people with the inferior gendered body.
            3)Explicitly gendered teams that segregate along gender lines.

          • Actually no, you inserted it with your anti-feminist expectations. “Girls” refers to children, youth, and adolescents, not fill grown women. Full grown women are note post of this discussion because it is not about whether it not we segregate. Fire those who posy attention without their own negative expectations, this post is telling children that they learn team work through sports and then exclude purple who are able to compete based on bias and stereotypes.
            The plea is not even to de-segregate, but to be honest about why you do, especially when speaking to children.

          • I am not challenging your conclusion. I’m challenging your premise. We are not excluding people that are able to compete based on bias and stereotypes. We are excluding people that are most able to compete from competing with people that wouldn’t stand a chance.

            The dramatic biological physical differences between males and females starting about the age of 6 are not biases or stereotypes. They are biological physical differences. If we are to be honest with children about why we segregate sports teams the reason is that physically girls just don’t have the strength speed or stamina to compete with boys.

          • Your premise assumes that all girls can’t compete, which is not true, especially for these ages. This was exactly my point. You assume that an overall assessment of the gender or sex pertains to individual ability. Many girls could and would compete. Even if they didn’t do we’ll at tryout, what’s the harm in letting their individual ability determine this over their “typical” or average” ability which is assumed by gender?
            When we speak in these terms, we exclude the individual and individual accomplishments.

          • Girls can’t compete, even as young as 6, girls just can’t keep up. There are very real biological reasons for this. The shape of female hip bones does not allow for the twisting of the trunk needed to get powerful throws. The size of the chest cavity doesn’t allow for lungs big enough to have the stamina males do. These are very real biological differences.

            Lets compare to race. There are racial differences. These racial differences amount to something on the order of a 0.01% difference in physical abilities. This very small difference leads to defacto segregation in sports like Basketball where you have very small teams. Even at the High school level this tiny difference in racial performance leads to very significant racial imbalances. Sarah H. said the difference between male performance and female performance isn’t 0.01%, but 10%. The minutia of racial differences lead to significant racial imbalances. The dramatic gender differences will lead to gender exclusion of women the way it did before Title IX mandated the creation of special boy-free teams for girls to compete in.

            I have seen attempts to allow gender inclusive tryouts. They don’t turn out well. It really puts the facts on the table that girls can’t compete with boys in sports and turns off many girls from sports entirely. There is “The Team”, no longer “The boys Team”, and the loser’s team for people with the wrong gender body to compete for real.

            We have gender segregated teams because it’s more important to support the 99.99% of girls that can do well on the girls teams than it is to support the 0.01% of girls physical enough to be the worst player on the boys team.

            By segregating the teams we allow for individual achievement and individual accomplishments by allowing girls to compete in a boy-free environment where they are competing against others of similar ability.

          • You are entitled to your opinion. If you wasn’t to put people into little boxes of what they should and should not be showed till do bard on generalities, stereotypes, and averages, go ahead. I simply won’t.
            This is the same training that allows me to believe thay not all men underestimate women, though the majority if those that I have met do just that.
            At no point well you convince me that the non-petite and rugged women that I have known are less qualified to play on a rough team then those men who are smaller in stature to them and those who care less about what they do then them. I don’t care what the percentages are. This mentality kept women out of the official seemed services for millennia while they still served theircountries when attacked and do quite well doing that on foreign soil now.
            Putting people in gendered boxes is wrong when you are looking for the best. You never know who is out there. But you keep doing it if you want to, as you clearly do.

          • If you are seeing rough and rugged women loose spots on teams to boys that are smaller weaker and slower, than this is a problem. I have NEVER seen this happen. NEVER. While there are lots of women that are larger and stronger than the small and weak boys, these boys are also excluded from the sports teams. It’s not a question of if there are ANY boys that ANY girls can out compete. It’s a question of if there are any girls that can out compete the select few top males that are the most athletic in the school.

            Also Sarah H. pointed something important out. I am talking from a US perspective. If you are not, then this is probably the issue. In the US Title IX limits male participation in HS and College Sports to the level of female interests. This means that the sports spots for boys are severly limited and only the best of the best of the best get to play, while at the same time there are more spots for girls than there are girls willing to play. This “any girl that wants to play” vs “The best of the best of what boys can do” is a large part of my perception.

          • I have seen these girls get turned away and not allowed to apply based on gender while the these boys were given an opportunity. This is an opportunity that costs nothing. If that girl had been allowed to try out without court intervention and was simply not good enough, you wouldn’t have a substandard member of the team.
            That being said, this post is about the fact that every coach I have ever met or seen on TV talks about sports teaching cohesion, teamwork and leadership. It teaches how important those things are and then it excluded some groups from attempting to be on the team. It costs nothing to let a girl or boy try out for a team. These ideas also keep certain types of sports gendered, as you pointed out. To me, this is a bad idea. Kids shouldn’t be told what they are allowed to be interested in based on gender. We aren’t teaching them equality, ability-based team construction, or acceptance of different groups. For those coaches out there who come to work at gendered teams and tell their kids that they are only there to learn a sport, rock on. For those who are telling the members of their team that they are teaching them cohesion and teamwork as a life skill, which is plastered all over every elementary to high school team advertisement I have ever seen in life or on TV, I am telling them that they are missing a big part of the problem. These coaches actually teach boys that having a penis gets you an invitation to try, having a vagina leaves you standing at the door, no matter how good you may be at it, or vice versa for girls teams.
            There is a difference in what you teach based on how the same thing is promoted, this is the problem I am choosing to address. I don’t care if teams are gendered, just don’t teach kids that they will learn life skills about teamwork, cohesiom and leadership when they are excluded from dealing with groups on the team that they will have to deal with being on other teams in their adult lives. It is simply not true. You may teach them teamwork, cohesion and leadership, but only within the groups allowed to apply and make it harder to deal with the other groups as a life skill.

          • >>> I think you are dramatically understating the pefromance difference by phrasing it as 10%. While I don’t doubt that is accurate, it doesn’t grasp the affects of the difference.
            The stat was from this article:
            http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/08/daily-chart-olympics
            I must confess that I would like to improve my knowledge of stats, as I think they are very objective and easily manipulated. Maybe you could find a better measure? I see from your article “40% of Women are Rapists” and the comments below that you seem to have more knowledge than me of statistics.
            >>>It talked about “The boys clubs” of gender segregated teams without also talking about “The girls clubs”.
            Why clubs do boys want to be in that can’t?
            >>>If the team is going to be competitive enough to teach teamwork and the other life skills it is going to be competitive enough to exclude women.
            Actually, girls have an earlier growth spurt than boys, meaning that there are a lot of girls who can physically match boys, up to a certain age, as expressed here:
            There is no one-size-fits-all time when genders should be separated in sports. Some girls develop faster than boys and may be able to compete with boys their age well into puberty. An example of such a case was a 12-year-old Ohio girl named Makhaela Jenkins, who in 2013 fought her school’s district in court over her right to play on a boys-only football team. She won. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, there were more than 1,500 girls playing on boys football teams that year, and the trend was growing with a 17 percent uptick since 2009.
            http://www.livestrong.com/article/494431-what-are-the-benefits-of-girls-boys-playing-sports-on-the-same-team/
            >>>Heck even “Mathleets” are all great teams to integrate.
            That’s interesting. It seems to be a widely held belief that men excel at maths, in comparison to women. You think that women could be on a math team but not a sport team?
            >>>A full of them selves to have the confidence to do the entire male bravado thing. They treat me the same way, and it’s not something that should change (well not a first step change, but that’s a different issue)
            I’m sorry that you also experience this. What are your coping strategies?
            I think the type of sexuality you are talking about is something that I don’t see as particularly useful in modern society. I recently read this article on that that you might find interesting:
            http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/09/distort-male-sexuality-hurt-everybody/
            >>>People on the darts team push in from of every one else. This wasn’t some sort of gender bias against you. It was the combination of competitiveness and a shortage of practice space.
            This is what people refer to as “mansplaining”, where people make excuses for male behaviour accepted by society. I was the only woman and the only person that was being pushed in front of. My reaction was to stand by and watch that evening, as I didn’t want to use “female privilege” to try and get the rest of the group to defend me in some way (the other chaps were all very friendly and seemed quite happy to have girls at the practice). The captain of them team gave me his old dart board, which I installed at home. I practiced at home and during subsequent friendlies I whooped them.
            >>>You could try to make a dart team that excluded males to alleviate the crowding, but then your doing gender segregation.
            Interesting. I have often wondered what my view of men and women would be if I had gone to an all girls school. Maybe I would have had lots more unpleasant experiences with girls and want to distance myself from them.
            The problem with the “all girls practice” would have meant that it would have been just moi. And I did that in my house but it took out the social aspect, which was what I was looking for.
            I do dream of living in an all woman world, and what that would be like. Only women on the train, only women at work, only women at the gym…Trouble is, I’m really keen on my boyfriend. He’s rather a sweetheart and I would miss him. Maybe we could have co-ed bedrooms, with two doors (one to men-land, the other to women-land).
            >>>People get upset when they loose at poker. The few time’s I’ve played really competitively people where waiting for me in the parking lot with bats and tire irons
            I find that incredibly strange! I’m from the UK, and my region had a poker initiative, trying to get people into playing poker rather than teen pregnancy etc (long story short, there are a lot of social issues in the region, and activities like this get sponsored by big business, and strapped for cash youth services take up the offer). I played poker for 4 years, right up until I went to college. I never had a problem playing with local guys in my town; maybe they were more secure of themselves. It was when I arrived in college, when I played with guys who were probably not that into poker, who were so disconcerted at losing to a girl they referred to me as “the trannie”. A woman could never have beaten then. I must have been a man!
            >>>You have only ever lived from your perspective. Your perspective isn’t incorrect, just very incomplete. A more well rounded perspective is needed to properly understand the dynamics of why Gender interaction in the various ways you described.
            I could say exactly the same to you, but I won’t, because I am trying to understand the factors and propose solutions to the problem. You are saying: “There is no problem, no solutions are needed”, which I find to be… illogical, seeing as you already said that boys aren’t allowed on girls teams either.
            Oh, and by the way, as a Brit I find it amusing that soccer is considered a “girl’s sport” in the US, whereas it seems to be almost entirely the domain of Manly Men in the UK and I am certainly not allowed to play here… Cultural norms! Funny how they differ.

  3. “When arguing to “Take away privilege from boys” and “empower girls” by integrating boys teams. ”
    I’ve had a quick scan of the internet, and it would seem that you are right in some ways. Women’s Olympic records still differ from men’s by10%, and it seems to have been that way since the 80s.
    You wrote:
    “When arguing to “Take away privilege from boys” and “empower girls” by integrating boys teams. ”
    That is not my interpretation of the article/argument put forth here.
    Here are some quotes from this article that I think sums it up:
    “Boys need to learn how to have girls on their team and that they can be valuable members of any team. ”
    “If we are using team sports to teach team members to cooperate and work well in diverse groups, than we need to integrate everyone into those groups and not single any group out from trying to be on the team.”
    I think this article is really talking about what we are teaching through sports. I don’t have a statistic of how many young people go to high school versus how many go on to become pro/semi pro athletes, but it seems like a very small minority. Surely men and women could play soccer, ultimate Frisbee, or touch rugby together. Some sports could be co-ed and some could be segregated?
    I find this article interesting due to my own (limited) personal experiences of sport. Men at the gym who seem to have an attitude that I am in their way when using the weights (even though strength training helps protect women from osteoporosis, which is why I do it), men on the college darts team who continually pushed in front of me at practice to try to stop me from practicing, men at college who became really upset when I won at poker and started to gender shame me… I’m sure you will agree that these things aren’t right. So how can we stop these things from happening? Surely gender segregated sports contributes to these sorts of attitudes and behaviours?

  4. @Sarah H.

    Statistics are complex subjective and easily manipulated. When it comes to very complex and multi-facited dynamics like sports ability, it gets convoluted. To explain what I’m talking about I would need a multilayer study with expanded break downs on performance over many different standards following athletes over many years. I don’t know if one of these has even been done, most of what’s out there is anicdotes and small short studies of one aspect.

    The “girls clubs” boys want to be on are sports teams, just like some girls want to be on the boys teams. There are some sports that don’t have boys teams like volleyball and field hockey. Then the competition on girls teams just isn’t a fierce so getting on the team would allow a boy to literally just run over the competition.

    I have seen the claim that 1,500 girls are paying HS football. This is about as many players as a mid sized metro area has. You could make like 20 teams spread across 50 states and 2 territories with this many players. I have also seen where judges have ordered girls onto the football team like the case you linked. My nephew is currently on one such team. She does get to practice with the boys but when it comes to game time, she just isn’t big enough strong enough or fast enough to get field time. The only reason she made the cut was because a judge ordered her onto the team.

    Distorted forms of male sexuality do hurt everyone. But the first step in solving the issue isn’t to address the harm these stereotypes do, but to address why women respond so favorably to the stereotypes. The first step is to change the reinforcing behaviors that make men WANT to be these stereotypes.

    At darts, even without being there I can pretty much guarantee that there was a great deal of cutting in front of people. It’s just that when males do it to other males the behavior is so very obsequious that it is hard to see even when you are looking for it. (Can’t see the forest through the trees type problem)

    Also, I agree that the perspective of things has a great deal to do with location, nation and laws. You are talking from a British Perspective and I am talking from a US perspective. In the US Title IX says that schools need parity in the number of male and female students participating in sports. The overall affect of this law is to limit male participation to the level of female interest. This does all sorts of odd things to the dynamics of how the sports teams and athletes operate. There is a plethera of sports opprutunities for girls and a derth of options for males. If this isn’t the case your are experiencing then we have dramatically different experiences.

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