All Articles Tagged "equal rights"
My poor parents. They just didn’t get what they wanted. My mother told me a long time ago that she just knew she was going to have a son. Instead she and my dad got two daughters. I knew they loved us, so I never seriously considered all of the “boy-stuff” my dad missed out on, raising two daughters. Sure, there were indications that he would have liked a male heir, like the race cars we got for Christmas one year; but I never thought about my dad wanting a son… until I noticed all the time he was spending with my younger cousin.
Every time I’d talk to my dad or my cousin, they’d each have something to say about each other. My cousin Djimon, who is fourteen, would say “Yeah, me and Uncle Edward hang out.” Or my dad would recount stories about how he was there to see Djimon off for his first school dance or the conversations they’d had in the car on their way to school, “You know, that Djimon has some interesting thoughts on current events.” It was precious. Djimon already has a very active father but it was cool he was able to share this closeness with my dad and my dad got a little preview into all the “boy stuff” he never got to do and experience with us.
I was totally cool with their “boys club” until they started talking about wrestling. My dad, who wrestled in high school, took an interest in going to my little cousin’s matches, recording them and posting them on Facebook. It was sweet. It wasn’t until recently, on a family vacation that I started to notice some exclusion. We were lounging in our hotel room when my cousin knocked on the door. He came in and before long the conversation turned to wrestling. Somewhere in the midst of it my dad started talking about the girl on my cousin’s team. That piqued my interest.
“Oh, there’s a girl on your team?”
They went on to describe how she had to wrestle boys in her weight class because there were no other girls on the schools they competed against. She hadn’t been that successful but there was one match she should’ve won.
“She pinned that boy! The ref just wouldn’t call it.” My dad was animated about the story, so I took this to mean that he supported this girl and her Title IX victory. But I had to be sure, so I asked him, “If we (my sister and I) wanted to wrestle, would you let us?”
I had barely gotten the question out of my mouth before my father said no and my cousin silently cosigned by shaking his head. I was completely thrown off. Living in a house with nothing but women, I didn’t understand how my father could be so insensitive.
“Really, Dad you would tell us we couldn’t wrestle?”
He comprised with a,”I wouldn’t tell you no, but I’d do everything in my power to convince you not to.”
Well that sounded like pissing on a dream to me. I was starting to get a little peeved.
Both he and my cousin took turns trying to explain. My dad informed me that the girl on my cousin’s team often looked like a rag doll out there because her physical strength just wasn’t on the same level as her male competitors. Then he talked about how much verbal abuse and even ostracism she received for being the only girl in a male dominated sport. That’s when my cousin chimed in. Talking about how boys from other schools made other types of jokes, claiming that they wanted to wrestle her. I’m a bit slow so I didn’t get it right away.
“Why would they want to wrestle her?”
My fourteen year old cousin just looked at me, waiting for me to catch up.
Oh, these boys wanted to wrestle with her because in wrestling anything goes. For a couple of minutes they could lay on top or underneath her, grab body parts that would be considered harassment in any other setting and nobody would say anything about it.
Now, that was something to consider.
I still don’t think I would tell my daughter she couldn’t wrestle though; simply because as a young girl, I know I wouldn’t want to hear that from my parents. But I certainly understand not being “okay” with horny little boys using the rules of a sport as an opportunity to cop a feel. At the same time, I’m assuming this girl knew the rules of the game. After all, her father was a wrestler. Wrestling was something she and her dad had bonded over, it was a tradition she wanted to be a part of. Is this something he should have denied her simply because some of her less mature peers might try to sexualize it?
So, readers (especially parents) here’s where you come in. Would you let your daughter wrestle? Why or why not?
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