I went out to lunch yesterday. There were four of us.Two guys and two girls. We had all gone biking, the guys off road, Missy and I on the canal. We rode 17 miles and met up on the canal. We were hungry. We wanted lobster rolls and where else do you go but to Capt'n Al's. Best lobster rolls out there. Anyway, we walk in and sit down. We know what we're getting! The waitress comes over to take our order. My husband orders first and then I order the same thing. The waitress asks, "The petite lobster roll?". "Um, NO. THE LOBSTER ROLL. The one with 1/2 lb of lobster!". My point? Why did she assume that I wanted the petite roll, but my husband didn't? Because I'm a girl I am not as hungry as he is? Because I'm a girl I can't eat as much? Because I'm a girl I'm on a diet and he's not? I actually finished my lobster roll before him, probably because I am a girl and had four children and spent the last 20 years wolfing my food down just to get some fuel into my system before all hell broke loose!
And then I get home and there's this video sitting on Facebook just waiting for me to watch.
I was the head football coach for our Pop-Warner Junior Midget (5-7th grade) and Midget (6-8th grade)teams for the last two years. We made it to the Division Championship both years. Never have in the past. Am I talented? Do I know who to put where, players and coaches included? Can I make athletes bigger, faster and stronger? Am I a winning coach? YES to all. And still, as I stood on the sidelines at both practices and games, I can't tell you how many times I heard "Stop acting like a girl!".
I didn't stand idly by as they tried to make that an insult. I interjected with the appropriate remarks to both the players and the coaches. "Really," I would say, "Stop acting like the strong woman who bore your children?". "Stop acting like your daughter who plays on the all star basketball team?" "Stop acting like your coach who can kick your ass during conditioning?" "Stop acting like the referee who, by the way, ref's a better game than ANY male referee that I've dealt with?". "Stop acting like Serena Williams?".
Stop using "Acting like a girl" as an insult, as a way to belittle someone. Besides, our jobs as coaches is not to insult and belittle, it is to correct and encourage. If they are doing something wrong call it what it is and fix it. "Stop running the wrong route, learn your plays!". "Explode forward and run faster!", "Hit them before they hit you!", "Stop dragging your feet!".
You can see in the video that before young girls have been exposed to society, young girls are self-confident and sure of themselves. They know that like a girl means they are strong and able. Somewhere along the way that thought process changes, and suddenly being a girl becomes a sign of weakness, of ineptness.
We are all mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers. We all have sisters and mothers and aunts and cousins. So why is acting like a girl an insult? We score, we get there, we do it right! We lift weights and practice for hours on end. We work, we raise children. We climb trees while wearing dresses! We dance in high-heels! I'd like to see any boy do that!
What I am saying is that "I am strong and I am invincible, because I am a girl! That's the message that we should be sending.