It’s a holiday Monday – I believe officially Colonel By Day in Ottawa? – and that means everyone is off, which means that the kid got to attend the RedBlacks game on Sunday night. It’s her first one in a while. It’s too much to take her to a game and then send her to gymnastics or soccer first thing the next morning.
She loves the games though. She specializes in yelling DEE-FENCE DEE-FENCE when it’s time. She’s a sports fan all around, this one. She has informed us that she wants to go to the Olympics in soccer and gymnastics. I think she probably should have chosen one summer and one winter sport, but she points out that you age out of gymnastics early.
We’ve taken her to hockey games, baseball games, football games. We still have to get her out to a soccer game. I took her to the national figure skating championship. We watch the Olympics together. She loves watching athletes do their thing.
And that’s why the first time the guy behind me at the football game tonight mockingly called the football players “ladies” I glared at him. I did it again the second time. And at the guy further down the row who called an injured player “princess.”
Because I should not have to explain to my sports-loving six-year-old future Olympian that what these men mean is that women are less than men, and not as good at things. Or at least that’s what these stupid men think because they can’t come up with any more creative way of heckling the other team.
I hate that she hears these things. I hate the idea that she’ll internalize it. That she’ll grow up to learn that men think it’s funny to insult other men by referring to them as somehow female. That’s she’ll grow up to know that female athletes are “worth” as much as their male counterparts.
I hate that we’re still doing this. I hate that we still have female ‘firsts’ in this day and age and I hate that men get to use us to debase their friends. It hasn’t changed in my lifetime, will it change in hers?