My 9-year-old daughter recently brought home an essay she had written in school that I liked quite a lot. The argument lacks nuance, and there’s a minor grammatical stumble or two, but I really love the spirit of the piece and thought I’d share it.
Have you ever seen those big, strong women on the Olympics? Did you notice that they are not allowed to compete with men? The reason different genders have been segregated is that many people think that men are better at sports as women. It is my opinion that they are the same.
Although men think that they are better at sports than women, there are many incredible female athletes who could easily beat a man. Here are some examples: Charlotte Cooper was the first woman in Paris, France to win an Olympic title. Wilma Rudolph was one of the greatest female athletes of all time. She won three gold medals!
Men think that they are bigger and better than women. I know that this is not true. My dad plays softball on a team. There are often women playing with him that are way better than him (sorry dad).
Many girls are as good as boys. Some are even better. Boys, you had better watch out.
A few weeks ago, my daughter had an opportunity to play Ultimate Frisbee with another girl or two and a bunch of boys. At the end, one of the boys taunted the losing team with their having been beaten by a girl (in spite of the fact that both teams had girls on them — talk about an argument lacking nuance!). My daughter was not just rightfully outraged but simply didn’t understand how one could come to say such a thing. She was incredulous that the thought could have crossed someone’s mind. This makes me feel pretty good about our parenting in at least this department. In spite of every thoughtless thing in the world suggesting that women are worth less than men, my daughter finds it inconceivable that anyone could think such a thing.
I am a little disappointed that in her argument, she says “many girls are as good as boys” and “some are even better.” I can’t decide whether she’s actually lapsing into the position here that only a subset of women can be as good as or better than men at things or whether she’s just using sloppy language (or perhaps a sort of intentional rhetoric that’s less troubling in other contexts). I suppose the ambiguity gives me an opportunity to raise the issue and reinforce the feminist perspective. In spite of any little bugaboos, I loved reading this.