This viral video came through on my Facebook feed the other day:
All i can think is, What are we doing in our society that is so, so wrong?
I remember the point in sport when I stopped trying. I also remember the point at school when “popularity quizzes” took over, and one of the girls was asking all the boys who they liked, and ranking the girls in the class, top to bottom. I was pretty much near the bottom. I remember trying to figure out why, and being told it was because I was a tomboy, and “didn’t even try to be pretty or act like a girl.”
I guess I was too busy, well, being me.
I was a late bloomer. Very late. All through school I was on the sidelines in the popularity stakes, mainly because I did my own thing and had my own interests. Girls weren’t supposed to do that. If you wanted to be popular, you had to focus your world around the guys. Everything had to revolve around them. And if you were better than them at anything, you really copped it hard.
There’s so much pressure on our kids – boys and girls – to behave certain ways, look certain ways, have certain interests. It seems to be getting worse. I worry about the effects porn will have on my kids as they move into their teenage years. How are they supposed to experiment safely with sex when there’s so much out there telling them what to do and how to do it? The world is a minefield.
But getting back to the clip above, yes, I remember the point at which I stopped trying. I remember the point at which I was told, in very strong social terms, that to try in sport was “lame” and “square” (the words of the era), and that I would certainly not be socially acceptable if I wanted to run well, throw well, play sport well.
I got over it. University was a blessing to me, because it was a world where doing our own thing was encouraged. I got right back into sport with a vengeance, and I haven’t looked back. More recently, I’ve got into weightlifting and bodybuilding, and I do things in the gym that are very “ungirly”. I lift more than most of the men at the gym, and I’m damn proud of that. I’ve earned my stripes.
I hope that my kids will be proud of who they are, and their interests, and their quirks. I hope they’ll learn that being a girl is a good thing, a powerful thing.
It’s time for change.