When I was young, I was an active user of the phrase “like a girl” – I would yell over to my brother across the sports hall, “I can’t get the ball to reach you! I kick like a girl!”, and I would pout as we played Rounders at the annual church picnic, “I wish I could be pitcher, but I throw like a girl”.
Before that, there was a time that I thought, girls can throw, girls can kick – but then there was a moment, shortly after that, when I realised that I, as a girl, couldn’t. I, Bethany, am admitting in this very moment that I am not good at sports, and even though people of all genders, ages and races are not good at sports, as a child, I assumed that I wasn’t good at sports because I was a girl, and not because of the real reasons: I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t like it, I was never particularly active to begin with.
In my mind, I equated being bad at sports to being a girl, and I would say it over and over, like a girl, like a girl, like a girl – as if doing anything like a girl was inherently the wrong way to do something.
But – and this may come as a shock to some of you – being a girl doesn’t make you bad at anything. Your gender (or lack thereof) does not affect talents, skills or interests. Being a girl doesn’t mean that you’re bad at football – in fact, women’s football is becoming a larger and more important sport daily – in the same way that being a boy doesn’t mean that you’re bad at cooking – the majority of head chefs in upscale restaurants are men, and claiming your lack of cooking skills is down to what’s hanging between your legs is simply lazy.