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to say something to the teacher or is it not worth following up?

(129 Posts)
saffronwblue Fri 16-Nov-12 03:30:38

DD, 10 goes to an all girls school. Lots of good talk in all the school literature about how girls and women can do anything etc.
DD came home from school yesterday describing the sports lesson in which the (male) teacher made a big point of telling them not to "throw the ball like girls". With lots of demonstrations and laughter about weak girl throwing.
As a feminist I am not thrilled about this linking of weak and laughable with being a girl. Should I have a quick word with him or am I being boring and humourless? I never know when to speak up!

ripsishere Fri 16-Nov-12 03:38:34

TBH, I wouldn't go to the school about it. IMO, I hope he was saying it as a joke. You can remind your DD she is the stronger of the two sexes. I doubt you need to.
My dd and I had an interesting conversation a couple of days ago. She told me a boy in her class had said men were stronger than women. Her response was rambling at first, but ended up with 'the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. I was very proud of her.

mynewpassion Fri 16-Nov-12 03:50:15

Save yourself the embarrassment and do nothing.

kickassangel Fri 16-Nov-12 04:13:34

What embarrassment? For pointing out that a teacher has been blatantly sexist? Would this get the same response if he'd told them not to throw like a black person? Why is one form of discrimination allowed and the other not?

Girls can throw equally as hard as men IF they are taught how and given the chance to practice.

Sparklesandglitter Fri 16-Nov-12 05:25:18

A male pe teacher in a girls school? In every school I have been in it is always female teacher for girls, male for boys, I guess due to changing rooms, having to be physical with pupils on occasion (helping with sports positions etc like trampolining etc?) how unusual!

seeker Fri 16-Nov-12 06:18:49

The problem here is that the majority- not all, obviously- of girls do run and throw "like girls". Because they have never been taught or encouraged to do it differently. Whereas boys, right from the start, are praised and encouraged to do physical things well. It looks as if this teacher is not going to let the girls get away with doing something badly because they are girls. He may have expressed himself in a bit of a "PE teacherish" way (trading stereotype for stereotype) but he is doing something positive .

saffronwblue Fri 16-Nov-12 06:19:59

There is actually a male and female sports teacher who take two classes together( and rumour has it that they are a couple...).

It is good to get your thoughts. I know if I talk to him about it he will look completely blank and think I am weird. On the other hand part of my work is invovled with diversity and we are always talking about the importance of speaking up and challenging microbehavours.

flow4 Fri 16-Nov-12 06:25:29

This is a bit of an odd one. Teasing boys for "throwing like girls" would be sexist; but telling girls the same thing is just silly - like telling kids not to be childish!

seeker Fri 16-Nov-12 06:38:25

No it isn't silly really. Have you ever watched a group of girls trying to throw or kick a ball? Honestly, it would make you weep!

Tee2072 Fri 16-Nov-12 06:42:30

It's not sexist if he's saying it to a girl.

And it doesn't imply weakness. It implies that girl's are rarely taught the proper way to throw and kick.

That part is sexist but I would assume, perhaps incorrectly, that he is teaching them how to throw and kick correctly.

seeker Fri 16-Nov-12 06:55:04

It's all about girls not being taught properly. And I have seen PE teachers who are just not interested in addressing this issue- and girls doing anything to avoid addressing it themselves. Showing them that they just look silly rather than feminine or cute when they try to throw a ball and it goes back over their heads or try to kick a ball and their shoe flies off can only be a good thing.
<I've spent a lot of time helping at PE lessons. Does it show?>

flow4 Fri 16-Nov-12 07:00:15

Oh I absolutely agree that teaching girls properly isn't silly, seeker. But I do think saying "Girls, don't throw like girls" is just a little bit funny!

Bunbaker Fri 16-Nov-12 07:02:34

"I know if I talk to him about it he will look completely blank and think I am weird."

I think he will. I would save your battles for something more important or you will get a reputation as a troublesome parent.

SugaricePlumFairy Fri 16-Nov-12 07:05:29

No don't say anything grin not worth your effort of going into school.

MyCannyBairn Fri 16-Nov-12 07:06:42

If I was a girl in that class I would now think he was a bit of a wanker, even if I thought he was basically ok. I do tend to have a sense of humour failure about that kind of thing tho.

saffronwblue Fri 16-Nov-12 07:08:25

There is a particular kind of throw that he was calling a "girl throw" and demonstrating to them not to do.

Yes, for me the larger question is about picking one's battles. I tend not to speak up and am starting to think about being more assertive.

trixie123 Fri 16-Nov-12 07:13:09

I wouldn't on this, really, its just an offhand comment and yes, girls generally ARE a bit rubbish at throwing. Incidentally, at my school (90% boys) we have female PE teachers and they take whole classes of boys for things.

Booboostoo Fri 16-Nov-12 07:16:01

"Throwing like a girl" stands for "throwing badly/weakly/poorly/incompetently" not for "throwing as a member of your sex" which is tautological if said to girls, so OP you are right to not have liked the comment.

I am in two minds about whether you should do something about it though. On the one hand it is a small deal, on the other hand you are right microbehaviours do matter.

Perhaps raise it with him at the next teachers' meeting instead of going in for this specifically and make a positive point out of it, e.g. how surprised you were to hear such a comment in what is otherwise a very positive school.

flow4 Fri 16-Nov-12 07:26:05

I went to a girls' school about a million years ago before "throwing like a girl" had been invented... There was no kudos or cuteness to throwing badly: it just meant your team was less likely to win!

I wonder if teenage girls now are simply being pragmatic: maybe there's more incentive or 'pay-back' for throwing badly than for throwing well? (Depressing thought...)

ihavenofuckingclue Fri 16-Nov-12 07:29:07

If you are picking your battles this is not one of them you should pick to fight imo.

Its comment refers to the fact that in general girls are not taught these things. I think sport for girls needs a serious look at.

An example. I have been going to the gym on a off for 12 years. Its only on the last 6 months I have found a gym and a trainer that encourages serious weight lifting for women. And the usual 'low weight lots of reps' crap that other gyms encourage.

I don't want to bench press the like the majority of women in the majority of gyms. I want to bench press like the men do. Not because men are better etc. But because that is better for my body.

I fail to see how this is sexist? Actually made me grin

teacherandguideleader Fri 16-Nov-12 07:33:16

Not something I would follow up with tbh. It was a throw away comment and I myself have said similar, for example 'let's throw it properly rather than use our girly throws'. I am female so maybe it comes across differently. I have many girls who cannot throw and catch properly because of the ridiculous nails they have, or they don't want their hands to get dirty.

If he had said 'you'll never be able to throw properly because you're a girl' it would be an entirely different matter.

izzyishavingababyAGAIN Fri 16-Nov-12 07:39:49

you'd be a laughing stock if you complained about this, pick your battles and all that.

PixieHot Fri 16-Nov-12 07:41:44

I think that you'd get very different responses if you posted in Feminism, and I'm quite surprised by some of the responses here.

Of course this is sexist, and of course you should challenge it angry. Not in a huge fuss kind of way, but in a raising your concern in writing (email?) with the school.

I like the word micro-behaviour that was used up-thread, I hadn't heard it before. I think that challenging sexist micro-behaviours is key to working towards sexual equality. A lot of people (men, women, and children) display sexist micro-behaviours which should be challenged in order to encourage self-examination and discussion. I think that low level, ubiquitous sexism like this allows more blatant sexism to persist.

Tee2072 Fri 16-Nov-12 07:44:57

Yes. You'd get the over the top CASTRATE THE BASTARD if you'd posted in feminism.

So a much different response.

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