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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!

OwedToAutumn Sat 17-Nov-12 09:24:59

If, in a class of 30, only 2 of the girls threw in an ineffectual manner, why would it be okay to say this was "throwing like a girl", exotic?

Surely, in that case, "throwing like a girl" would be throwing like the other 28 girls in the class.

I was brought up by my parents to believe that a mother's place is in the home, and that women should not usurp the place of men in society.

Suffice it to say, I send my two DDs to girls' schools where the ethos is that girls can do anything. I would be furious if a teacher at their schools had implied that girls were in any way inferior to boys.

That said, of course he should correct their throwing style. But not with reference to the fact that they should not "throw like a girl".

flow4 Sat 17-Nov-12 09:49:46

"The message they will get flow4 is that the throw looks very silly!" < Yup, that's exactly the message I'd want him to give, exotic! grin

On the other hand, when he says "Don't throw like a girl", all those watching girls who are girls and want to be 'normal' are probably taking note of how to throw like this, because they're hearing that this is how girls do it.

Don't get me wrong: I wouldn't bother going in to school over this (life is short) but I'm interested enough to want to work out why I think it was an unhelpful thing for him to say smile

Really, I was responding to seeker's comment: "So I suppose I'm so delighted to find a PE teacher who doesn't collude, and who won't let them get away with it......oh, I don't know. What could he have said instead?" ... because when I think about it, I think the PE teacher's comment does collude - it actually gives girls a 'get out clause' - i.e. "I throw badly because I'm a girl and that's what girls do"...

seeker Sat 17-Nov-12 10:04:08

"If, in a class of 30, only 2 of the girls threw in an ineffectual manner, why would it be okay to say this was "throwing like a girl", exotic?"

No it wouldn't. But find me a class of 30 10 year old girls where only 2 threw ineffectual manner and I will personally give you £100.

<shuddering at the memory of a scout archery day where the majority of the girls shut their eyes before they fired>

exoticfruits Sat 17-Nov-12 10:09:08

You are dreadfully pedantic!

Boys, on the whole, throw better than girls-FACT-it is one of the reasons that you separate them for sports as they get older.

How many girls have you actually seen throw? I have seen literally hundreds and there will be more than 2 in any class. A 10 year old girl will immediately know what the man meant-why be PC by saying something they won't have a clue what he is talking about?

exoticfruits Sat 17-Nov-12 10:15:18

"Don't throw like a girl", all those watching girls who are girls and want to be 'normal' are probably taking note of how to throw like this, because they're hearing that this is how girls do it

MN never fails to leave me amazed at how stupid people think their DCS.

saffronwblue Sat 17-Nov-12 10:34:53

Just tiptoeing back into my thread to say:
Of course I want DD to play sport as well as possible and to be pushed to improve her skills. In the lesson content the teacher was doing his job.
What I didn't like was the aligning of a bad weak throw with being "like a girl". I see I am not the only person who finds this unhelpful, if not discriminatory. I will talk to DD about this and remind her of how powerful female athletes are.
Life is too short for me to go into school about this. I do want to start challenging offensive microbehaviours but this is not the one I will start with.

flow4 Sat 17-Nov-12 10:39:26

There's also the problem of unintentional reverse psychology : if you tell people not to do something, and they are often more likely to do it.

Many psychologists (e.g. see this article ) suggest it might have been more effective for the PE teacher to say "Of course it's up to you and there's no need to listen to me cos I'm just an old bloke, but do you girls really want to throw as badly as that?!" grin

flow4 Sat 17-Nov-12 10:40:27

Sounds like a plan, saffron! smile

Cahoots Sat 17-Nov-12 10:46:58

I wouldn't worry about it. The girls should have said something but it is not a biggie. He was teasing them, that is all.

kickassangel Sat 17-Nov-12 12:21:16

No one is saying that boys din't throw better. They do. BUT they throw better because they are taught and given the opportunity.

Girls can throw just as well when they are given the same chances.

Tell them not to throw badly, don't label the behaviour as being female. Then show them how to throw properly without (by implication) labeling that as male behaviour.

Give boys and girls equal experiences from birth and they grow up far more similar than many of you would realize. By the time they are age 5 there are differences in learned behaviour which do not reflect their inborn potential.

laughtergoodmedicine Sat 17-Nov-12 13:01:28

some boys dont throw very well. Everyone is not designed to be sporting.
At the professional level it is compulsive. And the "winners" are in a tiny minority.

exoticfruits Sat 17-Nov-12 13:41:40

Of course some boys don't throw well, but they have a very different style from a girl who doesn't throw well.
You could have two 8 years olds (one boy, one girl) who were useless at throwing, with long blonde curls and unisex clothes, and I bet you could tell which was the girl from a distance-there is a particular style adopted.(in the majority of cases anyway)
I don't know how many you have observed, but there is a certain style adopted by only girls. I have observed hundreds over the years.
The whole point of his lesson was that girls don't have to settle for it-they can learn techniques to throw properly -his message was 'girls can do anything'.

The reason he used it was because, like all successful comedians, he hit the nail on the head-every girl had seen it and could appreciate the joke of it being done in an exaggerated way.

He and they will have shared the joke and moved on-sad that you have to watch your words while people over analyse it.

kickassangel Sat 17-Nov-12 14:08:07

Exotic, he could have made it funny without labeling it as girl behaviour. By putting that label on it he made it a sexist issue not a sporting one.

Diesn't matter that he is prib right about how many children aren't really taught to throw, he labelled them and their bahavioyr.

I would never stand in class and tell students that we all know what boys are like they can't write neatly to save their lives, then tell them they shouldn't be boy like and they should be more girly in their handwriting. If I made that the focus of a lesson I would be called into the office for being unprofessional and if I did it often I would lose my job.

Doesn't matter if it's true, to label, shame and generalise an entire cohort like that is wrong.

And to put this into perspective, I would not make a big deal about this, but it is one of those small deals that could be challenged if someone got upset about it.

redexpat Sat 17-Nov-12 14:44:56

He's a PE teacher. Don't waste your breath.

FromEsme Sat 17-Nov-12 14:48:29

What is HAPPENING to MN? Since when do you get comments like this and a million people line up to go "oh no, it's not sexist, it's a funny joke!".

Like Pixie said way before, this level of low-grade sexism is insidious and damaging. I would be sorely tempted to say something and hope it made him think twice.

bamboostalks Sat 17-Nov-12 14:57:46

It is offensive and unnecessary. I probably wouldn't do much either but it is so annoying. Don't buy into his upskilling the female pupillage argument either. It is a most unprofessional remark.

pushmepullyou Sat 17-Nov-12 15:35:51

I'm amazed so many people think this is ok.

He is saying that girls intrinsically throw in a certain way and that that way is wrong/poor. He is teaching his female students to throw well (presumably), which is not like girls. What then? - like boys?

exoticfruits Sat 17-Nov-12 16:01:31

You can't possibly tell whether handwriting is a boys or a girls.
There is a distinct way that some girls have to throw.You may not like it, but I could show you examples in every class. Boys will be poor throwers, but the style will be different. I don't see why he isn't allowed to mention it and tell them that they do not have to do it!

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 17-Nov-12 16:04:35

You can, though, exotic. Much more reliably than throwing a ball, I would think.

Dominodonkey Sat 17-Nov-12 16:22:09


Some people really are pathetic. Perhaps you want all teachers to write a script before each lesson just in case they might say something to offend the professionally offended...
Loads of girls are crap at sport so the teacher is encouraging them to be better so they can compete with boys.

And those of you who say that boys are not stronger than girls or better at throwing, how do you explain the fact that the female bronze medallist in the 2012 Olympics threw 20 metres less than the male bronze winner. Is this because she wasn't taught properly?!

FromEsme Sat 17-Nov-12 16:28:33

Why don't YOU get a grip Dominodonkey? I don't think the way to encourage girls is to imply that girls' throwing is implicitly crap.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 17-Nov-12 16:29:27

I must've missed the bit where this teacher was training olympic atheletes, eh? hmm

pushmepullyou Sat 17-Nov-12 16:42:14

It's not particularly about the actual or relative ways girls and boys throw though. The PE teacher is using the phrase 'throwing like a girl' as a criticism/insult. That is sexist.

Floggingmolly Sat 17-Nov-12 16:49:53

If I talk to him he will look completely blank and think I am weird
So would I, tbh. Complete non issue.

exoticfruits Sat 17-Nov-12 16:55:21

I'm sorry but you can't tell with handwriting. If I give you a piece of work by a 10 year old you can't possibly know. There is no such thing as a 'boy's writing' or a 'girl's writing'. I can actually show you 'girl's throwing' in any primary school.

I find women comedians very funny when they joke about typical female traits-I recognise them in my self or others-that is why they are funny. I fully accept that they do not apply to everyone, but they exist. I can't see why you have to pretend they don't!! I was never good at throwing, I couldn't throw a javelin to save my life, I didn't want to throw a javelin, I can't see why I would get upset if someone made a joke about it and laughed with me. They were laughing together-they were not picking out someone to laugh at.

The whole thing is trivial in the extreme and the PE teacher in question would have given up reading long ago! I hated PE so anyone who was teaching a put some humour into it was a plus for me!

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