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"he fights like a girl"- To feel despair at engrained and pervasive sexism

(267 Posts)
Evelight Sat 06-Feb-16 21:43:45

yesterday evening, I took DS (10) to his Taek won do class. I was reading a book. The Master's son, same age as mine, had broken his collarbone and couldn't practice, he came and sat next to me, and bored out of his mind, started chatting, what are you reading, what is it etc, a nice kid. At some point I asked him if he knew my DS and enjoyed fighting with him (sthg like that anyway). He answered yes, and added jokily "he sometimes fights like a girl."

I was surprised, because at that particular school, there are several female instructors, one of them a former national gold medallist who is amazing. They literally kick ass. I should have had the presence of mind to retort "well if he fights anything like Miss XX, it would be awesome!"- but of course I only thought of that later, as one does, and only smiled uncomfortably in the moment.

the point being- I witness kids (my kids included) come up all the time with all sorts of these (what I would have hoped are but obviously not) outdated pronouncements still rife with casual sexism (girls suck! boys are gross!) despite the best efforts of PC school programming and education. It's not getting better as they grow older either. Sometimes I argue, sometimes I don't. But really, when are we going to move on from this crap?

ShamefulPlaceMarker Sat 06-Feb-16 22:08:31

Yep! I hate it! There is a fab video floating around on facebook where young girls were asked to run/punch/throw like a girl and they did it properly.
The same question was asked to women and they all did it in that pathetic I'm a 'girl' way! Urgh! Yanbu

FlatOnTheHill Sat 06-Feb-16 22:29:55

To be honest I would not take any notice. Its a figure of speech with regard to how maybe aggressive or how hard he is not 'fighting' in this sport.
Ie being too gentle etc
To be honest I think this Sexism thing is taken far too seriously and people worry to much.

ArabellaRockerfella Sat 06-Feb-16 22:38:45

Throw away sexist comments should be challenged because they are ingrained and have become the norm, as FlatOnTheHill has demonstrated. But they are just as wrong as racism and homophobia etc. How would you react if a person says, "Fights like a black person, Fights like a homosexual, Fights like a spastic!" Those phrases would be shocking and rightly challenged so why shouldn't sexism? It's the only way to change the status quo and why not start with young people/children. It doesn't have to be in a nasty way just educate them, like you said Evelight you could say " Oh that's really good because Miss XX is amazing!"

FlatOnTheHill Sat 06-Feb-16 22:44:29

Your examples are are ridiculous and nothing like 'fighting like a girl'
Your examples are in a different league. An out of order league if they were said in RL.
'Fighting like a girl' is no big deal. You sound very over PC.

Flamingflume Sat 06-Feb-16 22:47:25

Why are Arabella's comments ridiculous?

ArabellaRockerfella Sat 06-Feb-16 22:51:12

You are just showing your ignorance FlatOnTheHill!
20yrs ago those comments were entirely normal and voiced by regular people on the street. We even had the Spastics Society for goodness sake! But people fought against this, re educated people and now thankfully these comments are shocking and rightly so. So why not challenge the girls are rubbish, weak, stupid comments?

FlatOnTheHill Sat 06-Feb-16 22:51:28

She gave examples of fighting like a black person, fighting like a homosexual and fighting like a spastic hmm
Who the hell says any of those. None of them make sense.
Fighting like a girl means the boy was too gentle in his fighting.
Its no big deal ffs.

ArabellaRockerfella Sat 06-Feb-16 22:53:02

If people of all races, religions, sexual persuasion and disability are allowed equality and protection from derogatory comments then why are women?
Are you a man by any chance Flat?

manicinsomniac Sat 06-Feb-16 22:54:13

YANBU but it's difficult to know how to deal with it because children see things in such a black and white way.

I don't know anything abut fighting but I've heard 'throws like a girl' and 'runs like a girl' a lot at school. And yeah, adults can challenge it. But then we get to sports day and the girls and boys are in separate ball throw events (cricket and rounders ball throwing for age groups too young to do javelin and shot) and separate running events because the boys, on average, throw harder/further and run faster. Children see this in action and hear the 'better' records being read out for the boys and assume that comments like that are correct.

I suppose as they get older they will become more nuanced in their thinking and stop it.

At least we seem to have lost the awful 'crying like a girl' in their generation. When I was at school the boys never cried and if they did they were teased. Nowadays boys seem to cry just as easily as girls.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Sat 06-Feb-16 22:55:51

It really amazes me when people fail to see that small things, small though they may appear, are part of the bigger picture and are mini-manifestations of what people not only feel but feel it is acceptable to say.

Misty9 Sat 06-Feb-16 22:57:19

I totally agree op and highly recommended a book called 'parenting beyond pink and blue' as a thoroughly interesting, and worrying, read. I try to challenge such stereotypical events as much as possible, including changing the gender of characters when reading stories (main character nearly always male, nurturing parent nearly always mother etc).

tilder Sat 06-Feb-16 22:59:27

I would pull up any of my kids who said 'fights like a girl '. The statement has meanings on several levels, all derogatory to women.

That he could 'only' fight like a girl
That fighting like a girl is a bad thing
That his fighting wouldn't be taken seriously

buckingfrolicks Sat 06-Feb-16 23:00:31

Flat I don't agree with you at all. A comment like this may feel like a not-important comment, but it isn't, it's another piece of the tapestry of labels that are stitched on, hammered on, and painted on, to girls, so that they know their place and (this next bit is important Flat, so read on) feel that this place is normal, right and reasonable. When it isn't. This is one of the many ways there are of keeping girls in their place - soft, weak and helpless.

It's a serious issue and I would absolutely challenge it.

ArabellaRockerfella Sat 06-Feb-16 23:02:35

If a boy fights like this girl, he'll be fine!

BolshierAryaStark Sat 06-Feb-16 23:03:14

fighting like a girl means the boy was too gentle in his fighting
Yes Flat generalisations such as these are no big deal & not damaging in any way hmm

tilder Sat 06-Feb-16 23:03:29

Misty totally agree withe the way roles are gender based in stories.

I was reading a Fantastic Four book to my 7 year old. Quality literature in our house. 3 kick ass super hero's plus one who can become invisible or put up a protective barrierhmm. Guess which was the woman.

Fights like a girl, throws like a girl. All short hand for implying someone is bit crap at something.

To be honest I think this Sexism thing is taken far too seriously and people worry to much.

There are no words sad

ArabellaRockerfella Sat 06-Feb-16 23:05:12

Or this one!

TitClash Sat 06-Feb-16 23:06:45

tilder You forgot screams like a girl, meaning loud and high pitched. We're allowed to be good at one thing at least.

Thank you Arabella smile

ArabellaRockerfella Sat 06-Feb-16 23:07:18

Exactly Tidler! The implied meaning in the playground and boardroom is, Girls are a bit rubbish and not as good as the boys.

Misty9 Sat 06-Feb-16 23:08:19

Yes, and I was all up for getting sylvanian Families and got a set for Xmas - but now realise how bloody stereotypical about roles they are and won't be buying anymore. The window 0-3 is critical for having an influence on what templates your kids build up, hopefully to counter all the gendered crap they will encounter at school and beyond.

EastMidsMummy Sat 06-Feb-16 23:08:44

Here's that video:

FunnysInLaJardin Sat 06-Feb-16 23:10:05

I agree OP, it riles me too. My DH says this and he really and truly doeant think he is sexist. Just another thing to be vigilante about!

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sat 06-Feb-16 23:10:43

Reguardless of black/white:disabled etc you are either a male or female (generally) sexes tease each other and genuinely like each other!! Poking a bit of fun is not sexist! Some people take offence far too easily.

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