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Aghh - failed to pick up some everyday sexism

(66 Posts)
iisme Fri 20-May-16 23:47:11

I was at a school meeting last week and the head was talking about the football teams. The school had entered a boys and a girls team to an event, even though they are usually mixed (this is at primary level). The event organiser had said that mixed was probably better, in part 'because the girls might beat the boys!' It was said as a joke by the female head and most of the people there (largely women) had a good laugh. I muttered furious ironic comments to my neighbour about how shameful it would be for the boys to be beaten by a group of girls and how they obviously needed to be protected from such humiliation.

Should I have actually picked up on this? And if so, how, without looking like a total idiot? Or am I being too sensitive?! I just feel that if they are making jokes like this with the children (I don't know that they had but it come off very much as a joke that's been told many times before about this situation) then it's sending a really bad message to the girls about how being last is their natural place.

Sunnsoo Fri 20-May-16 23:53:14

I do think it's important to challenge casual sexism, but I would have kept quiet in that specific circumstance. I hate meetings, and challenging them would have added a lot of time into my day.

I would however, ask that the girls team are included next time and suggest a 'fair-play' policy stating that the school must make an equal effort to get both teams included every time.

iisme Fri 20-May-16 23:55:43

Sorry, that wasn't clear. The girls team were included - there were two teams, a boy's team and a girl's team - I guess normally there would also have been two teams but both mixed. So the actual events weren't sexist - it was just the way it was talked about - the implication that the poor boys had to have their egos protected from the potential humiliation of being beaten by girls.

bridgetoc Sat 21-May-16 06:37:57

I would never allow my Son to play football with girls. It is nuts!!!! The girls play football with girls, the boys with boys.

NormaStanleyFletcher Sat 21-May-16 08:24:20

Is that in case they learn some new skills from the girls and have to question their masculinity bridgetoc ?

cuntinghomicidalcardigan Sat 21-May-16 08:34:10

That's crap and awful that such attitudes are prevalent in the institutions that are teaching our children about the world. However, on a practical note, how old are the children? Some girls may be more likely to take part in a 'girls only' team, same for some boys. Depending on age physical differences may impact the way the team plays, I don't play football but in my sport the male and female games are very different (female different skills, faster footwork etc whereas male faster play and skills requiring more physical strength etc.)

Having a 'girls' and a 'boys' team may turn out beneficial, the attitude that the girls have no chance of beating the boys isn't. Again in my sport, matches (girls vs boys or mixed) tend to be quite even and good fun, encouraging every individual to develop their own strengths can be great for the team interest.

MrsJamin Sat 21-May-16 08:50:33

bridgetoc why wouldn't you let your son play football with girls? hmm

PalmerViolet Sat 21-May-16 08:57:25

Norma and Jamin, everyone knows that little boys' dicks fall off if they play football with girls. At the very least, they might catch girl germs and become gay.

Or it could be that bridge is just goading for shits and giggles.

SpaceKablooie Sat 21-May-16 09:00:53

grin bridgetoc. Er, you are joking, right?

Bleh, ubiquitous engrained micro-sexism. It's so bloody annoying, and it's difficult to challenge everything all the time. I don't really know what the solution is. I challenge what I can when I can - I don't think it's practical to challenge everything though.

bridgetoc Sat 21-May-16 09:12:12

I once watched my nephew play in a mixed boy/girl game of football. He went flying into a fair tackle, got the ball, but sent this poor girl flying. Crying her eyes out she was. My nephew was told off, told to remember that he was playing with girls, and ordered not to play so rough. It is a sport, it is supposed to be competitive, even at that age, that's the idea, and yet you get these nimby teachers telling the kids that they are all winners, even when they have lost. We really do need more Male role models for boys in infant/primary schools.

My own Son, and his friends who love their football would not want to play a competitive match with girls, and being forced to do so is wrong. it cheapens it, and makes it less competitive, and less serious in their own eyes. Their heroes do not play with woman, so why should they. It's PC gone nuts! Thankfully their school does have a teacher who sees things the way they should be, she even allows the winners to celebrate their success, as winners, and gives consolation to the losers!

LurcioAgain Sat 21-May-16 09:14:38

cunting - in answer to your question, it depends. I've played a lot of women's football and mixed football in my time. Mixed 5-a-side (which is supposedly no-contact) is a fantastic game - it favours an intelligent, skilful passing game and irons out differences of size and strength. 11 a side is a more interesting one. As a general rule women will be slower, lighter (and thus more easily muscled off the ball) and not able to kick the ball as far. But football itself is an interesting game in that respect. Unlike many sports which have a particular physique that favours success (think about the different shapes of say, swimmers, rowers, distance runners, sprinters), footballers come in a huge range of shapes and sizes, and different players bring different things to the game - a huge, physically imposing centre half versus a skinny, fast winger, versus an immensly skilful central midfielder (Messi, for instance, is tiny). So actually some women I've known have played in 11-a-side games with men and done well. (You're unlikely to see it any time soon in the professional game, though, I think). Pre-puberty, it doesn't matter at all. Any differences are purely nurture - the boys are more likely to have had dads encouraging them to play from the moment they first started to walk, so will simply have had more practice. The situation will be the reverse in the US where soccer is predominantly a women's sport.

iisme Sat 21-May-16 09:33:24

I don't mind all girls teams at all - I agree that it can help to encourage girls to participate. I don't have strong feelings about whether the teams should be mixed or single sex - but I do have strong feelings about the casual assumption that girls beating boys is humiliating. They were all pre-pubescent, so no real physical differences.

Bridgetoc, the sexism in the example you described is the boy being told he had to be careful or gentle because he was playing in a mixed team. That's bullshit - girls are no more fragile than boys are. If the boys feel embarrassed about playing with girls then that is sexism, and it happens because they are constantly being peddled this shit. Their heroes don't play with women because they are adults and physical differences have an impact by then. Although that's an interesting point about these differences being less clearly important in football than other sports.

NormaStanleyFletcher Sat 21-May-16 09:36:55

It cheapens it if they play with girls. Oh dear <<deity of choice>>

No words are adequate for that.

DoreenLethal Sat 21-May-16 09:40:25

He went flying into a fair tackle, got the ball, but sent this poor girl flying.

Isn't it automatically unfair if he sent someone flying? Perhaps he needs to learn how to play football properly for the safety of boys and girls that are playing against him.

'if a player commits any of the following seven offences in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force'

LurcioAgain Sat 21-May-16 09:57:26

No Doreen - fair tackles can result in the other player going flying - has happened to me (both on the receiving end and dealing it out) many a time. The easiest way it can happen is for a defender to play a perfectly executed block tackle against an attacker who is running at speed - they'll go flying over the ball. (I once got a spectacular black eye that way).

But other than that Bridge is talking out of her arse. iisme sums it up perfectly - the problem is the misguided belief in "chivalry" which still pervades society. Women who play sport aren't delicate flowers (see for instance the GB women's hockey team in 2012 - if memory serves me, one of them got a broken nose/cheekbone in one of the earlier matches).

There's also an issue of tailoring your game to the circumstances. If you're playing in a friendly tournament with people of mixed abilities where the aim is for everyone to have fun (in some cases getting introduced to a new game) then if you're one of the good players, you don't bring your most aggressive, physical game onto the pitch. That's what the head teacher should have been stressing - that you are sporting towards everyone, of both sexes. (And then in a competive match against equally matched players, you play the hardest game you can). Of course it's a difficult lesson to teach primary school children, but an important one. One of the things I'm terrifically proud of my son for is that aged 8 he does seem to understand this distinction. (The saddest gits I've ever played against are middle aged men who are set to "uber competitive" regardless of the situation - though ironically they typically lack skill and just use physical strength to back up their aggression. It's very funny when you dance rings round them on skill. In contrast, probably the best male player I've ever played with - former Lazio youth player - did tailor his game to the circumstances, and I never saw him foul anyone of either sex.)

PalmerViolet Sat 21-May-16 09:58:46

told to remember that he was playing with girls, and ordered not to play so rough.

Hmmm, there's a certain smell to this paragraph.

Eau de caca del torro?

And what Doreen said, if your nephew is tackling people like that, he shouldn't be playing.

bridgetoc Sat 21-May-16 09:59:13

@iisme.....Do not ever force boys to play a competitive game with girls, and vice versa. If they are happy to so, fine, if not, leave them be. Whether you think it is sexist is not relevant, what they think is what matters. My Son is a child, he does not care about sexism, or feminism. He does care about football, and he does not want to play with girls, and an adults agenda should not be forced upon him. It's nuts! As I'm sure you know! If not, open your eyes! I bid you good day................

PalmerViolet Sat 21-May-16 10:01:06

Why do bridge dwellers always preface their replies with @ symbols?

bridgetoc Sat 21-May-16 10:02:56

"Isn't it automatically unfair if he sent someone flying? Perhaps he needs to learn how to play football properly for the safety of boys and girls that are playing against him. "

This is clueless, and is a perfect example of why boys don't want to play football with girls, and should not be forced to....... Utterly clueless!

BIWI Sat 21-May-16 10:03:13

Maybe your child should care about sexism or feminism then?

bridgetoc Sat 21-May-16 10:07:46

@PalmerViolet....... My name is Bridget, also..... just because someone does not agree with you, it does not make them a "bridge Dweller." Try to behave like an adult!

bridgetoc Sat 21-May-16 10:10:44

@BIWI........ Not when it comes to football he shouldn't. As I said, do not FORCE boys to play with girls if they do not want to!

PalmerViolet Sat 21-May-16 10:12:57

You merely continue to prove my point...

I wasn't aware you were disagreeing with me particularly, so no, you're not a bridge dweller because you don't agree with me, you're a bridge dweller because you seem to have joined MN in the last 2 days and have posted ridiculously stupid an ill informed drivel all over the forum. So I, and pretty much everyone else who has had the misfortune of interacting with you are on balance of probabilities not the ones failing to act maturely.

The irony of your name hasn't been missed. In fact it has been rather amusing, given the circumstances.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PalmerViolet Sat 21-May-16 10:15:30

Anyone else seeing bridge as one of those horrific sideline parents who threatens referees should they not give their precious darlings the benefit of the doubt when they tackle dangerously?

Possibly just me.

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