- Family and Parenting
Calling Youth Football Players Cheerleaders During Practice (An Email)
Calling Boys Cheerleaders
"Hello, This is our first year in Youth Football and my son and husband are having a great time. I'm very glad we joined. So as the subject mentioned, I have a little observation to bring to your attention. Let me start by saying that I'm not angry, just thoughtful. I was watching practice yesterday and heard an assistant coach repeatedly telling the boys they hit like cheerleaders and asking them if they wanted pom poms. I'm new to this. I discussed it with my husband. He said that's just the way things are, that's the way it always has been and how it will be forever. I hope not. Only because putting down another group of kids to motivate another is archaic. I'm absolutely certain that this coach did not have an insidious agenda of sowing the seeds of sexism. But the boys will take from that experience, and countless others, and it will build up an opinion of superiority over females in them. To some boys who've grown up with this social conditioning, a woman's opinion, wellbeing, and consent become irrelevant. Worst case scenario. Best case is it's just that they're obnoxious at parties.
Back story... My son has been brought up to expect gender equality, and has no knowledge that some people might consider that a choice. When he plays video games he interchanges the male and female characters without even a thought that the girl ones are weaker. When we visited the fire station a fire fighter brought out a chainsaw and asked the boys if their dad had one. Without blinking my son said, "No, my dad doesn't have one, but my mom does." (I used to be an arborist) So, telling him that he hits like a girl would confuse him more than anything, because he'd never think that that would be a derogatory statement.
Might I also mention that calling the boys cheerleaders is silly anyway, those girls are total athletes. They spend just as much time on their craft as the boys do. Discrediting them is a shame and if one of them heard that it would break their spirits. Girls have value, they shouldn't be used as negative reinforcement.
I'm only one parent who feels this way. And I'm sure that most coaches who've ever called their team a bunch of ladies didn't mean any offense to ladies. However, I felt that I wouldn't be doing right by my son and two daughters if I didn't bring it up. Building boys up to be both strong and socially conscious starts in homes, in schools, and during sports. Thank you".
The point I was making is microscopic, but here is a link to the big picture: