It was a sunny Friday evening and me and a couple of my friends went to play football. Since a lot of “friends of friends” came as well, we were quite a diverse group – and that´s where the problem emerged.
Side-note and a warning: I am not a feminist. But I won´t remain silent if a bigot is making someone´s life miserable. So here we go:
We had a newcomer (“a friend of friend of friend”) this time. Let´s call him Mike. We divided ourselves into teams and started to play. And guess who became patronizing girls to “stay rather in the back” and “not to bother trying to score”! He even went as far as to tell the girls that they should not be allowed to participate in penalty shootouts – well, because “girls aren´t good at it”.
While the other girl on my team started to cry and simply walked back to the building to have a shower, I was boiling with anger: How dare he assume someone´s inferiority or lack of skill or practice? How dare he be so insensitive? How dare he judge us on the basis of our gender? …
A (male, by the way) friend of mine caught the glimpse of my anger and rushed to rescue: “Well, Mike – I think you shouldn´t play because of what you said.” Needless to say, Mike´s smile froze. His sexism didn´t win him approval, rather, he became the odd one out.
I had my way – and missed. A girl´s pride that came before a fall? …I don´t think so. Sure, we lost – but that was because not a single person from our team managed to score, including me – and four boys. But the important lesson and take-away message is… that we didn´t care. We play football together because we want to have fun – not to win at the cost of offending a friend just because she happens to have the ability to breastfeed and give birth one day.
Final side-note: I would not have volunteered for the penalty shootout had Mike not been so arrogant – I am well aware that some of my friends are simply better than me (and am always ready to admit that).