Friday, March 22, 2013
Excuse me, No, She's Not Cute.
This week my daughter had her first baseball practice out in the rain. It was pretty nasty out, but it was the last practice before the first game, and all their practices have been rained out so far, so the coach said they had to go practice in the field anyway.
She's the only girl on the team.
The last time she did a sport, she would not stay on the field unless she had a parent holding her hand (that can be tricky in a soccer game, let me tell you).
So there she is, out in the rain, her poor little hands turning beet red from the cold, and trying to catch and throw the balls even as they get really wet, and the grass is really wet.
"Is that your daughter?" says another mom. I nod. "She's so cute." the other mom says. "She's like - I don't want to pick up this ball, it might be muddy."
I was offended, but I am easily offended, so I mulled it over for awhile. Now, I find myself wishing I had said this:
No - she is not concerned about the ball being "muddy". She is not "cute". (Well, I think she is cute - but not in this diminutive sense of the word which implies a sort of prissy "girlyness".)
She is trying really hard, despite being miserable in the cold and wet, and this is a new sport to her. Does she catch and throw like a girl? She is a girl - and girls can catch and throw just fine. And what about the little boys who are crying because they are cold? Why are we ignoring their reluctance to pick up a wet and slimy baseball from the wet and muddy field?
After practice I asked my husband if he had found that mother's comments patronizing, as I had. He said "not patronizing, no - just downright sexist."
OK, so it wasn't just me who felt that way. Good to know.