Dropping the ball on equality

Involvement in certain sports judged due to feminine, masculine stereotypes


Senior Tabitha Scimio (number 58) takes the field with the rest of her football team before a game when she was in middle school.

Leah McNear, Co-Distribution Director

In light of recent events, single-gender dominated sports are part of discussions again. On Good Morning America, co-anchor Lara Spencer mocked Prince George for taking ballet lessons. Her actions sparked a protest, where male dancers taught a class outside the studio; she has since made an apology.

Spencer met with three professional male ballet dancers and was educated on the hardships they face.The incident reminded multiple male dancers, such as Derek Hough, of the bullying from their childhood due to the mocking of their craft.

This incident proves that people are judged on their interests due to gender roles associated with them. No sport is for just one gender to partake in. Sports started out as a male-dominated activity. Gradually, rules changed and there were separate sports teams, with few co-ed exceptions.

It’s true that currently, individuals can still be stereotyped due to the activities they participate in. Boys who dance are called names and laughed at without anyone considering the strength and discipline that comes with training. Dancing takes many skills, such as rhythm and flexibility, not just memorizing steps.

Other stereotypes can be made about girls who play sports labeled as masculine. They face ridicule and are often underestimated based on their gender.

“I was the only girl on the football team, they would say. ‘You’re a girl. You shouldn’t be playing this sport, just quit already,’” senior Tabitha Scimio said.

Scimio played football when she was younger before she eventually moved schools. She discontinued participating in the sport that brought her joy and helped her learn to value teamwork.

Gender stereotypes could discourage children with interests in activities outside the norm from pursuing these interests in favor of something more “appropriate” for their gender. There are pressures on children to conform at such a young age that they give up their passions early on.

The bullying does not have to take place on a morning talk show to hurt the people it’s targeting. Though Spencer has apologized, it does not take back the behavior she previously condoned. 

Youth should explore their fascinations in a judgement-free and encouraging environment. Society has progressed quite a bit; this incident was a step backward from where we should be heading. 

“My advice to girls who want to play in male dominated sports is to not worry about what they say and keep doing what you love, because I stopped and regret my decision,” Scimio said.

The same advice goes for anyone wanting to play a sport outside what is seen as normal. Pursue whatever it is you may be interested in, no matter the criticisms that may come with it.