[Tomorrow marks the fortieth anniversary of Title IX, the law that demanded equity in school sports for men and women. I’m writing a few posts this week about my thoughts on girls and sports.]
I listened to this commentary on Title IX this morning while dropping the girls off at their respective daycares and preschools, and wondered if my girls would ever have the chance to benefit from its passage. Will my daughters be athletes? Could my daughters be athletes?
As a feminist mom, I want my daughters to have positive relationships with their bodies: I want them to see their physicality as a source of strength, health, joy and pleasure. This is pretty easy with small children. They are still at ages where physical activity and play dominate their social lives. They attend schools that focus on free, outdoor play in nature, where the children are encouraged to climb, explore, dig in, and get dirty. Right now, not much separates my girls from their environment, or their minds from their bodies.
But I know that can change; it will change. Pretty soon the delights of the playground will give over to different, big kid interests. Pretty soon that childhood metabolism will settle out and their physical habits may change. Their bodies will look different. The older they get, the more scrutiny they’ll feel as sexual objects in a world that prefers girls to be pretty and docile and slim. I worry a lot about that stage. How can I prevent that from happening? How can I foster this exuberance, keep this going? Continue reading