Do men need to strike out, too?


17 comments posted
I think it is good that she i

I think it is good that she is doing well in baseball, but most important is that she is being accepted by her teammates. On the other hand, the severe machoism that comes with sports may make it harder for the opposing team members to accept her. I can just hear everyone say, "You got struck out by a girl."

Men have a long way to go in the acceptance games

Blue's picture
Posted by Blue (not verified) on 20 May 2005 - 11:04am
On closer inspection

The important fact that got missed by the early reports is that Ms. Brownell is 5'8", that is, she towers over her 11-year-old teammates and opponents. This is not an advantage that's likely to last.

Rob McMillin's picture
Posted by Rob McMillin (not verified) on 20 May 2005 - 2:08pm

I guess manhood is safe after all.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 20 May 2005 - 9:10pm
Media Girl's Point

Indeed she towers over the boys -- and growing up a few years before Bronell, I remember that girls were suppose to eat less and all the while little Johnny chowed-down.

No one is sure why women are getting taller. In the 1950's the average woman was 5-5" and now the average is 5'-7" and six feet is not unheard of any longer.

No one is sure why this is. Boys are not getting taller, just girls. Is it the growth hormones in meat? Is it that it is, as media girl suggests, okay to eat? Is it the fact that athletics are no longer considered unfeminine?

I disagree, but only a bit, with Rob McMillin above. The "advantage" as he calls it will have a lasting effect. She will see boys grow larger than herself--true--but she will have proved something to herself about winning.

The high school football hero only occasionally becomes the college hero and not all of those become pro-players and of those only a few become true stars--yet no one suggests that boys stop their sports because eventually bigger, taller, bulkier, younger, men will win out.

What she learns will last and it is good that she has had that experience that she will take into her later life.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 27 May 2005 - 5:37am
Good point

Once you excel at something, nobody can take that away.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 27 May 2005 - 8:53am
acceptable men's behavior - to compete or not to compete?

Excellent point about how her achievement can never be taken away - that success is going to help her confidence throughout life.

I volunteer as a high-school wrestling coach and girls wrestling is huge. I think its great the girls are wrestling as they have the opportunity to learn the discipline this sport requires and also experience winning and losing with no one to blame (its not a team sport) - just like the boys do.

However, I'm at odds with many who believe that high school boys and girls should be competing against each other in this sport. Wrestling is a 1:1 individual sport that is very physical and often violent - it's not a team "game" like your baseball example.

I'm mostly against it because I think it would show that society "approves" of physical aggression towards the opposite sex and I don't agree with that. I agree with your point of "acceptable men's behavior" and, IMHO, putting a high school boy on a mat with a high school girl is not a way for a young man to learn acceptable male behavior.

I certainly respect the female wrestlers who work hard and are able to compete with the guys - but it is more than just a "male ego" issue when he is faced with a female opponent in a match of physical aggression - it becomes a character issue.

If the young male forfeits (which I endorse), that can end their quest (a loss is a loss) - and they never get that opportunity "to excel at something that nobody can take away" that is so important to a kids growth.

I'd be interested in hearing Media Girl's perspective on this - would you support boys against girls high school wrestling?

I realize the "separate but equal" is a utopia - but in this case I think its worthy of striving for.

Thanks & Regards

iowamf's picture
Posted by iowamf (not verified) on 27 May 2005 - 1:07pm
What is the goal of coed competition?

When it comes to something like wrestling, which really is a sport that attempts to place male conflict into a context of rules -- as does boxing -- does it really make sense to have boys vs. girls? What is the point? What is the point of the sport itself? What is the point of boxing?

One could argue it's about self defense, but this is nothing like a true self-defense or martial arts class.

Are women's sports harmed by not having boys fighting girls? I don't think so. I agree, the physical violence towards women in this society is bad enough, without making it into a gladiator sport.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 27 May 2005 - 1:31pm
I think we both agree that some co-ed competition is bad

"What is the point?" - The point is to crush your opponent.

"Self Defense?" - Nope, offense is the best defense.

I'm glad to see your answer of 'no' to your question:

* "Are women's sports harmed by not having boys fighting girls?"

That's my hope as well.

Other relevant - and equally important - questions are:

* "Are men's sports harmed by girls challenging boys to fights?"

* "Is society harmed by feminists demanding boys fight girls?"

I wish more feminists shared your opinion on this matter and would allow the boys their barbarous little clubs without demanding equal representation ... are the feminists 100% certain on this "equality" thing - it could be a step down? ;-)

iowamf's picture
Posted by iowamf (not verified) on 27 May 2005 - 4:37pm
I'm a little lost

When you start to talk about feminists as if we were a monolithic block or a special interest, I get the sense that feminists are the problem here -- rather than male aggression and violence towards women, or even the entire patriarchal structure of our society that rewards male aggressiveness and commpetitiveness, while discouraging the same in girls. That the mores of our society seems to be gradually changing is a sign of hope, but interestingly not when it comes to discussions like these.

Why is it assumed, for example, that if women want equality, women must compete like men? Why is it assumed that if women want equality in sports, that means that we want to play sports like men? Why is it assumed that real participation by women in any realm -- sports, business, politics -- where women have equal footing, the realm itself would not change?

If I say that I don't think that boys should fight girls as a matter of physical education curriculum, am I really saying I don't want equality? Why is boxing or wrestling held up as some untouchable sport that must be embraced by all who wish equal opportunity and protection in sports?

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 27 May 2005 - 4:51pm
RE: I'm a little lost

OK - you got me on the monolithic block treatment of feminists - my bad.

Your claim that "male aggression" is the problem is equally monolithic and bad.

The problem is a hyrbid of the two - at the least.

You skipped the simple yes/no questions?

PS -

Your description of the sport: "attempts to place male conflict into a context of rules" is enlightening. Too bad most guys make the rules up as they go. Diddya know Rummy wrestled for Navy (and he was tough as nails).

iowamf's picture
Posted by iowamf (not verified) on 27 May 2005 - 5:58pm
Let's talk about male aggression, t hen

There's not a whole lot of women doing violence upon men -- and most often it's in self-defense or retaliation for the man's aggression. Rape, murder, beatings, molestation.... There is male aggression and violence towards women. No, all men aren't doing it, but the aggressors are almost all men.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 27 May 2005 - 8:10pm
no - I'd rather stay on topic (do men need to strike out, too)

"do men need to strike out" (by the hand of a woman) in athletic competition is the thread.

Today, we have high school girls wrestling boys in 49 states. My answer to your question is more than just a "no" - I think the concept of girl vs boy in sanctioned 1:1 combat sports is awful for society.

You say "girls kick ass" - yes, some of them do. Is that a good thing when a high school girl steps on the mat, challenges a young man to a fight - and proceeds to kick his ass?

I think what you are trying to imply is that women will achieve greater equality and receive less violence from men if women can "strike men out" - my response is your 100% wrong.

iowamf's picture
Posted by iowamf (not verified) on 28 May 2005 - 1:34pm
I wonder

It seems that many men only respond to physical violence. And there's something to be said for a girl who gains the confidence of being able to take care of herself physically. The women's martial arts movement is built on that.

It does not appeal to me, but 100% wrong? Some men need an ass-wooping, and if that's what it takes to get some to stop beating on women, so be it.

Men do need to strike out. The paternalism inherent in most men's discussion of feminist issues is symptomatic of a general lack of respect for women by men. Men are blind to male privilege, blind to the abuse women suffer at the hands of men, blind to the injustice of treating rape as a crime where victim's testimony alone will not convict, blind to the marginalization of women as human beings in the entire abortion debate. Why? Because men generally are bigger, louder, more aggressive, stronger -- and culturally are encouraged to prove it over and over and over.

Men aren't stopping. The violence towards women continues unabated. So maybe the time has come for women to stop them. If that means coming to blows and breaking somebody's arm or face or neck, well, it's not a fight women are seeking, just trying to survive.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 28 May 2005 - 1:54pm
fighting male on female violence with female on male violence ..

is a lose:lose scenario - that is what I meant by 100% wrong - please don't go there.

I don't "feel" your pain - but I do "acknowledge" it.

I wish more men would stand up to other men who hurt women - there are too many guys who stick their head in the sand who don't want to deal with jerk males who abuse women physically. I think you would be more successful to encourage males to police other males than to take the jerks on yourself.

I joined this thread because I'm a wrestling coach where guys are being asked/forced to wrestle girls. I don't want the guys to do it and I'm in an extreme minority - I thought if I asked a feminist, I might get some answers - but you always seem to change the subject.

I agree that women's martial arts and self-defense are great ... but stepping out on the mat and challenging a boy to a fight is not self-defense. We've got 110 pound 18 yr old female SRs in high-school (a woman) going against 15 yr old 110 pound male freshmen (a boy) who only has hair on his head. According to wrestling rules - it's a fair fight. This is not female survival - this is "in your face" aggression - and the female fans absolutely revel in seeing the young man lose.

Is a girl/woman kicking a boy/man's ass in a publicly sanctioned event a good thing for society? You've avoided nearly all my questions - or I'm an idiot male that doesn't like answers filled with nuance - my feeble mind can only comprehend yes/no stuff.

PS - and men do strike out ... a lot - but do they need to also be beaten up by girls in order to respect them? You're answer to violence with violence is ... well, quite male.

iowamf's picture
Posted by iowamf (not verified) on 28 May 2005 - 3:17pm
You say I'm avoiding your questions

I say you load up your questions with so much rhetoric, it's clear you're not asking, you're telling. What answer could I possibly offer in the face of your attitudes? Your mind seems to be made up.

You're the one who took this to violence. My emphasis on men striking out is more general -- that men simply do not like to "lose" to women, whether it's in sports or business or politics or whatever. Look at the misogynistic hate directed at Hillary Clinton or Martha Stewart. Women who "win" in male-dominated fields like politics and business are generally ill-treated in the public forum. If Stewart were a man, her stock-related problems would have barely merited a 1-paragraph blurb on page 27.

Men don't like to lose to women. And I was suggesting that maybe men need to lose more. An abuser keeps abusing, until he's stopped. That counts in social abuse, beaurocratic abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, whatever. It's pathological, and rooted in the fragile male ego. And I submit that part of that fear of strong women arises out of a culture that is all about encouraging men to dominate women, lest they be seen as "pussy whipped" or "mama's boys."

Is a girl/woman kicking a boy/man's ass in a publicly sanctioned event a good thing for society?

In the context that men are kicking women's asses every minute of every hour of every day in this country, maybe. I don't know. Personally I'm against fighting "sports," but if we're going to spend public tax dollars training men to physically dominate others, why shouldn't we do the same for women? And if women are getting routinely physically abused, then why not give girls a chance to spar against men and gain some experience at fighting back?

It's a Faustian bargain, though. Trying to be egalitarian about gladiator "sports" is addressing the symptom but not the problem.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 28 May 2005 - 3:54pm
RE: You say I'm avoiding your questions

The questions are the ones with the "?" at the end - of which there are very few in my posts - and quite clear.

The young men who forfeit are usually booed and jeered with "chicken" from the women in the stands - not "pussy whipped". I still think the guys are doing the right thing by not fighting when challenged - I still have no idea what you think of their choice/sacrifice.

I've had to look up Faustian & egaliterian in your last sentence alone - your command of vocabulay is awesome.

You've got a great web site - especially good stuff for us intellectual neanderthals.

Kind Regards & Thanks for the dialog - I'm out for days.

iowamf's picture
Posted by iowamf (not verified) on 28 May 2005 - 4:44pm
I agree

...about the guys refusing to fight doing the right thing. It's not quite the gladiators refusing to fight to entertain the Romans, but still, it reflects a certain dignity, I'll grant you. It seems the women yelling "chicken" are operating from the male model of encouraging conflict for entertainment.

Yet I applaud the girls who signed up to wrestle and stand their ground. So my feelings are mixed.

I'd agree about the "great website" bit, but that would be immodest. ;) Still, the quality is boosted by many other posters here. I'm a fortunate hostess. Thanks for the nod.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 28 May 2005 - 5:38pm