Girls and Boys Can Play the Same Sports, Says Reasonable British Lady

Illustration for article titled Girls and Boys Can Play the Same Sports, Says Reasonable British Lady

There's no real reason girls and boys need to be segregated into different sports when they're young. In fact, according to a British lecturer, splitting up boys and girls into gendered athletic activities may instill nascent gender prejudices so that we can still have endless NFL Sunday Ticket commercials in which a hulking slob of a human male sits dead-eyed in front of a television, his chin smeared with ranch dressing as his female companion begs him to turn off the TV, because football is manstuff and women just don't get it, bro.


According to Shian Lawson, a lecturer at Northumbria University (somewhere in the fog-swaddled Christmas quilt that is the United Kingdom), boys and girls should play the same sports when they're young. Because, why not? Girls' bones don't break any faster than boys' bones, and, at a certain age, kids basically have all the same physical attributes (low, across the board). Sex-segregated gym classes or sports establish an unnecessary dichotomy between boys and girls, one that kids pick up on as they move through the various stages of being humiliated on the rope climb in front of the whole class (seriously: the rope climb is some evil, fascist shit).

Lawson, writing in the Telegraph, insisted that there was no physiological justification for separating boys and girls, and that the idea that girls can't play the same sorts of rough sports as boys leads to the mistaken belief that women are inherently weaker than men:

As an anatomist I haven't yet found a reason to see young female bones as more breakable or girls more fragile when given the same level of exercise.

In schools we've already created a fairly even group by dividing children into age-based classes. More to the point we don't segregate the class on the basis of height or strength, we segregate for gender.

The idea of women as unambiguously weaker is so deeply ingrained that sometimes we don't notice that we've made that assumption. Here we are teaching that idea to children, without questioning it ourselves.

Since gym teachers and coaches are widely known as the most progressive creatures in the school system, it's hard to imagine that it'll be very long before Lawson's words take hold in gymnasiums and on fields everywhere.

Image via Getty



So, wait, they would have wanted my past self to be mocked by not only the girls in gym class, but also the boys? Oh HALE no.