Battle of the Sexes

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I went to see this movie in theatres because I wanted to support the kinds of stories I think should be told, but I had no idea the effect it would have on me emotionally. I probably cried more in this movie than any movie I’ve ever seen, and it brought to the forefront of my mind every emotion around women and athletics that I’ve been pushing down for years.

All I ever wanted was to be respected as an athlete, and not as a “female athlete", or “good for a girl”, but simply good. I grew up with two brothers in a cul-de-sac full of boys, played softball and hockey at the national and provincial level, took an extra P.E.12 class during my spare in high school and dabbled in snowboarding, basketball, volleyball & badminton. I have devoted tens of thousands of hours to multiple sports, and I say this not to brag, but to try and demonstrate how insulting it is when dudes who haven’t played since they were a kid tell me “wow you can throw harder than me”.

Though my salad days in athletics are well behind me, I am still active in the sporting community, and it’s exhausting to have to continually prove myself. It’s exhausting to feel like I’m representing my entire gender when I play, that every throw or hit or shot is under a microscope, and that any mistake I might make will reaffirm someone’s belief that women can’t play sports. I’d like to think things are better than they’ve been in the past, but I wonder if that’s more about rhetoric than actual, systematic change. I’ve been in situations recently where I’ve been excited that maybe things are turning a corner, only to be disappointed and find out that behind the scenes the story remains the same. They can’t tell us we aren't allowed to play, but we’re certainly not welcome.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, see the movie, try to be sympathetic, and don’t assume all women suck at sports before you see them play.

Note 1: Before you try to gaslight me or tell me that my own, personal experience was wrong, please remember that you couldn’t possibly know.

Note 2: Yes, I understand biology.