Like A Girl

Like a Girl

One Friday night my husband and I got WAAAY too into a surprisingly intense round of toddler basketball, when we realized we weren’t actually letting our toddler have the ball as our excited spirits overtook us, and we fought for one last point in “overtime.” My husband and I are physically very competitive with each other, and I LOVE IT! Ask our daughter who is faster, “Mommy or Daddy?” And she’ll usually say “Mommy.” (OK Dad is super fast too and when fully trained will often beat me, but it’s always a pretty good match up). Ask her whose muscles are bigger, “Mommy or Daddy,” and she will scrunch up her face so hard, flex, and proudly proclaim “Addy’s”… Maybe not, but I LOVE to teach her how exciting muscles are! And even more ecstatic that she actually thinks it’s cool to learn if she eats certain foods and does certain things… then those muscles grow. 

However, as much as I feel my family really puts some solid effort into constantly educating our daughter what her body and brain are capable of, there is always still that moment when you realize you have just accidentally unleashed a negative assumption onto her.  Well this stereotype slipped out of my husband’s mouth that Friday night as we decided to let bygones be bygones, call our game a tie, and ahem (cough cough) include tiny beast in TODDLER BASKETBALL …  

So my husband tosses the ball to Addy (aka tiny beast), and exclaims “Addy you got this!” And she caught the ball like the PRO she is, then propels the ball to me as Dad exclaims, “Way to go!  Look at you.  You don’t through like a girl after all!”  He says teasingly. 

And. I. Pounce.

You MEAN she throws LIKE A GIRL!  As I give him the “eye.”  (You know the EYE)  

“Yes. Yes. You throw so awesome, like a girl!” He awkwardly backtracks. 

Of course there are physical differences in men and women’s bodies. There are different body compositions with unique propensities and advantages for developing flexibility, muscle, speed and endurance.  However, there are also a million other dynamics, including genetics, nutrition, and training that constitute a much larger variation in a person’s physical athletic capacities. And a trained female runner (for example) OF COURSE can, and is likely to, beat a lesser trained male runner. When I am at boot camp my first thought is actually “Don’t let that boy beat you!” But that is just how I think because I love physical competition, and I really like proving stereotypes wrong. In truth, I am often inspired by women and competitive with men. I’m just sort of wired that way.

Cultivating a home culture where physical activity and athleticism is fun has everything to do with teaching my children, particularly my daughter (as my son is still a baby), that our bodies are awesome, functional, fun, and strong. I say all of this coming from the perspective of one of the least naturally fit, and quite probably most innate klutzes, that has walked this earth.  But I have grit.  And grit can take you really, really far.

Why I am a bit “sensitive” when it comes to this joking phrase “throw like a girl,” is that it’s just one. more. time.  One more time that someone is minimizing and reducing a woman’s body and the true strength we hold. In a culture that is quick to objectify a woman’s body as their’s, I can get a bit “sensitive” when any power coming from a girl’s body is reduced to humorous.

When girls start seeing their bodies as EMPOWERING… as HER’S, and HER’S ONLY, then they have one more weapon of defense against a culture that is waaaaay too comfortable reducing them to an object open for attack, judgment, theft, blame, opinion, and critique.  You don’t have to love fitness to do this in your home, and I am sure we take it too far sometimes in ours. Just reinforce all the incredible and beautiful things THEIR bodies are strong enough to do. 

So…

Think like a girl…

Throw like a girl…

March like a girl…

Empathize like a girl…

Fight like a girl…

Run like a girl…

Dance like a girl…

Have grit like a girl…

 

Because it is all so dang beautiful and STRONG.  #LIKEAGIRL

Supergirl takes on the capitol!

I’m totally jumping higher than him (sorry hubs) 😉

Spinach and muscles! Flex ’em girl!

 

 

 

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