The world has evolved and transformed tremendously since the early ages. From the Homo Habilis to the Homo Sapiens, mankind underwent not only physiological changes but psychological as well. The predetermined airtight gender-based roles have undergone dilution since the ancient ages. The concept of allocation of ability based on gender has since been discarded, to some extent. However, it has not been discarded fully.
Even in today’s modern era, cases exist, which highlight the presence of this mindset.
As we know, the misogynist mindset doesn’t consider women being capable of possessing strength. Any act/task requiring physical prowess is automatically allocated to men and boys since they are considered stronger. Sports is no exception. The prevalent sexist mindset refuses to acknowledge any sort of ability being possessed by any women and girls in the case of sports, by virtue of them being women and girls and hence not ‘strong enough’. One such incident will be shared by yours truly.
Trials for the annual sports festival were being conducted by College ‘X’. Naturally, both boys and girls should be given equal opportunity to enrol and take part in the same. The same principle was adhered to here technically, but not actually. Meaning that though both were allowed to enrol for the tryouts, the evaluation was far from fair. Due to the inherent sexist mindset of the coach conducting the evaluations, and the sole authority of selection being vested to him – a power influx was created that was against the girls of the college. Exceptional performers were overlooked for participants who were boys.
However, one star among these shone the brightest. This girl was exceptional, even in comparison to the elites. She tried to enrol for the mixed basketball match, where the teams could comprise both boys and girls. This girl’s performance was off the charts. She outdid most of the boys present there and everyone expected her to score the highest.
Any act/task requiring physical prowess is automatically allocated to men and boys since they are considered stronger.
However, in the final selection, she was utterly overlooked. She was awarded mediocre marks and was placed in the bottom percentile. This fact did not sit well with her. She had the utmost confidence in her skills and did not expect an evaluation such as this, hence, she visited the coach in order to seek any form of explanation as to what defect she possessed with respect to her gameplay being overlooked.
The answer shook her to her core. The coach told her that even though her skills were admirable, she wouldn’t be able to keep up, or survive a match against the boys, who were stronger and faster – allegedly. He said that he was ‘concerned for her safety’ and hence refrained from selecting her ‘for her own benefit’. He claimed that girls do not have the requisite physical strength required to beat the boys.
This answer utterly unexpected. Her expectations and hopes were crushed by these crude remarks. However, she was not alone. She had the most supportive family and the greatest of companions – who supported her when she was in grief and encouraged her to stand against injustice. When encouraged by her friends, she decided to take action and approached the authorities to complain. She set up a meeting with the Principal of the college and told him all that transpired. The Principal was surprised and taken aback by the crude behaviour and backward thinking of his staff.
The coach was summoned the next day. One being enquired by the Principal he denied all his previous statements and claimed that he had been just and fair in the evaluations. He claimed that the girl did not meet the requisite standards and was thus eliminated. This blatant lie flabbergasted the candidate. However, she was determined to seek justice. She demanded another chance to take the exams in front of the Principal – in order to prove her worth.
Exceptional performers were overlooked for participants who were boys.
This statement terrified the coach to his core, his web of lies was about to come undone and he had no way to escape. However, he tried. In order to save his occupation, he decided to bribe the girl, allowing her to join the team – provided she abandoned the matter then and there. The temptation of the offer, however, did not falter the determination of the girl, and she did take the test and performed brilliantly, thus causing the coach to be terminated.
Therefore, justice was served. However, this result was achieved, not solely by the girl, but it was a group victory. Her family and friends who believed in her and supported her played a tremendous part in it. The Principal was also to be acknowledged. He did not abuse his position and till the end, was fair and just in his decision making and enabled the dolmen of justice.
Thus, despite the presence of a few bigots, the world is currently experiencing change at a remarkable level. Equality with regards to gender is spreading and thus, the traditional regressive gender roles are melting – paving the way for a better society.
Also Read: How I Saw Covid19 Force The Patriarchal Gaze Inwards
Featured image used for representational purpose only. Image source: New Yorker