Girls Play Football Too: Gender Roles On The Playground


“Did she tell you she hit her head?” my husband asked. “Yes,” I said. I went on to explain that my daughter fell and bumped her head when one of the boys pushed her while playing tag. “I just don’t like her playing with the boys. They are too rough and probably annoyed that she’s in their game anyway,” he continued. “Why can’t she just play with the girls?”
Excuse me? Just play with the girls? Is he serious? Maybe I’m over thinking it, but his statement sounded like a bit of gender stereotyping to me. To think that a girl shouldn’t play with boys simply because she might get hurt is just ridiculous! I know that my husband’s real concern is that his little girl will get hurt roughhousing with the boys. Of course I don’t want her to get hurt either. But playing with girls won’t necessarily prevent accidents. (And the one time she really did get hurt, it was at an all-girls summer camp.)

I tried to explain to him that we couldn’t send her on the playground in bubble wrap. As much as we would like to, we can’t protect her from everything. She will fall, scrape her knee, and maybe even break (another) bone—and it probably won’t be because she was playing with boys. I don’t think that was the answer he was looking for.

He probably won’t want to hear this either, but I love that Journey gets right in there with the boys. I like that she doesn’t mind getting dirty (although she does come home surprisingly clean considering). I like that she doesn’t back down, even though the boys give her a hard way to go sometimes (read Can You Bully-Proof Your Kid). My husband is probably right about them be annoyed, but so what!

I’d like to think that my daughter is a reflection of today’s little girl. One who loves pink and princesses as much as she loves a game of touch football. One who loves a tea party as much as she loves to shoot hoops. One that loves her Star Wars legos as much as she loves her Friends legos. One who likes to play with boys just as much as girls. One who is confident enough not to let anyone (not even her parents) define her place in society. Sorry dad (and boys on playgrounds across America), get used to it!

Follow me on twitter @simonesayswhat

1 thought on “Girls Play Football Too: Gender Roles On The Playground

  1. i was scrappy on the playground and a lady with the teddy bears and tea sets. it can be done. i loved dirt: mud pies and red berries that i didn’t eat because we were told not to. instead, we squished them with our toes. life is for living. your daughter sounds like a champ. 🙂

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