I don’t appreciate Vanessa Valenti‘s work nearly so much as she deserves. She’s the sports coordinator of an organization called Girls for Gender Equity, whereas I’m the sort of person who likes sports to the same extent he likes toxic sludge.
On the other hand, hearing my sister Noa tell me how gender-equal her school is makes me a lot more supportive of people like Vanessa. Noa’s school tends to segregate phys ed classes by gender. Either Monaco has no Title IX provision, or it’s not really enforced.
At one point the teachers let all the boys play basketball, while telling the girls they have to play hockey instead. If I’m not mistaken, they engaged in this practice several times, and even ended up gender segregating the entire sports teams.
Some of the girls then raised a ruckus. In a few days, Noa used the word “sexist” more than I have in six months of commenting on Feministing. The school’s response was, “Don’t call us sexist.” When Noa and her friends continued pressing, the school eventually told them, “If you keep calling teachers sexist, we’ll put you all in detention every day until the end of the school year.”
When Noa told me that, I immediately snarked, “The best way for the teachers to avoid being called sexist is for them to stop being sexist.” Fortunately, the school hierarchy realized that; despite the acidic rhetoric, the next phys ed class was not gender segregated.
If that’s not girls succeeding to promote gender equity, I don’t know what is.