By: Adela Dunkley
Recently, my high school has introduced Saturday Programming to replace the usual Saturday classes that have taken place in the previous years. Saturday Programming is meant to be a way to get boarders and day students out of their dorms and homes to participate in a wide range of activities. The activities that take place vary and differentiate, but every so often, a House event is run on that Saturday. On these days, the girls and boys participate within their respective houses in a competitive activity for house points. However, the girls and boys end up doing different activities surrounding the same sport. The boys compete playing the actual sport, whereas the girls compete playing a modified version of the sport that is supposedly “better for them”. This article will investigate the pros and cons of having the girls play a modified version of the sport and my high school community members’ opinions on this topic, as well as a possible solution.
Most recently, the boys houses played a game of soccer while the girls houses played a game of four corner soccer. In four corner soccer, there are four hurdles as the nets, two soccer balls, and four teams of seven playing at once. Many girls were opposed to the idea of a modified version of soccer, however after playing it, many girls found that it was more enjoyable and inclusive. Lots of us realized that the modified sport was for the better, however the issue that girls are unintentionally overlooked as “athletically incapable” still exists.
When girls of all grades were asked about how they felt being unintentionally overlooked, 100% of them said that they believe it’s unfair that we as girls are viewed as “athletically incapable”. Even though girls aren’t being told this, it’s implied and that’s where the issue occurs. As girls we believe it’s unfair that sports and activities only get modified for us and not the boys. While one of the main reasons is that it’s more inclusive, it doesn’t change the fact that the boys aren’t receiving the same thing. Many girls mentioned other activities such as camp activities where the boys got to do activities such as the giant swing and the ropes course, while girls have to wait till they’re in a specific grade to do these things. Girls aren’t being intentionally overlooked, but when girls compare what they’re doing to the guys, they feel as if they’re being treated differently on purpose.
When boys of all grades, were asked about how they viewed the situation the girls are in, about 90% of them said that they didn’t care. They weren’t aware of this issue, but after being informed about it, they said that they don’t care how this issue is solved. For them, it’s one day every few weeks and they don’t really care what they’re playing during that hour and 15 minutes. Many of them even went to argue about sports in general and how there are some sports at the school that only girls can play competitively. They agreed that yes some of us are athletically capable, however boys are genetically stronger and faster. When it came to proposing a solution for this issue, they said that they don’t care what they play or how they play it.
After receiving both the girls and boys opinions, the teacher in charge of girls’ House events was interviewed about House event Saturday Programming and why it is the way it is. She said quote “The girls played four corner soccer because it makes more kids active and all houses can compete at the same time. With the boys, there are five houses, so it made more sense to play soccer due to practicality. It’s harder to split the field five ways. It had nothing to do with the girls being athletically incapable”. As girls, we feel that although we’re not being intentionally viewed as “athletically incapable”, the fact that we’re not treated the same way as the boys with sports and activities bothers us.
In the future, it would be best to find a way where both boys and girls can be treated equally with all activities, and the best solution for that would be to modify both the girls and boys sports and activities. Modified sports, such as four corner soccer are more inclusive and fun, hence why they should be used for both boys and girls. The boys do have five houses meaning that some modified sports don’t work however, we can experiment with different sports and find a solution that appeases both boys and girls. Traditionally, females are overlooked within society, but we have the opportunity to change that. To conclude, there is an existing issue within our community and we believe that there are other, better alternatives. We as a community should start experimenting in order to include the opinions of all students to prevent further implications of girls being “athletically incapable”.