In this self-analysis I will be discussing gender roles and common normative narratives about specific gender roles in our society.
I) Sports are for boys. It is a phrase we often hear as young girls just starting to discover who we are. For many of us it is hard to go against what is “expected” of our gender. For boys it is to be strong and tough and play sports and for girls it is to be feminine and quiet. Often girls get ridiculed when they choose to play sports, especially if they are playing these sports with boys. For me I found that it was the boys who has their mind set on what each gender role was. When they were placed in a situation that went against their original beliefs, they acted mean and tried to discourage a change in the norms. As shown in my story with the quote, “I was finally coming out of my shell to try something new until Parker skated up to me and a couple of the other girls. ‘Hockey is a boys sport and you guys should just quit now.’” Boys are conditioned at a young age by many societal factors to fit into the cookie cutter shape that they are told means to be a boy. They are also told that if someone is not meeting that shape that it isn’t right and it needs to be changed, like women staying in their place and away from “boy” activities.
In Chandria’s story she got ridiculed by her peers by choosing to play sports with the boys. At the age where girls are taught that we shouldn’t be getting dirty and acting rough with the boys Chandria decided to go against that since she enjoyed those things. The quote, “The other girls turn to look at me. “You’re right, she is a boy!” one yells and the others laugh” shows how this normative narrative gets placed into young people’s minds very early on. Just like boys, girls are also pressured into becoming a stereotypical “girl” and taught that anyone who doesn’t meet the criteria is different, weird, and not a “girl”. In Lochlin’s story you can see how easy it is to fit into this mold if you choose to. Lochlin received no sort of ridicule in his choice to play football, like Chandria did. He even says in his story, “I never question who I am, or who I am meant to be because I don’t need to. Being me comes naturally, so I let myself flow.” It shows how it is easy for boys to play sports without being ridiculed since it is something that is typically gendered male. Gender norms and the pressures they put onto young people is often drilled into girls and boys at a young age.
The normative narrative that sports are only for boys is often a hard thing to grasp for many young children. Many girls go through the tough decision to continue (or start to) play sports and get ridiculed by parents and peers or if they want to quit sports and conform to their gender norms. In all of these stories you can see the differences that boys and girls go through with sports as well as the different types of ridicule they can go through when deciding to play these sports. Society makes young people think that they have to conform to these outdated gender roles.
II) Interrupting this narrative can be tough for lots of children. Playing sports with the boys while trying to ignore the ridicule from others is difficult. Chandria’s story is an example of her trying to disrupt the narrative. She gets made fun of by the other girls for playing football but does not give in to the social norms that were pushed upon her. Girls are told that football is a boy’s sport but she loves playing it so she didn’t let that stop her and she continued to play the sport. In my story I was discouraged after getting picked on by one of the boys for my decision to start playing hockey. The meanness that was shown to me just because I was a girl in a “boy’s” sport did not stop me from finishing the practice and the rest of the season.
If we really want to change the normative narrative that sports are for boy’s we need to keep encouraging girls to do what they are passionate about and to not ridicule others for what they’re passionate about. We also need to stop teaching boys that sports are only for them and start teaching them that it’s normal for girls to play these sports too. Just like in Chandria and I’s stories, it is important to push past the ridicule and the norms that we are taught and paly the sports we want to play.