You Throw Like a Girl

Posted on November 12, 2010

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It’s interesting to look through history and see the upward climb women have made. But before I go farther, let me clear something up. I’m not a feminist. I’m also not a victim that many like to play because women used to not have the same privileges men had. But I am an editor. So I look at words . . . a lot. And I hear certain phrases and notice trends.

Do you remember the days when everything was about him or himself because he went somewhere?

How about the policeman, the fireman, the statesman?

I actually have no complaints about those. They were terms that everyone was accustomed to that suddenly women felt victimized by. Suddenly women were “left out” because original terms had a male term within them, such as the examples above. Ever came the sentences that included the phrases “he or she,” and “him or her,” and “himself or herself.” Now we have to use terms such as states-person, firefighter, police officer in place of the above examples in order to not offend in writing or speech.

Even those don’t bother me. If we have to use the more “official” term, then fine. If we have to pluralize our pronouns, then OK. I’m on board.

But there are those phrases I (and many others) deem sexist.

Let’s look at the most common and well-known foundational statement that created this idea:

“You throw like a girl.”

Maybe since the beginning of time, bigger and rougher guys have been yelling this phrase to the smaller, wimpier guys  on the baseball field. Unfortunately, I don’t think most men realize that a phrase like this is demeaning and belittling to women.

Yes.

Most women would agree that their physical skills or strength might not be as strong or capable as some men’s. OK. But there’s a big point that I think most men miss when they say phrases such as these. Why is it necessary to make someone feel like less of a person–or athlete–by telling them their skill set is “only” equivalent to that of a woman’s?

One great thing I have learned is that  you would be wiser to boast about your strengths than to flaunt another person’s weaknesses in order to make yourself look, feel, or be better.

From that one phrase, other debasing phrases have evolved over time:

  • Greeting a female as “Woman!”
  • Telling another man he is “such a woman.”
  • “You’re acting like a girl.”

When a guy might be more sensitive, might have more creative or artistic interests he wants to pursue, or might not be the most athletically fit, the “manlier” men seem to use these types of phrases to put down that man; in the process, however, they are also degrading women.

This is unnecessary dialog. It doesn’t need to take place. So, not as feminist, but as a woman, I’m saying to stop it. There’s enough pride in people’s hearts and ridicule to go around already. Don’t add to it by joking in a way that puts down women in the process.

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