Like a Girl

Vassar College ResolutesIt’s getting nice outside and that always makes me think about baseball. I grew up around baseball. My family was very involved in Little League and all of the various stages of baseball leading up to it (I even managed for the team my dad coached for a few years) and we took family trips around the country, stopping to see ballgames along the way. Even though I haven’t always appreciated every nuance of the game, baseball is a big part of summer for me.

So I was excited when the baseball displays went up at work and eagerly looked at all the new books about my favorite summer sport. Some of them look really interesting while others… not so much. One particularly caught my interest because it talked extensively about a game I remembered hearing about as a kid (despite it being having happened almost 100 years ago). I spent some time flipping through the book, and then flipped to the back to the author blurb. It was written by a woman, which is cool, but the blurb stated that “she does not throw like a girl”.

I hate the phrase “like a girl”. Obviously, usually it’s said in regards to throwing or hitting or something and often comes up regarding baseball, but it comes up with other things too. Why is doing something “like a girl” so bad? And what does that even mean? Nobody says “you throw like a boy”, even as a compliment. The best you can get is “you don’t throw like a girl”, which is a backhanded compliment at best. It just bugs me because it gets back to the whole “boys are better than girls” thing.

Girls should be able to go just as far as boys do, but they can’t when it comes to sports. Baseball especially has little to offer girls Little League. No matter how talented a girl is at baseball, there are only so many levels of play for her to go through before she simply runs out of options. We have professional hockey and basketball for women now, so why not baseball? But it’s not likely to happen because not even high school girls get to play baseball. They get stuck with softball, which isn’t at all the same thing. There just aren’t a whole lot of options for girls who want to play hardball. Historically there have been more options, but right now, there just doesn’t seem to be much there.

That little phrase, “she does not throw like a girl”, had two results (besides this blog post). It made me decide to definitely not read the book (which I had been unsure about before), and it made me run a search in the database for “girls baseball”, which gave me a list of interesting sounding books to check out! A few I have already read (and some have been reviewed here already), but quite a few were new to me and sounded fascinating, so now I have a new reading list to pursue for the hot summer months!

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