Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which was the first public acknowledgment that girls can move their bodies and be serious athletes. Before Title IX, the general assumption was that boys were athletic and girls were not (unless they were “tomboys,” but that was just a phase), so girls didn’t need to have organized sports.
Title IX changed that. And the results, 40 years out, are that girls have the same ability to play sports and join teams now as boys do. And that’s good for both girls and boys.
My boys are growing up with girls who aren’t afraid to run faster than the boys do. Their friends play soccer, both girls and boys. Everybody swims. If my boys want to join a cheer squad, they’ll be able to (although those pyramids scare me). Figure skating or hockey, the ice belongs to both sexes.
Title IX means that everybody wins, because everybody gets to play, and everybody gets to watch their friends play. And Title IX means that boys win, because they grow up knowing that women are strong as well as beautiful, sweaty as well as sparkly, strategic as well as smart. They’ll make good choices because they’ll grow up with girls who set the standards high, and who challenge them to keep pushing themselves.
My only personal intersection with Title IX was one truly mediocre year on the tennis team in high school. But the good it’s doing for my boys makes me thrilled.
Here’s to girls in sports!
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