Today marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX — the equal opportunity act that gave little girls the right to play sports.
It’s what kept us at the ball field 5 nights a week this month. It’s what made my girls’ night with the WNBA possible.
It’s about equality.
Yet, we’re still not there.
I watched these amazing, professional women play basketball with everything they have — to a mostly empty crowd. In other seasons, I’ve watched whiny, egotistical men play at basketball to a full house.
Where’s the equality in that?
Sure, we’re allowed to play now, but it’s still looked down upon as “just” women’s sports. We have the right to work, at 81% of men’s salaries. And, the part that irritates me most of all — we’re looked down upon should we make a different choice altogether.
Fourteen years ago, the hubby and I made the choice for one of us to stay home with our children. For economic reasons, I was the one. (Hello? 81%!) And, somehow, I’m anti-feminist because I didn’t go out and get a job to support myself. Apparently, the war on women is all my fault.
I disagree that feminism means I have to work. What it means is I have opportunities. I have the right to work. But, doesn’t that also mean I have the right to stay at home?
It’s the same with sports. My sporty tween can only be grateful for Title IX as she plans to play volleyball and basketball in addition to softball this year. The youngest wants to try soccer and football next. Yes, football.
And, I’m okay with that. Just as I’m okay with the teen who isn’t interested in any of it. You should hear the reactions we get when people find out she doesn’t play any sports. If we support our children (and women!) in whatever choices they make, that has to mean we support their decision to choose none of the above.
I want my girls to grow up knowing they can be anything they want to be. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, moms — I want whatever makes them happy. It’s their job to figure out what that is. And, it’s my job to help them get there.
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