We don’t want a pedestal, thank you very much

Posted: May 12, 2012 in Arizona Politics, Discrimination, Disgusted in AZ, Religion
Tags: , ,

They just don’t get it.  By they, I mean conservatives, particularly conservative men.  Here’s a prime example.

Our Lady of Sorrows Academy in Phoenix forfeited a chance to win the state baseball championship because the other team had a girl at second base. The say they have a policy of not letting boys and girls compete against one another. Their rep said:

“Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls…”

This PR guy, the school he represents and the faith they both represent  fail to understand that by not letting her play they are not not treating her as an equal. The Lady of Sorrow’s team is actually disrespecting her. They are not teaching a lesson of respect so much as objectification.  When you put someone on a pedestal and treat them as someone to be protected, you objectify them. And whenever a person becomes objectified there are all kinds of complications that result.

One common outcome is that girls will not get the same opportunities that boys do.  This young woman will not get to experience the joy of competition and potentially earning a championship title in a sport that she must dearly love (considering she has probably faced a lot of opposition before this).  Another common outcome is that girls’ behavior will be more restricted than boys.  If I had a dime for every time someone told me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl and I proved them wrong, I would be the female Warren Buffet (but with less nostril hair).  Yet I was always punished in some way in the end.  Throw the ball harder than your male teammate and get called a dyke.   So what women are allowed to do becomes a very narrow path and any deviation from it, regardless of whether it is good or bad, get’s punished.  Furthermore, it pushes women into careers or a lack thereof that is not suited to their actual abilities and/or personality.  Take a boisterous, physical, social and competitive young lady and force her to be a stay at home mom…..she will probably not be very happy.  Take the shy, quiet, mousy, smart girl who loves books and don’t let her get beyond high school and place her in a job where she has to do a monotonous task dealing with other people all day long (a waitress perhaps).   See how happy she ends up.

Another outcome I want to address is the no win situation women are put into.  When you put women on a pedestal, you are setting expectations that they will be better than men AND you set them up to fall from much greater heights.  The contrast between the standard of perfection demanded by a pedestal and any deviation from that standard means that a woman cannot mess up, not even a little.  One little slip, and she will fall all the way down.  It’s the madonna/whore dichotomy.   You’re pure until you show the least amount of sexuality (or men perceive that you have been impure, even if you haven’t) and then you’re impure.  Nothing in between those two points, is there?  This kind of thinking, in societies where “rule of law” is not well established, leads to Honor Killings.

Which brings us to the last outcome-women are robbed of their agency.  As in the Honor Killings I just mentioned, her behavior ultimately reflects on the men in her life.   Furthermore, women are not someone who acts but someone who gets acted against, around, upon, etc.   Here’s an example from my own life.  When I was in college I beat out all of the men and women from 5 different universities to win a 3-year ROTC scholarship.   All together I had the highest GPA, the best PT scores, the best panel interview results, and the best reports from field operations.  I  worked my ass off for that award and I deserved it.   The men said, to my face (and some of the women behind my back), that I must have slept with someone to get it.  No amount of empirical evidence would sway their opinion because a woman CAN’T and SHOULDN’T compete with men.  When you go into a situation with that mindset, nothing that a woman does can be earned.  She must have everything given to her.  She is not capable of acting.

And that’s what they did to this young lady.  They punished her and took away her agency.  They treated her like an object instead of a live, human being of equal value to her male teammates.  That young lady deserved the opportunity to play.  Now all the boys on her team won’t want her to play in future because they were punished too and they’ll be afraid it will happen again.  See how social approbation works?  In the end, the administrators of  Our Lady of Perpetual Stupidity…uh….Sorrows is not doing anyone any favors.  So, that’s all a very long winded way to say, take that pedestal and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

  1. Craig says:

    Personally, I want to give credit where it’s due – the school is doing just a bang-up job of protecting the boys on their baseball team from the humiliating scourge of…wait for it…cooties.

  2. alopecia says:

    “Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls…”

    Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

    The coaches and players at Our Lady of Sorrows Academy knew full well there was a coed team playing in the tournament. If this were truly such a terrible issue for them, the team should not have entered. Pearl-clutching like this at the last minute stinks of (a) desperation and (b) politics.

    And because I have a strange brain and a large collection of quotes:

    I believe you should put a woman on a pedestal—high enough to look up her dress. –Steve Martin

  3. rumpydog says:

    you tell ’em sister! I’m so tired of all these silly rules! If the kid earned the spot on the team she deserves to play!

    • drangedinaz says:

      Can you imagine how hard she had to work to make that team in the first place? I have seen it time and time again where women have to be even better than a man at the same job just to compete. If he works 50 hours she will have to work 60 to compete.

  4. Hala J. says:

    Uuuugh!!! Yeah take that damn pedestal and shove it indeed. The school’s reasoning makes no sense (vastly unlike your article which is awesome). How are you respecting a girl by refusing her the opportunity to play? Some people need to be smacked repeatedly with a clue-by-four.

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