Dads Against the Divorce Industry

DA*DI is devoted to reinstating the societal valuation of Marriage and the traditional, nuclear American Family, with particular emphasis on the essential role of FATHERS.

DA*DI offers contemporary reports and commentary on culture; its aberrations and its heroes.

Kathleen Parker: Making Sense of Things

We all lose when boys, girls wrestle

Published in The Orlando Sentinel on March 3, 1999.

By Kathleen Parker
Commentary

Call me old-fashioned, please, and then beam me to another planet.

I'm watching a junior-high school wrestling match -- reason enough to long for Venus -- when I begin to hallucinate. This must be one of the long-promised flashbacks caused by my misspent youth. For surely, that's not a girl pinned beneath that pile of boy flesh.

Craning my neck, I blink a few times. Sure enough, it's a girl. Wrestling a boy. What silliness is this? Equality's the name, foolishness the game.

While I was ignoring the sports pages the past few years, girls apparently were developing an interest in wrestling. I can't explain the phenomenon and won't try. I guess wannabe girl wrestlers were always in our midst; now they're out of the tomboy closet onto the mats.

In 1997, according to USA Wrestling, 1,629 girls participated in high-school wrestling, up from 112 in 1990 and 760 in 1994. Female wrestling becomes an Olympic sport at the Sydney Games in 2000. Which is to say, women's wrestling is here to stay.

I'm all for women wrestling. I'm for women doing whatever they want -- just so long as they don't do it to or with my son without his permission. The problem with girl wrestling is that they don't have enough same-gender counterparts; ergo, they have to wrestle boys.

Can girls compete with boys? You bet. Can girls beat boys? Sometimes. Do boys get to say, "I'd rather not?" Not if they want to be on the team.

In the match I observed, the girl did win. The boy was smaller, weaker and forever ruined among his peers. The other boys looked at him with disgust: How could you let a girl beat you?

Usually, the results are otherwise, however. Boys typically are stronger, and often the girls get hurt. If the boy wins, he's a bully; if he doesn't win, he's a loser in every sense of the word.

Everyone by now understands the need to allow girls equal participation in sports. Since 1972, Title IX has made it illegal to do otherwise. We who grew up when the only outlet for female athletes was cheerleading can only applaud the respect (and money) now given to women's sports.

But pitting boys against girls in contact sports is an error in judgment that shouldn't need explaining. In our scrambling to manufacture laws of gender-proportionality, we've forgotten the more compelling laws of the jungle.

Instinctively, I know that teenage boys and girls grappling with their evolving bodies and the hormonal challenges of puberty don't need to be up-close-and-personal in the sweaty arena of a wrestling match. Beyond the obvious, what are we teaching our young people about the opposite sex?

In my youth -- right after we finished work on the wheel -- our parents taught boys not to hit or wrestle with girls because they might hurt them. Boys learned to respect the physical limitations of their sisters; they learned, too, that physical relationships between men and women were special, not down-and-dirty like boys' sandlot antics.

What if, instead, they had been taught that girls were the same as they? What if they learned that girls just offered another sweaty body to paw around? The answer may lie in the increase in date rapes and the growing rate of violence against women.

Men my age learned quickly not to open doors for "ladies" after they'd been verbally slapped a few times. The next generation may never recall a time when relationships between men and women were special.

DA*DI Comment:


Violence against women act? What violence against women? This is just leading to cultural permission for a guy to "knock her block off" as much as he might any other guy.

This kind of freedom may have a terrible price tag. In fact, I'll bet on it.

Thanks Kathleen for once again making sense.

Gerald L. Rowles, Ph.D.

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