Dear Diary, I’ve always been a moderately active person. I enjoy a wide variety of physical activities and sports, and sometimes wonder, in hindsight, if any potential passions might have been stamped out by gender stereotypes. Throughout elementary school, I played soccer in an all-girls league. In 5th grade, I joined the school team, which happened to be co-ed. Needless to say, it was a combination of my size, age, gender and basic awkwardness around members of the opposite sex that made me eventually drop out of the game. But before I did, I absolutely refused to back down—which meant I got completely mowed over about sixty times per game, usually by gargantuan 8th grade boys. I was so caught up in not letting those giants, or my male coach, think for a second that I would back down from my defensive position out of fear or female delicacy, that I stopped enjoying the sport. I quit and picked up a volleyball. Now that I’m a parent, my past childhood anxieties morph into brand-new mommy worries. I know that just giving girls the opportunity to play sports in schools doesn’t mean they will always have a fair shot, especially if their sport of choice is male dominated and full of physical aggression. I also know that if my son wants to take dance or gymnastics classes or perform in musicals, he will cross some serious gender lines. As much as I wholeheartedly and completely support any such decision, my nagging childhood anxieties remind me that there will be a million subtle, passive ways that he will be deterred from pursuing such interests. Granted, my son is only three-years-old, so I have a few years before this gets really tricky. At the same time, I know that the only place to buy gymnastics equipment and clothing for little boys in my small town is online. I know that if my friend’s little girl wants to play football or soccer she will either be forced into awkwardly oversized and ill-fitted boys’ gear or into unnecessarily pink or zebra striped equipment that will get her mocked. I don’t exactly have a plan of action yet, but I guess all of these flashbacks and flash-forwards have made me pay close attention to how and when interests change. Did my son stop playing dress up because someone told him it was girly? Perhaps further down the road, will he drop out of ballet or volleyball just to fit in with the boys playing tackle football in the neighbor’s backyard? Is it more ethical to subject our sons to concussions or tutus? I don’t have a daughter but wonder why society portrays running like a girl to be a wimpy act? Hey DFTM Fam–What does running like a girl look like in your house? Are you supporting your daughter’s decision pick up soccer balls or your son’s interest in tying on ballet slippers? Tweet your answers to @dearmomdiary using #LikeAGirl Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.