An article in USA Today caught my attention. A girls’ soccer team has several participants that have short haircuts. The article says they want to mirror their heroes, Abby Wanback and Megan Rapinoe.
Their hairstyles have drawn ire, mocking and criticism. But not from kids their own age. Instead, it comes from opposing team’s parents and coaches and referees for the game!
They’ve been ridiculed by opposing parents, coaches, even referees, all of whom refused to accept that they were not boys. At tournaments, they have been asked to prove their gender, and were told they didn’t deserve medals.
But instead of giving in and growing their hair out, the girls, with the help of their parents, coach and soccer club, are sticking with each other — and with their look. After a summer hiatus, they’re preparing for a new season beginning in September.
The article also says the girls play an aggressive style of soccer that is (as their coach says) “the way the game is supposed to be played.”
I applaud the parents, coaches, and girls on this team in Milwaukee who sound like they have a lot more grace under pressure than I would. I also have to ask the other grown-ups who encounter these girls — WTF?!? Once again, here we are trying to reinforce how a kid should or shouldn’t look or act in order to reinforce gender stereotypes. And it really irritates me.
With women consistently paid less to the same jobs as men, we seem to be letting that trickle down into childhood as well.
I guess I’ll be a rebel and raise Shortcake to be whatever she wants to be and teach her that she can excel at anything. And that she can wear her hair however she wants and shouldn’t get mocked. At least not by adults.