Tonawanda News — I didn’t hear who said that. And I’m sure Penny didn’t fully comprehend the sexist nature of the comment. But she knew the handful of men who subsequently laughing were laughing at her.
She didn’t like it.
I didn’t like it.
She began to get upset. I didn’t know what to do. So I grabbed her and hugged her. I told her what a good job she did hitting. I told her I was proud of her. I kept talking so as to drown out the laughter.
I could not believe what I’d just encountered. I mean, we’re in the 21st century. And we’re still going to make shoe store jokes? And to 5-year-olds?
Does anyone out there realize how many influences there already are trying to convince our girls to live up to cliched standards of beauty, occupation and pastime? And then — during an activity meant to encourage equality — we do that?
Even ignoring the Neanderthal thinking, who gets off making fun of children? Do you laugh at your kids when they’re having a bad day at home? Do you mock them when they get their homework wrong?
I’ve always believed in positive reinforcement (for the most part). Children are far more likely to correct themselves when you accentuate the positive rather than accentuate the negative. So adults in what’s supposed to be an instructional moment seem way off-base when they’re chiding one’s play.
But this wasn’t even about her play. It was a borderline personal attack. And it could easily have been interpreted to mean girls shouldn’t even try to be athletes. I don’t honestly think it was meant that maliciously, but if there’s any chance of it, you shouldn’t say it.