Dear friends, I don't know if it's the stressful exam season triggering an inclination to write another passive aggressive blog post. And yet, here we are. And here I am, about to embark on my first semi-feminist rant. Ready?
On Saturday evening, I went out with several members of my dodgeball team to play laser tag. Fun, right? Actually, overall, playing laser tag was fantastically fun. I hadn't played laser tag in years, and I had a great time (minus the incidents below). Plus, I wanted to pretend I was pseudo-Robin a la How I Met Your Mother the first time she plays laser tag with Barney. What? I love that show.
Anyway, my dodgeball friends had invited a couple of male friends I didn't know. Once we were ready to play, we had to divide ourselves into two teams. But we had a problem. An insurmountable amount of guys showed up, but there were only 3 of us girls. Not a problem right? We didn't have to play guys vs. girls. And so we attempted to divide ourselves up into two teams, regardless of gender. Yet an exchange with one of the guys I didn't know irked me.
I was donning a Blue Team vest, as did the 2 other girls, when the guy noticed the team colour we belonged to. He paused, then hurriedly took off the Blue Team vest he was already wearing. "Why are you switching?" I asked casually. "Oh, I don't want to be on the same team as you guys. I actually want to win, and I won't if I'm on a team with girls in it," he replied with genuine honesty.
What? What now? I realize that it's common to joke about sports that males are potentially "better at" than females. But his statement wasn't a joke. He honestly believed that female team members would bring his team down. Frankly, I was quite ready to throw courtesy to the wind so I could reach over and smack him. That was downright mean.
And so as the night went on, we were shot plenty of times. Female weaklings are targets to gain points, didn't you know? However, in our defense, I doubt our (lack of) laser tag skill was a result of weak physical ability or competitive merit. Perhaps it's because I haven't played laser tag since elementary school? Versus guys who play it all the time? Who says I can't learn how to shoot a gun? I read for a living. But it doesn't mean I don't have the capability to learn or the capacity to be competitive at a particular activity or sport.
I overheard these snide comments throughout the night by the same particular guys. At one point, he asked me what program I was in, laughing that I was "probably in the Arts." Um. What's wrong with the Arts? Or Social Sciences? Are we equating academic disciplines with gender? And no, I'm in Politics. And you? Oh, you're in Engineering? Do me a favour? Could you build a bridge and jump?
The merits of female competition shouldn't be gaged simply by the clothes you wear, and the type of girl you're assessed to be. Nor should your competitive merit be based on your gender or the capabilities (or lack thereof) associated with your gender. Am I overreacting here? Because, dear friends, you have no idea how annoyed I was at those particular comments. Actually, I'm still annoyed. And it saddens me that there are still a number of individuals who inadvertently underestimate how capable women can be at a number of activities. And you wonder why women aren't in politics as much as we hope?
Overall, it was still a fun night. And I will take this opportunity to admit how much I absolutely love my dodgeball team. I'm grateful that my team has never discriminated against female team members, and have always had faith in our capabilities. I absolutely adore every single one of my teammates.
And so, friends, what can we take from this? Women can be just as capable at winning laser tag. Remember that.
"We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders."
- Maya Angelou