Friday, July 9, 2010

gendered ability

I think that our gender stereotypes have locked females and males into a certain abilities that they believe they are able to obtain. Men are constantly connected with strength while women are seen as passive and weak. The prime example of the difference in expectations between women and men are the alterations in push ups. "Boy" push ups are the traditional pushups while "girl" push ups are considered push ups that are done on your knees. This reiterates the fact that our society looks towards women as weak and unable to fulfill the physical strength of men.
When I teach advanced gymnastics classes we always condition at the end. When I say that we are doing push ups I constantly have girls asking me are we allowed to do girl pushups. I always ask what do you mean "girl" push ups? Even though I know exactly what they are talking about I want to stress that just because they are a girl does not mean that they are unable to do a pushup. Most of the girls moan and groan when I say only "real" push ups, but yet they realize they can do them. Some girls are never even taught the proper weight to do pushups they are just told that they can complete them on their knees. I also think that when it comes to physical performance in general; the low expectations in females does not even push them to perform to their fullest potential. While men are frowned upon if they do not perform their physical tasks to a high level of completion women are encouraged to finish their physical tasks at a lower level. I think that the fact that our society tells females that they are not strong and cannot complete the tasks that men do. Therefore girls do not even try as hard as they could because they see themselves in this light. Men are seen as more able and the dominant type in society and its reflected in their ability. 

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