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As a matter of conscience and faith, they will treat you differently
February 17, 2011 5:49 PM   Subscribe

A female has won a match for the first time at the prestigious Iowa State Wrestling Tournament . . . by default. Her opponent stated, “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan (Black, the tournament’s other female entrant) and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. As a matter of conscience and my faith, I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most of the high school sports in Iowa.”

Two women, Megan Black and Cassy Herkelman, have been receiving attention lately as impressive competitors. Herkelman's family, as well as others, do not condemn Joel Northrup, home-schooled by his mother with a father, who is a minister at Believers in Grace, a non-denominational church in Marion, Iowa.
posted by Muddler (448 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
While I do not agree with his position, I have to respect his decision to step aside and sacrifice his own participation to be faithful to his beliefs, rather than demanding that the women not be allowed to compete, which would be the more traditional way of dealing with this sort of thing.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:52 PM on February 17, 2011 [96 favorites]


Faith, conscience, whatever. The boy was afraid of getting a boner.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:54 PM on February 17, 2011 [61 favorites]


I find it a little hard to understand how a faith which is very anti-homosexuality would think it's fine for a man to roll around with another man, but a woman would be some kind of sin? I mean, either it's sexual or it's not, and in either case, the logic doesn't work here.
posted by dflemingecon at 5:56 PM on February 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


My female cousin wrestled very competitively in high school, and was very good at it, and was still a girly-girl. So this isn't that uncommon, but it's always cool to see girls excelling in a traditionally male sport.

To the young man involved, part of me wants to respect his decision like jacquilynne, but the other part of me is yelling "CHICKEN! CHICKEENNNN! BAWK BAWK BAWK!"

So...you know.
posted by HostBryan at 5:57 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Faith, conscience, whatever. The boy was afraid of getting a boner his ass kicked by a girl. FTFY
posted by JimmyJames at 5:58 PM on February 17, 2011 [19 favorites]


By denying her the chance to compete, he refuses to let a willing competitor onto the mat. That would be the better sign of progress, if he were to wrestle her with the same effort and intensity he would anyone else. The school's choice in letting her wrestle indicates they believe that she is up to the contest.
posted by azpenguin at 5:58 PM on February 17, 2011 [18 favorites]


Faith...nope

conscience...nope.

Fear of getting beat by a girl... yes.
posted by Felex at 5:58 PM on February 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


I find it a little hard to understand how a faith which is very anti-homosexuality would think it's fine for a man to roll around with another man

not gay, balls aren't touching
posted by Greg Nog at 5:59 PM on February 17, 2011 [19 favorites]


Paging Andy Kaufman
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:59 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


This seems like a win-win. The guy will be a hero to fundies statewide. The women has an opportunity to win her next match and then sell her story rights to Disney.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:00 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Meet Iowa's next Republican senator and Fox's newest commentator!

Nothing more terrifying than equality...
posted by klanawa at 6:03 PM on February 17, 2011


I was going to make fun of this kid as well, but then I remembered how hard it was to be that age.

He's in a no-win situation. Either he wrestles and wins and yay you beat a girl! or he loses and ha! you got beat by a girl.

Also, the you woman's parents said they respect his choice and are asking others to do so as well. Otherwise I'd be firing the snark cannons.

In martial arts it's common for women to participate. It won't be long before this is no big deal.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:04 PM on February 17, 2011 [29 favorites]


you = young
posted by cjorgensen at 6:05 PM on February 17, 2011


I'm not going to commend that disgusting bigot's actions at all in any way. Sticking to one's beliefs is never honerable if those beliefs are bigoted. This person does not see the woman as his equal, he sees her as a poor, delicate thing to be protected. He doesn't aknowledge her ability to understand the risks the sport puts her at and consent to that anyway, implying that he thinks women are inferior. This girl is old enough to know exactly what she's doing. She's done it before, well, and consented to all inherent dangers therein.

This disgusts me almost as much as a wife beater. The fact that we're so PC that we're tolerant of this shit is why women are losing their rights left and right. So even though i sound like the troll, I'm gonna come out and say, THIS IS NOT OK, ALL RIGHT, COMMENDABLE, RESPECTABLE or anything I should respect.
posted by RampantFerret at 6:05 PM on February 17, 2011 [14 favorites]


A female has won a match for the first time...

A personal annoyance of mine, but the word "female" is an adjective, not a noun. Every time I read it as a noun I think, "A female what?"
posted by crossoverman at 6:06 PM on February 17, 2011 [24 favorites]


ITT everyone's trying to come up with a good way to tie it in to the Egyptian Hypnosis Wrestling Thread.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:09 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


A personal annoyance of mine, but the word "female" is an adjective, not a noun. Every time I read it as a noun I think, "A female what?"

It's been regularly used as a noun in English since at least the 14th century. OED cites Chaucer using it. Shakespeare used it at least once. Austen used it regularly.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:10 PM on February 17, 2011 [42 favorites]


Misogyny disguised as concern for women. What else is new?
posted by ixohoxi at 6:10 PM on February 17, 2011 [15 favorites]


I find it a little hard to understand how a faith which is very anti-homosexuality would think it's fine for a man to roll around with another man, but a woman would be some kind of sin? I mean, either it's sexual or it's not, and in either case, the logic doesn't work here.

The objection was on the grounds that it's a combat sport, which I took to mean that it would be like punching a girl in the face, which is bad.

Good on him.

A personal annoyance of mine, but the word "female" is an adjective, not a noun. Every time I read it as a noun I think, "A female what?"

You really can't glean it from the context?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:11 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Look, I'm a total nad-grabber, and I've trained to grab nads. Without nads to grab, I'm not even sure it's the same sport."
posted by klangklangston at 6:11 PM on February 17, 2011 [28 favorites]


crossoverman, you are correct. Allow me to apologize through this mildly cute video of a female cat wrestling and defeating a male cat to the musical stylings of Eartha Kitt singing C'est si bon.
posted by Muddler at 6:14 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Disgusting bigot"? Really? Wow, y'all have been living in a yuppie bubble for way too long.
posted by nasreddin at 6:14 PM on February 17, 2011 [36 favorites]


Just found another Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream: "Cupid is a knauish ladde, Thus to make poore females madde." (spoken by Puck, Act 3, Scene 2). So, yeah, I'd say 'female' as a noun is standard English and has been for hundreds of years.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:14 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The objection was on the grounds that it's a combat sport, which I took to mean that it would be like punching a girl in the face, which is bad.

Punching a girl in the face is bad.

Participating in a sport with her is participating in a sport with her.
posted by crossoverman at 6:15 PM on February 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


crossoverman, you are correct.

No, he's totally, completely, thoroughly wrong. This kind of misinformed prescriptivism is a personal annoyance of mine.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:15 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


The objection was on the grounds that it's a combat sport, which I took to mean that it would be like punching a girl in the face, which is bad.

I don't think punching is allowed in wrestling, so I don't understand your objection to her participation.
posted by NoMich at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, yeah, I'd say 'female' as a noun is standard English and has been for hundreds of years.

As far as I'm concerned, the problem with it is that it makes you sound like a Ferengi.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2011 [49 favorites]


This disgusts me almost as much as a wife beater.

A boy, who is home schooled and from a deeply religious background feels uncomfortable wrestling a girl and this disgusts you as much as someone who hits their wife.

Every day is hyperbole day on metafilter, but today is particularly bad.
posted by dig_duggler at 6:17 PM on February 17, 2011 [168 favorites]


I think the boy just has a poor understanding of where babies come from.
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:17 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


As far as I'm concerned, the problem with it is that it makes you sound like a Ferengi.

You mean a foreigner? Huh?
posted by mr_roboto at 6:18 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's that sm...hey, is somebody cooking chicken in here?

OED cites Chaucer using it. Shakespeare used it at least once. Austen used it regularly.

Comic-reading tabletop gamer mouthbreathers use it every second sentence. I assume this is because they've never touched one, and can only think of them as abstract concepts, like some rung on a hierarchy of categories.

"Did you see that female over at th..."
"Girl, Tim. She's a girl. And she has a name."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:19 PM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Comic-reading tabletop gamer mouthbreathers use it every second sentence

As do doctors and nurses.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:21 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'll admit I don't know anything about wrestling, so maybe skill/speed can often overcome strength in competitions.

Why not have women boxers against men or in rugby or NFL or Ice Hockey ? I don't thinks it's anti-equality to have separate leagues/whatever/divisions for contact sports.
posted by selton at 6:21 PM on February 17, 2011


Some high school kids have a hard time talking to someone of the opposite sex. It's not like this kid was saying she shouldn't wrestle. He was saying he wasn't going to wrestle her. He made a choice. It's a stupid choice, but high school is all about making stupid choices.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:22 PM on February 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


Lame. If women want to compete, you owe it to them to give your best effort. If that means they'll get a fair and sportsmanlike beatdown ... then it's fair and sportsmanlike, and isn't that the point?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:23 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well I guess it would be nice
If you could pin my body
I know not everybody
Can pin a body like mine, mmm

Oh but I
Need some time off from that headlock
Time to pick myself up off the floor
Oh and when that bodyslam comes down
I'm running out the clock
Well it takes a strong man baby
But I'm showing myself the door

'Cause I gotta have faith
I gotta have faith
'Cause I gotta have faith, faith,
'cause I gotta have faith-a-faith-a-faith
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:24 PM on February 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


...separate leagues/whatever/divisions for contact sports.

You want to make a league for both women?
posted by cjorgensen at 6:25 PM on February 17, 2011


Anecdote... I had my butt handed to me on the mat by a guy who I outweighed by at least 50 lbs. and who I towered over by at least 8 inches... I was definitely stronger than him... so skill/speed matters... a lot.
posted by Stu-Pendous at 6:25 PM on February 17, 2011


>Comic-reading tabletop gamer mouthbreathers use it every second sentence

As do doctors and nurses.


We're talking veterinary, right? HAWT!
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:25 PM on February 17, 2011


No, this is not hyperbole. A wifebeater beats his wife because he does not respect her, he believes women are inferior. This bigot won't wrestle a girl for the same exact reason, even if he hides behind a religious belief. It might be a lighter, more friendly version of the same disrespect, but it comes from the same place.

religious belief is NO EXCUSE for bigoted behavior. When we start allowing our respect for faith (which is subjective) to overshadow our respect for human equality, we fucking fail.
posted by RampantFerret at 6:27 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


You mean a foreigner? Huh?

I envy your innocence, mr_roboto. Ferengi.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:28 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't say that I'm disgusted, but I'm disappointed. Wrestling is huge in Iowa, and these girls making it to the state tournament was a pretty big deal. It makes me sad that Cassy Herkelman wasn't able to compete fair and square.
posted by craichead at 6:28 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


You really can't glean it from the context?

Of course, I CAN glean it from the context, but it reads badly to me.

So, yeah, I'd say 'female' as a noun is standard English and has been for hundreds of years.

I'm not sure quoting Shakespeare and discussing "standard English" is really the same thing. We don't speak the way they did in Shakespeare's time. And people of Shakespeare's time didn't speak the way Shakespeare wrote.
posted by crossoverman at 6:29 PM on February 17, 2011


Comic-reading tabletop gamer mouthbreathers use it every second sentence.


So are comic reading tabletop gamer mouthbreathers like Chaucer, or is Chaucer like comic reading tabletop gamer mouthbreathers?
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 6:29 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why not have women boxers against men or in rugby or NFL or Ice Hockey ?

I can't speak for boxing because I do not know the rules. But we do have women competing against men in the NFL and NHL.
posted by Justinian at 6:33 PM on February 17, 2011



Just found another Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream: "Cupid is a knauish ladde, Thus to make poore females madde." (spoken by Puck, Act 3, Scene 2). So, yeah, I'd say 'female' as a noun is standard English and has been for hundreds of years.


Erm, really, so what? Trollope and Jilly Cooper and Mark Twain and countless others have used the N word as standard English for hundreds of years. That doesn't mean it is not offensive in a modern context.

Calling women "females" in a situation where men are not called "males" as in a police report, is divisive and dehumanising -- it has connotations of livestock and breeding animals, not living intelligent humans. This has been discussed on here before.
posted by jfwlucy at 6:33 PM on February 17, 2011 [28 favorites]


I hate wrestling like I hate boxing. Inclusive or not the sports are violent and encourage violence. If I had my way no one would be competing in glorified gladiator contests like this.
posted by IvoShandor at 6:34 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure quoting Shakespeare and discussing "standard English" is really the same thing.

Look, I agree that it reads poorly. Stylistically, it's probably best avoided in modern usage. But the reason for that isn't that "female is an adjective, not a noun". The word "female" has been used as a noun in English consistently for hundreds of year.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:34 PM on February 17, 2011


Crossover, I have an English Degree (as many Metafites doubtless do) and I use female as a noun a lot. Many people do. I don't know how you can say it's not standard English as it's been used both historically and colloquially. I understand it ticks you off, but you should have brought that up centuries ago.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 6:34 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Every day is hyperbole day on metafilter, but today is particularly bad the worst day in the history of anything ever.

Fixed that for you.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:35 PM on February 17, 2011 [87 favorites]


I can't speak for boxing because I do not know the rules. But we do have women competing against men in the NFL and NHL.


Um, what? No we don't.
posted by dig_duggler at 6:36 PM on February 17, 2011


Yes, we do. That none has been good enough to qualify doesn't change that fact.
posted by Justinian at 6:36 PM on February 17, 2011


I'm on the fence about this, because while I don't agree with the boy defaulting, i think it's a bit much to suggest he is akin to a wife-beater because he stepped down from this wrestling match.

In school sports at the high school level, you will usually see a girls' soccer team and a boys' team, girls' softball and boys' baseball, etc. At some age there's definitely a shift from co-ed to same-gender teams.

Part of why we do this may be chauvinism inherent in us or the system, but since we are fine with co-ed when they are younger, some at least has to be ascribed to us deciding that once they've gone through puberty we don't want them sharing teams (maybe because of changing in locker rooms, or boys having erections or girls developing breasts?). Whatever the reason, maybe we should be asking why we don't have entire girls' wrestling teams. Why were these young men and women put into this position?
posted by misha at 6:37 PM on February 17, 2011


I don't casually call women females for the same reason I don't call my car a vehicle in normal speech. I don't want to sound like Watson the Supercomputer.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:37 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yes, we do. That none has been good enough to qualify doesn't change that fact

Um, you pretty much have to qualify for the leagues to compete in them. AFAIK there has never been a woman in the NFL and I can only remember one woman in the NHL, she didn't last long if I recall correctly. Sorry, but playing high school football or hockey is not equal to competing in the professional NFL and NHL.
posted by IvoShandor at 6:39 PM on February 17, 2011


Yes, we do. That none has been good enough to qualify doesn't change that fact.

Is this in the same way I'm competing against people in the NFL and NHL? Cuz I am totally going to start using that as a conversation starter.
posted by dig_duggler at 6:39 PM on February 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


The Waaahhmbulance is making quite a few stops for grammar related injuries around here today.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:39 PM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't think punching is allowed in wrestling, so I don't understand your objection to her participation.


Hence my use of the qualifier "like," as in akin to, but not the as same as. It's violence against women. I'm not going to get all up in anyone's grill for objecting to it.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:39 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't... you're missing the point, IvoShandor. Selton asked why we can't have men and women compete against eachother in sports. The point is that we DO. Men and women are in competition for every spot on the roster of professional teams in the NHL.
posted by Justinian at 6:41 PM on February 17, 2011


It's violence against women. I'm not going to get all up in anyone's grill for objecting to it.

Well, as long as you object to wrestling as "violence against men" then we're all good.
posted by crossoverman at 6:42 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


There has not yet been a woman competing in a regular-season game in any of the four major American professional sports. There have been several exhibitions and minor-league appearances. But that barrier has not yet been breached.

I think it will soon, though. I predict the NBA will be first.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:42 PM on February 17, 2011


I wonder what this would have been like if he wasn't a fundamentalist christian...
posted by arveale at 6:43 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Men and women are in competition for every spot on the roster of professional teams in the NHL.

Whatever you say Justinian. But, no they're not. And certainly not in the NFL. On what do you base this assertion?
posted by IvoShandor at 6:43 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this in the same way I'm competing against people in the NFL and NHL? Cuz I am totally going to start using that as a conversation starter.

You're taking this out of context. Selton was implying that we BAR women from playing in the NFL or NHL. That we don't, that women are free to play in the NFL or NHL as far as I am aware is exactly the point. It was simply a correction of the idea that the only reason men and women aren't playing against eachother in the NFL or NHL are because the rules don't allow it to be so.
posted by Justinian at 6:43 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, as long as you object to wrestling as "violence against men" then we're all good.

I object to it on the grounds that it encourages anorexia. Is that close enough?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:43 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


On balance... I think I'm glad this discussion has derailed into nitpicking about language and away from the notion that this kid's actions are morally exactly as if he had beaten the girl with a half-brick in the car park.
posted by adamt at 6:43 PM on February 17, 2011 [21 favorites]


This discussion is giving me threadaches.
posted by JHarris at 6:44 PM on February 17, 2011 [18 favorites]


Whatever you say Justinian. But, no they're not. And certainly not in the NFL. On what do you base this assertion?

On the assertion that the rules do not bar women from playing? Which is the point? Are you under the impression that the competition has to be, well, competitive for it to be a competition?
posted by Justinian at 6:44 PM on February 17, 2011


I'm reminded of this comment by HappyHippo back in July which quotes some the Women's Sports Foundation on teams for different sexes. The post it was in was about Chelsea Baker, a 13 year old knuckleball pitcher and is worth a read through.
posted by ODiV at 6:44 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh, no, but you actually have to compete.
posted by IvoShandor at 6:44 PM on February 17, 2011


Are you under the impression that the competition has to be, well, competitive for it to be a competition?

Isn't that kind of the fucking point?
posted by clearly at 6:45 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


comic reading tabletop gamer mouthbreathers like Chaucer

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
Answere yette no gaymere canne
Could Grene Lanterne vanquish Sypder-Manne?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:45 PM on February 17, 2011 [91 favorites]


The Waaahhmbulance is making quite a few stops for grammar related injuries around here today.

Awesome. Thanks so much for taking women's issues with language choices seriously, particularly language choices that are--in current public discourse--often used asymmetrically as a way to marginalize them! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

This has been a BOYMALEZONE moment.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:45 PM on February 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


Wrestling is definitely full-contact. You have to lie on your opponemt and pin him/her down, there are wrestling holds around the neck, between the legs, etc. I could see a young man being uncomfortable wrestling with a girl, and vice versa. Good for these girls for not being intimidated. Really, that's great. But not wanting to pin a girl down to a mat does not make a young man a bigot. He may just be painfully shy around girls, or feel, like he said, uncomfortable with violence against women, even when it is state-sanctioned in a wrestling match.
posted by misha at 6:46 PM on February 17, 2011 [23 favorites]


Did you read Selton's original question to which I was replying. You're arguing semantics which are completely orthogonal to the point which is that if a woman was good enough to play in the NHL, she could play in the NHL. Thus, men and women are in competition for the limited number of roster slots.
posted by Justinian at 6:46 PM on February 17, 2011


Hah what next? Jews not wanting to eat pork in the school cafeteria?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:46 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell: Not MLB? I think we will see women in MLB first.
posted by oflinkey at 6:47 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did you read Selton's original question to which I was replying. You're arguing semantics which are completely orthogonal to the point which is that if a woman was good enough to play in the NHL, she could play in the NHL

Your definition of competition is weird and not at all accurate. I am done discussing this semantic bullshit (which by the way you are just as guilty of engaging in as I am)
posted by IvoShandor at 6:48 PM on February 17, 2011


Awesome. Thanks so much for taking women's issues with language choices seriously, particularly language choices that are--in current public discourse--often used asymmetrically as a way to marginalize them! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

Awesome. Thanks for telling us all exactly what side of the fence P.O.B was in this particular dispute. No one else could tell.
posted by wilful at 6:48 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it will soon, though. I predict the NBA will be first.

You think? The WNBA uses a smaller ball, and women are generally shorter than men.
posted by Tanizaki at 6:48 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


After reading this here, I made the rounds on a few sports blogs/comment pages, and I'm surprised by the number of guys who said that they would have done the same thing, because it was a "no win" situation. What the fuck? This isn't a game of Thermonuclear War. There are better options besides not playing.

If you win, you beat a competitor. If you lose, you lost to a competitor.

I have no clue why your competitor being a woman factors into it. You beat her, fair and square, you're fine. You lose, you lost fair and square.
posted by SNWidget at 6:49 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


wilful, you confuse me utterly.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:49 PM on February 17, 2011


If that kid really respected women like he says he does, he would have held her down on the mat against her will and made her submit, right there in front of everyone.
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:50 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Cool Papa Bell is wrong too, oflinkey. The NBA may be the league least likely to have a female player. Depending on how likely a female kicker is in the NFL, I mean. If that's as unlikely as one of the other football positions then the NFL by a mile.
posted by Justinian at 6:50 PM on February 17, 2011


I've competed against women in fencing tournaments where the female attendance wasn't enough to warrant their own division, so they lump them in with the men. You just fence them the way you fence any dude. Game on.

I think the last time I competed against women (not counting like a 10K road race where it's me and 40,000 of my closest friends running around the city together) was at a climbing tournament. After getting shut down by a route at the same spot repeatedly, and watching the competitors before and after me who were working the same route also fail, I finally got it.

Once I was back on the ground, I told my friend, who was there to support me, how elated I was that I was the first person in the group to reach the top of the route. "Yeah man, everyone else, they kept failing at that little crimper off to the right, but I figured out if you just skip that hold and shoot for the big undercling just above it, it's a lot easier. It's just not obvious. Fuck yeah, feels good to finally get to the top of that one. Hell yes, I'm high as a kite on adrenaline. Booyah! None of the other people in my group could do it before seeing my solution!"

I really felt good about besting my worthy competitors.

"But dude," my friend interjected "you were grouped with a bunch of 10-year old girls."

Didn't change a thing.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:50 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


*cough*
posted by Sys Rq at 6:50 PM on February 17, 2011


"Bust a deal, Face the wheel", this is the law in Bartertown.

It seems the wheel has landed on 'get criticized 10 ways from Sunday by the internet.'

The kid made a hard decision. His reasons for doing so were accepted by both parties. He was still willing to make that choice knowing its consequences would last far longer for him and his conscience than the internet would remember.

I don't entirely agree with the decision he made. I do think that characterizing him as being afraid to lose to a girl is a cheap shot. He's going to get 10 times more shit thrown at him for this decision than he ever would just fighting and losing.
posted by chambers at 6:51 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Your definition of competition is weird and not at all accurate. I am done discussing this semantic bullshit

Works for me. I think your definition of competition is weird and inaccurate. I mean, if I wanted to play winger for the Caps I'd be in competition with Alex Ovechkin for the job.
posted by Justinian at 6:53 PM on February 17, 2011


Whatever the reason, maybe we should be asking why we don't have entire girls' wrestling teams. Why were these young men and women put into this position?
Because Cassy Hinkelman qualified for the state tournament by wrestling the best athletes in her weight class, and she wanted to win the state tournament by beating the best wrestlers in her weight class.
posted by craichead at 6:53 PM on February 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


I have no clue why your competitor being a woman factors into it. You beat her, fair and square, you're fine. You lose, you lost fair and square.

See the first 10 or so comments in this thread: "BAWK BAWK" "Afraid of a girl" "Getting a boner". Realize that this is high school in the Midwest. If he wins, he was supposed to. If he loses, well, he'd never hear the end of it.
posted by clearly at 6:54 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I competed against women in my high school water polo league. None of us wanted to cover them, because they had no problem with grabbing us in the crotch and squeezing. Fouls under the water were rarely called because the refs couldn't see them. Few male players went around grabbing other guy's crotches.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 6:54 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


*cough*

Well, yeah, but do you really think that would have changed anyone's mind? It was an exhibition game! So it doesn't count! And so on.
posted by Justinian at 6:55 PM on February 17, 2011


I wrestled boys all through high school. The difference was, I didn't have a ref.
posted by wv kay in ga at 6:55 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Manon Rhéaume played two preseason games for Tampa Bay in the NHL.
posted by ODiV at 6:55 PM on February 17, 2011


Hey, he had his reasons and he defaulted the match. Why the hate?

At that age I would have felt REALLY FUCKING WEIRD about wrestling a girl. I still would. Full body contact in skin tight clothes and between legs groping. Not sexism. Just weirdness.
posted by unSane at 6:57 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Manon Rhéaume played two preseason games for Tampa Bay in the NHL.

I just coughed that!
posted by Sys Rq at 6:59 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


From Sys Rq's link:
Manon Rhéaume (born February 24, 1972 in Lac-Beauport, Quebec) is a Canadian former goaltender and Olympic silver medalist who is the first and only woman to play in an NHL exhibition game... She guest-starred as herself in the made-for-TV movie A Beachcombers Christmas with Tiger Williams and Jyrki Lumme. At the height of her popularity, she was approached by both Playboy Magazine and Penthouse Magazine to do shoots, which she refused.
Gah. You know, sometimes I feel like hardcore feminists go overboard with decrying the objectification of women. And then I read.
posted by notion at 6:59 PM on February 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


> Comic-reading tabletop gamer mouthbreathers use it every second sentence.

Metafilter: News for nerds, stuff that matters.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 7:00 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the hate-on for this kid is awful. He is not a symbol or the standard bearer for religious intolerance or anti-feminism. He's a kid. If he doesn't feel right about wrestling a girl, that's his absolute right even if I might choose differently. His body, his choice.
posted by Justinian at 7:00 PM on February 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


I want to play webquotes!

"An exhibition game is a sporting event in which there is no competitive value of any significant kind to any competitor regardless of the outcome of the competition."^
posted by BeerFilter at 7:00 PM on February 17, 2011


Sys Rq: It's a quick moving thread! You have the floor, sir.
posted by ODiV at 7:01 PM on February 17, 2011


Sidhedevil, you're way out of line if you're trying to call me a misogynist because I snarked about people threadshitting/derailing about grammar instead of talking about the post.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:01 PM on February 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


There has not yet been a woman competing in a regular-season game in any of the four major American professional sports. There have been several exhibitions and minor-league appearances. But that barrier has not yet been breached.

I think it will soon, though. I predict the NBA will be first.


Please remember that you live in a world where Artie Lange almost beat a WNBA player one on one. People can argue at the high school level about the viability of women competing against men in sports, but not at the top caliber of the major leagues. Pit an all WNBA team against any team in the NBA, see what the result is.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 7:02 PM on February 17, 2011


know what I never understood? Men's and Women's billiards.

I think the important takeaway of this story is that the young women were allowed to compete, and we're talking about the young man choosing to abstain. That is progress, and in due time, stories like this will shameful relics of our past. For all the complaining and soapboxing we like to do, the amount of change in the direction of human equality that has happened just in my 40 years on the planet has been astounding. In the same way that the idea of a Black person not being allowed to play professional sports is completely ludicrous to someone born in my generation, children born today will grow up with a vastly expanded belief in what is possible.
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:02 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Earlier this week, this Iowan heard Diane Rehm interviewing the author of a new Humphrey Bogart biography. One of the anecdotes mentioned was a movie set involving both Bogart and Truman Capote. Bogart had written some letters containing snarky comments about Capote. Apparently, Bogart, being the manly man he was, was fond of challenging people to arm wrestling. Bogart challenged Capote and, yep, Capote beat Bogart quite easily. So Bogart challenged Capote to full-on wrestling and Capote beat him again. After that, they became good friends as the story was told.

Not sure exactly what the connection is there, but I keep coming back to it as this current wrestling story plays itself out this week in the local media.

* FWIW, I have read reports that the girl's father wrested in high school and is a coach and that her uncle was 19-0-1 in UFC fighting. Also, the head of the Iowa Girls' Athletic Union says that there were 40 high school girls wrestling statewide this year. So it's not like this (girl v. boy wrestling) is something that's not happened before. It's just that this particular match is occurring at the state tournament. In Iowa, the home of Dan Gable, the state wrestling tournament is a HUGE freakin' deal. So this is getting a LOT of media exposure beyond what it's really worth.
posted by webhund at 7:02 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I mean, if I wanted to play winger for the Caps I'd be in competition with Alex Ovechkin for the job.

Not unless you're a hockey player. And invited to try out. Otherwise you're not really in competition for anything. Delusional perhaps, but in competition for his job? I don't think so.
posted by IvoShandor at 7:02 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there anyone still arguing that men and women aren't allowed to compete against eachother in the NHL or most other pro sports? If not, can we all then agree that whether it can be said that men and women are "in competition" for spots in those leagues is a semantic argument rather than an important one?
posted by Justinian at 7:02 PM on February 17, 2011


Could Grene Lanterne vanquish Sypder-Manne?

Damn it, that was supposed to be "Spyder". I'll go hand in my English geek card and submit myself for ritual stocking in the town square immediately.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:03 PM on February 17, 2011


But we do have women competing against men in the NFL and NHL.

Are you talking about when we let the Steelers compete agains the Packers in the Super Bowl?

OOOOO BUUUUUUUUUURN

But seriously, this is not a semantics game. There are no women competing against men in the NFL. You are correct that it is not against the rules.
posted by King Bee at 7:03 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


this thread is a fucking shit show
posted by nathancaswell at 7:04 PM on February 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


cortex is gonna have to turn this car around...
posted by arveale at 7:05 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


IvoShandor - Compete: to seek or strive for the same thing, position, or reward for which another is striving.

If I want to play winger for the Caps, I'm in competition with Ovechkin. The word does not imply that I have to have a realistic chance of beating him, it just has to mean there isn't an absolute bar to it such as being against the rules for me to play.
posted by Justinian at 7:06 PM on February 17, 2011


The important thing is that there are both males and females competing for favourites!
posted by ODiV at 7:06 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Actually, my high school's wrestling team had a straight up rule that if one of their men were pitted against a woman in a match, they had to default. (for context, i went to a nondenominational christian private school)

It had nothing to do with thinking the girl was a delicate flower and much more to do with that fact that that's an awful lot of physical contact with a girl in a school where slow dancing wasn't allowed.

I guess because of that, this incident comes off as sounding prudish, not misogynistic, to me.
posted by sawdustbear at 7:07 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


If I had my way no one would be competing in glorified gladiator contests like this.

I'm glad you feel so comfortable declaring exactly how you would micro-manage everyone else's lives without having an ounce of relevant experience. You sound like the stereotypical thumbs-in-the-belt-loop cranky old guy grumbling about kids these days. Every time somebody gets on a soapbox to declare his or her intention to be a finger-wagging scold slinging hyperbole and distortion by the diaper-full I have to remind myself that finger-wagging scolds hate each other enough that they're not a viable political bloc.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:07 PM on February 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


If I want to play winger for the Caps, I'm in competition with Ovechki

Right on bro. I'm really just laughing at you now.
posted by IvoShandor at 7:08 PM on February 17, 2011


The important thing is that there are both males and females competing for favourites!

I don't like pressing the plus sign in the lower part of female comments.
posted by kiltedtaco at 7:08 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pssh. I'd love to see any guy around grapple with this girl and walk away conscious.
posted by LordSludge at 7:09 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a mouth-breathing comics-reading tabletop gamer, but I was hardly ever using "female" as a noun. And me going to a game convention this weekend. Thanks for the pointer!
posted by Zed at 7:09 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Every time somebody gets on a soapbox to declare his or her intention to be a finger-wagging scold slinging hyperbole and distortion by the diaper-full I have to remind myself that finger-wagging scolds hate each other enough that they're not a viable political bloc.

Because I don't like violent sports? What the fuck are you talking about?
posted by IvoShandor at 7:09 PM on February 17, 2011


this incident comes off as sounding prudish, not misogynistic, to me

Could be both. Standards of sexual propriety have long been used to oppress women. I think it's interesting that this story is being framed as "look what a hard thing this poor boy had to do" when what these two young women have done is infinitely harder. He can make whatever choice he wants, but why do we have to say "that's okay dear" and pretend this was the brave thing? Men refusing to compete against women is the standard, not the exception.
posted by Danila at 7:10 PM on February 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


I really enjoy MF, but haven't really been able to explain why to my female wife. She mentioned this story at dinner tonight and when I saw the post, I thought, great, she'll probably enjoy what's sure to be an interesting, witty conversation. Maybe next time.
posted by TheShadowKnows at 7:11 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Next time I'm going to stick to posts about Transformer costumes and guitars matched to Star Wars characters.
posted by Muddler at 7:11 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


this incident comes off as sounding prudish, not misogynistic

Yeah, often the same thing. Not always, but quite often.
posted by muddgirl at 7:12 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


To seek or to strive for something does not equal the desire to possess something. You want to play winger for the Caps, then put your skates on and hit the ice and work hard every day. After years of effort, and being noticed by scouts for your ability, then I'll agree that you're in competition with Ovechki. Me simply saying I want to be a movie star doesn't put me in competition with Bardem, Bridges, Eisenberg, Firth, & Franco for best Actor in a Leading Role.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:13 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a sport. It's a game. Anyone who wants to can play.

I've done Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for about five years now; in practice I've wrestled women and I've wrestled men who I know to be gay or bisexual.

And you know what? There's nothing necessarily weird or awkward about grappling someone who might think you're cute, or who you might think is cute.

It's really only a problem if you make it a problem.


which is exactly what very religious folks have a reputation for doing, i guess...
posted by edguardo at 7:17 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Few male players went around grabbing other guy's crotches.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 9:54 PM on February 17 [+] [!]



*cough*


...and turn your head, please....
posted by jonmc at 7:21 PM on February 17, 2011


jesus overeasy tap-dancing christ in a handbasket

*closes thread*
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:21 PM on February 17, 2011


Sucka.
posted by cashman at 7:24 PM on February 17, 2011


Here's why I think it will be the NBA.

The 12th man on an NBA team is a role-player. You're here to do just one thing. At some point, someone will say that that role should be a spot-shooter for an inbounds play, and not the more common "stiff with six fouls to give." I saw Teresa Edwards play Seattle's ABA womens team, and thought she'd offer something better than the Sonics' current immobile planks of wood at the end of the bench.

NFL place-kickers are judged on distance and accuracy, and there's an incredible amount of parity among NFL teams. I think a woman could do both, but it's less likely for someone to offer to take the risk that a missed field goal or a bad kickoff represents, when any team can beat any other team at any moment. It just costs much more to miss a field goal than a basket, and no one wants to be that coach that made that call.

MLB ... It would be a junk-ball pitcher. Not saying it couldn't happen (Ila Borders). But it's so specialized that I think the NBA would be sooner. Plus, baseball players are capital-A assholes. The worst sporting culture of the four.

NHL ... Besides being a goalie, I could see a rocket-fast woman the same size as Theoren Fluery. But she'd have to be really rocket fast, because Fluery was pretty tough, pound-for-pound. But again, the specialization of elite goalies just makes me think th NBA would be more likely.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:29 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm gonna git you.
posted by jonmc at 7:29 PM on February 17, 2011


In the U.S. military, it is required to refer to people as males and females. "This is the males' bay." "That female just got smoked."

For all I care, they can call the males whatever they like, I'll stick to huwoperdaughter when referring to myself.

[HAMBURGER]
posted by Night_owl at 7:30 PM on February 17, 2011


I think it's interesting that this story is being framed as "look what a hard thing this poor boy had to do" when what these two young women have done is infinitely harder. He can make whatever choice he wants, but why do we have to say "that's okay dear" and pretend this was the brave thing? Men refusing to compete against women is the standard, not the exception.

I think Danila has an excellent point here, and hits on exactly what I felt when reading about this situation.
From the girl's point of view, I would have been disappointed that I had made it so far in a competition based on a technicality, something that I had no control over because of someone else's objection to wrestling with a female. Furthermore, how many people are going to say that this girl only got so far in the competition because of that technicality?
posted by nasayre at 7:31 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Has anyone actually said that what the kid did is a brave thing? Rather than simply something understandable for a kid to do?
posted by Justinian at 7:32 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


The first sentence of the first link is "The crowd cheered as Cassy Herkelman’s hand was raised, but the historic moment of the first girl wrestler to win a match at the traditional Iowa state wrestling meet comes with an asterisk."

Is this simple flowery language? Or was Herkelman's record for this meet actually tainted by this coward?
posted by kafziel at 7:35 PM on February 17, 2011


know what I never understood? Men's and Women's billiards.

You don't understand, billyfleetwood? No, that's fine, heh heh... sometimes it just takes a while to wrap your pretty little head around that kind of thing. Here, let me show you how to do it.. That's right, just pretend I'm not here behind you, guiding your hands. No, hold the cue a little more like THIS. That's right! Hey, you're a natural, billy! Now just line up the shot... clear your mind, don't listen to anything except my words in your ear... Now line up that shot annnnd... bam! That's it! Wow, you're really good at billiards, man! You need another drink? What are you having?
posted by Greg Nog at 7:35 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


You know, I never considered that. But you're right. At school-age, the parents will hear what a noble thing he did. But all the kids will hear is that he was scared he'd get beat up by a girl.
posted by Night_owl at 7:36 PM on February 17, 2011


Are pressures on the boy any worse than they would have been as a man? Why is this an acceptable pass for a boy? The implication I am reading is that it is okay because he is a kid, but would have been sexist if he were an adult.
posted by nasayre at 7:37 PM on February 17, 2011


I think it's interesting that this story is being framed as "look what a hard thing this poor boy had to do" when what these two young women have done is infinitely harder.

Yeah. She's gotta be really broken up that she took home an award while the boy who was uncomfortable wrestling her is accused of domestic violence.
posted by verb at 7:37 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Comic-Book Manne's Tale:

Worste. Pilgrimage. Ever.
posted by zippy at 7:38 PM on February 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


Searching through MetaFilter for related posts I came across these two posts concerning males playing on female teams. Shame that first link isn't available any more.
posted by ODiV at 7:40 PM on February 17, 2011


I have to part with the predictions of females in a pro sport anytime soon. My wife has beat me in every triathalon we've ever done. But, these are the best of the best. Peak athletes with a remarkable skill set for that sport.

The first step will be college. Until we see a female at a major college in a major contact sport, this talk of pros is a pipe dream. Exceptional college athletes don't make it pro, and we haven't yet seen an exceptional female athlete competing at a major college sport yet. And by major, I mean a male sport with a professional league where you can make a great living doing it (NFL, MLB, NBA. NHL but that league is hurting).
posted by dig_duggler at 7:41 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whether you agree with his actions or not, many of you seem to miss the point that he is a child. Many of the statements made in this thread are incredibly hostile, caustic and completely inappropriate. Let me repeat, he is a child, and thus, by definition not yet in full possession of his moral faculties. The tone taken here is wrong, absolutely wrong, and unnecessary; it is entirely possible to condemn a stance without attacking the person taking the stance.

You, and you know who you are, should be ashamed of yourselves.
posted by oddman at 7:47 PM on February 17, 2011 [41 favorites]


I didn't see it in the original article, but the male wrestler, Northrup, is a sophomore. For some reason, I was picturing him as a senior / just shy of 18. That's not the case.
posted by zippy at 7:48 PM on February 17, 2011


Guy: probably a bigot
Guy's actions: totally fine

why are you shouty people at the beginning of the thread judging him on his motives rather than his actions
have you seriously descended that far
posted by tehloki at 7:50 PM on February 17, 2011


oddman's right.. I just think this is a cool/fun situation on a number of levels. First of all, it's quite possible that the kid really isn't comfortable with the POSSIBILITY that he would beat the living crap out of the girl. At the same time, it's entirely possible he's afraid of receiving a Good-Old-Fasioned-Ass-Whoopin' (Gofaw). I think in each situation the kid must feel strange and so he made his choice. Secondly, it's fun to imagine how I would react if I were the girl. I would probably give an interview where I explained how happy I was with the win, because well, I would've beaten him anyway, so now I have a win, plus I feel excellent! No wear and tear, didn't break a sweat, and I can start training even earlier for the next fight which I now have a better chance of winning.. so thanks dude! Thanks for the win!
posted by ReeMonster at 7:54 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't entirely agree with the decision he made. I do think that characterizing him as being afraid to lose to a girl is a cheap shot. He's going to get 10 times more shit thrown at him for this decision than he ever would just fighting and losing.

The willful misunderstanding of conservative Christianity is one of my least favorite things about Metafilter. In a thousand LOLXIANS threads around here, I read again and again about how awful it is that young people are indoctrinated into the woo-woo sky wizard religion at such young, impressionable ages. But then here's a kid who because of his conservative upbringing feels deeply uncomfortable wrestling a girl, and suddenly the problem isn't that he's indoctrinated into a certain set of behaviors for male/female interaction, it's that he's afraid to wrestle a girl and lose.

I often feel like I'm caught in the middle between the evangelical world (where I was raised and parts of which I respect very much) and the skeptical atheist world (where I've spent plenty of time and where I agree with a lot of the running consensus, including large parts of the critique of conservative religion). Mocking this kid galls me because

1) He is just a kid. How many times have we read some thread about a really stupid decision a 17 year old makes, and before long there's a veritable chorus of "Well, who among us hasn't done something stupid at that age?" Lots of grace for snorting lines of cocaine while naked and drunk and trying to ride a donkey on Spring Break, not so much for respectfully declining to wrestle a girl.

2) It's truly and deeply illiberal. Part of the liberal project ought to be understanding where people come from, even if you disagree. Part of what distinguishes the liberal and conservative reactions to 9/11, in my mind, was the liberal willingness to be horrified and want to take appropriate action, but also say: "Wait a minute. It's not as simple as 'They hate us for our freedoms.' What's really going on here?" Long term progress comes when we understand why they feel the way they feel. Show that much willingness to learn and maybe they'll be willing to listen to us. But when this kid makes a decision of conscience and I read the most negative possible spins on it, I feel like I've tuned into the liberal Fox news. "Of course Obama did that--he's a Muslim!" "Of course he declined to wrestle--he's chickenshit!" It's the same base impulse to slam, demonize and insult someone rather than critiquing with understanding.

3) I don't know quite how to put this in words well, but something about the "afraid to lose to a girl" mocking strikes me as drinking from the same well as the misogyny it mocks. Even if he were afraid to lose a girl--and I really don't see that as the issue here--what kind of person jumps in and makes fun of someone for that? I don't really want to be part of the gung-ho, kick-her-ass-or-you-aren't-a-real-man parade.

4) I think maybe I should drop out of the fundy-criticizing entirely on Metafilter because--cheesy as this sounds--when I critique conservative Christians, I'm critiquing them as someone who understands their culture and (although they annoy me deeply) really loves them and wants what is best for them. I want them to change because it's better for them. But I feel like I sometimes join in with a crowd here that really hates them and wants them to change because it's better for us. And until I figure out how to write something that says, quickly, "Yeah, they are wrong for reasons x, y, and z, but I still love 'em all day long, and they aren't morons or cowards," I think anything I write along those lines just becomes more fuel for the fundy-hate fire.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:54 PM on February 17, 2011 [158 favorites]


Oddman has a good point about him being a child makes him less in possession of moral faculties. I would give him a pass on that point. But I still don't think that he would be under greater pressure as a kid than as an adult.
People get shouty about this because it is representative of a larger issue in which women are objectified and treated as somehow less capable in this society...both overtly and subtly.
posted by nasayre at 7:56 PM on February 17, 2011


And while I was writing an essay, oddman said all the best stuff in five strong sentences.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:57 PM on February 17, 2011


No, I will not be ashamed of standing up for what I feel is right, thank you very much. He is not a child, he is a teenager, and able to begin to make his own moral decisions. I made mine at that age, and yes, as I have grown they have gotten more grounded and fine tuned, but i was capable of understanding morality in high school.

If you truly believe he is a child, well, when a child does or says something that is wrong, you let them know that it is unacceptable and why. You don't let them keep doing it, not without telling them it's wrong, harmful and hurtful.

Bigotry, even in children, even in religious people, bigotry ANYWHERE is intolerable. I don't wish ill on the boy, I don't wish him harm. I just hope someone explains to him why people see his actions as bigoted. Then he can chose how he feels and develops from there. Further more, neither his action nor his motive was "right". His motive was prejudice, even if it was something he was taught by his elders, and his action undermined everything that girl had worked for.
posted by RampantFerret at 7:59 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I get the GRAR about the competition, I really do. I'm a RAH RAH eat the rich, overthrow the patriarchal pigdogs feminist. These girls really wanted to compete, and it sucks that they didn't get to.

But I get where this kid is coming from. I grew up righty, and spent a bit homeschooled. My parents spent the first 16 years of my life drilling it into me that I would NEVER hit a woman. Wrestling gets really rough. I did it for at least a decade. I don't know if I'd be comfortable wrestling a woman now, even though I know—intellectually—that they're my equal.

Also, he's just a fucking kid. At his age I was still having wet dreams. I can't imagine the embarrassment of popping wood in a singlet. I can't imagine he'd be able to avoid it as a fundy 18 y/o. Cut the kid some slack.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:04 PM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


His motive was prejudice

[citation needed]
posted by nasreddin at 8:04 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


If i said I wouldn't compete for a scholarship against a (person who's not my race), would anyone "cut me some slack"? No? Everyone would rightly and justifiably call me a racist bitch, right?

"cutting people slack" on a small personal level is how entire cultures eventually put up with mass inequality. It starts out as individual desensitization on a personal level over small things. It's not ok. It's not acceptable.
posted by RampantFerret at 8:08 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


And yes, his motive was prejudice. Even if he didn't realize it, even if he thought he was being gentlemanly or religious. The undercurrent of prejudice is there whether he was concious of it or not.
posted by RampantFerret at 8:09 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


An athlete honors his competition by doing his best to win, fairly.

Anything less is dishonorable.
posted by Xoebe at 8:10 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


So what about Cassy Hinkelman, Pater Aletheis? I understand that you've been a fundamentalist boy, and you've never been a girl who had to fight to do something you loved just because you happened to be female. I understand that it's a lot easier for you to identify with Joel Northrup than with Cassy Hinkelman. But can you wrap your head around how much it would suck to defy convention and do something that you were told you shouldn't do, and do it well enough to be one of the best in the state, and then be denied the opportunity to show that you were as good as you knew you were?

Cassy Hinkelman is just a kid, too. Does she count at all?
posted by craichead at 8:10 PM on February 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


It's unfortunate that the wrestlers will end up with an asterisk in what should be the capstone to an amazing effort. And people will point out that she won by forfit, because people can be assholes, which sucks.

As for major sport with a female athlete, probably baseball. At the moment, there's an 18 year old Japanese pitcher pitching for one of the California minor league teams. PR stunt be damned, she's not all that bad, and the team seems to be pretty welcoming.

Basketball seems a hell of a lot less likely to me, because the size of the athletes is so radically different, and as mentioned before, even the equipment is different between the NBA and WNBA. There are plenty of examples of women playing HS football, both as kickers and even (younger sister of an NFL player) offensive line. I don't see it happening in the pros, even as a kicker, because if something goes wrong (fumble/miscue) suddenly the kicker becomes a defensive player, and maybe I'm just a backwards thinking knuckle dragger, but I would hate to see a female punter try to tackle, say, an NFL tight end or linebacker. The injuries are bad enough in the sport already.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:11 PM on February 17, 2011


"I will not be ashamed of standing up for what I feel is right,"

I didn't ask you to. I said people in the thread (I don't know whether this applies to you or not RampantFerret) should feel ashamed for the way they attacked him. In fact, I explicitly made room for defending one's beliefs in a non-demeaning, non-abusive way.

"when a child does or says something that is wrong, you let them know that it is unacceptable and why"

Absolutely, but which parenting book instructs you to compare the child to a wife-beater and to employ all manner of pejoratives while correcting him?
posted by oddman at 8:12 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Argh. Herkelman! Cassy Herkelman!
posted by craichead at 8:13 PM on February 17, 2011


Has anyone actually said that what the kid did is a brave thing? Rather than simply something understandable for a kid to do?

From one of the links in the FPP:

The easier thing would have been for him to do it and move on. He would almost surely have won given the records of the two, and relatively few would have noticed. By forfeiting, he has invited a curious and often callous world into his life. He has invited a lot of ridicule from those are too quick to give it. You have to have some serious convictions to put up with that.

In fact, none of the links in the FPP include statements from anyone who has a problem with this, it's all neutral or supportive of him.
posted by Danila at 8:15 PM on February 17, 2011


I think that this is a result of America's lack of emphasis on sports until high school. I have looked to martial arts in my later years as an interesting form of exercise. The first time I had to fight with a woman I felt kind of weird, but the atmosphere I was surrounded by told me that I'd better get over it. It wasn't that hard.

However, many people start martial arts young. They spar with people of the opposite sex before they even understand what an opposite sex is. I'm sure at some point they have some awkward feelings, but for most people established social norms can conquer their personal anxieties.

The reason the guy is uncomfortable is because he has never wrestled with a girl in his entire life. In America, sports don't become important until high school. I can pick up a glossy magazine on high school sports at my local eating establishment. Nothing on the local elementary school. Many kids don't learn their abilities until that age. If sports had been a part of their life before puberty, I'm certain they would have encountered the opposite sex on the field. There isn't that much difference. I feel that we really need to do more to make sports a part of everyday life. Not just something for the upper 10% to participate in.
posted by Quonab at 8:15 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Cassy Hinkelman is just a kid, too. Does she count at all?

Can you point to anyone in the thread who is saying she that wasn't a victim and that the situation isn't shitty for her?
posted by nasreddin at 8:16 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was capable of understanding morality in high school.

That's great. So pleased for you. I was an insecure, religous douche. Cut the guy some slack.
posted by unSane at 8:16 PM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


"cutting people slack" on a small personal level is how entire cultures eventually put up with mass inequality. It starts out as individual desensitization on a personal level over small things. It's not ok. It's not acceptable.

Fuck that. Have you ever had to deal with the embarrassment of having an unwanted erection in public? In front of your family and friends? I've had to wrestle a girl before. I didn't turn it down, because it was a lose-lose situation—as mentioned upthread—and it was the most embarrassing moment of my entire fucking life. Have you had ever had an unwanted erection in front of your parents? Your peers? Your coach?

I get the fundy-bullshit angle, and I've been there too. But I bet you that plain fear of embarrassment fueled this decision more than anything else, and it's hard to blame an 18 year old kid for that.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:16 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


"I hope this has taught you kids a lesson: Kids never learn."
     -Clancy Wiggum
posted by perspicio at 8:16 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


"People get shouty about this because it is representative of a larger issue in which women are objectified and treated as somehow less capable in this society...both overtly and subtly."

I can't really say I buy that explanation for this particular instance. People in this thread are literally comparing this kid's voluntary withdrawl from competition to domestic abuse. That's hyperbolic sophist bullshit, plain and simple.


"His motive was prejudice, even if it was something he was taught by his elders, and his action undermined everything that girl had worked for."

His actions didn't undermine her any more than Eric Liddell's actions undermined everything that other runners had worked for. Object to the reasons he offered for his decision, sure. Explain that he's muddling the difference between "voluntary participation in a contact sport" with "boundary-violating attacks." But don't buy the shitty line that her victory is somehow tainted because this kid followed his convictions -- flawed though they may be -- and withdrew.


Cassy Hinkelman is just a kid, too. Does she count at all?

Yeah. She won, and she walked away with a trophy. The kid who forfeited didn't. That's the way the game works. You can talk about why his reasons sucked, but he didn't take anything away from her, other than the personal satisfaction of beating him. She isn't entitled to that, any more than he is entitled to the trophy. Clearly there are plenty of other guys willing to wrestle her.
posted by verb at 8:16 PM on February 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


The other thing that I think makes it unlikely for us to see a woman in the NBA first is that the WNBA exists. It may not be equal, but it's the only one of the four where women do actually have a public, semi-large national stage on which to compete. There's no WNFL, WNHL, or WMLB. So if a woman is good enough to play pro basketball, she'll likely fall into WNBA just because that's the way things are done. But if a woman is good enough to play pro in any of the other sports, she'll have to carve her own path.
posted by Night_owl at 8:17 PM on February 17, 2011


Can you point to anyone in the thread who is saying she that wasn't a victim and that the situation isn't shitty for her?

I am. She was not a victim. She had an opponent withdraw for reasons that are frustrating and dumb, but she still won -- fair and square. If anything, I blame the shitty journalistic framing of "There's an asterisk by her name...".
posted by verb at 8:18 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, I will not be ashamed of standing up for what I feel is right, thank you very much.

Yes, hence the phrasing "should feel ashamed". Just as you "should" realize that you're being ridiculous, just as you "should' apologize for calling him as bad as a violent criminal who commits domestic assault.

You don't let them keep doing it, not without telling them it's wrong, harmful and hurtful... his action undermined everything that girl had worked for.

It is optional to take part in wrestling. He doesn't owe it to anyone, even a trailblazer, to do something he doesn't want to do. The girl's preferences, or your own, don't override his own preferences about what he does with his own body.

And yes, his motive was prejudice.

You cannot, in fact, read minds. Your outrage and complete lack of proportion do not give you this power.
posted by spaltavian at 8:19 PM on February 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


I called him a bigot. He IS a bigot because his actions show that he holds bigoted views.

I compared him to a wife beater because the views he holds are the same sort of views wife beaters hold, and even though they might not be that detrimental right now in his life, if he doesn't examine his disrespect for women, it's that kind of seemingly begnin prejudice view that grows into something more insidious when left un-examined.

I am NOT saying he will grow up to be a wife beater. Just that the underlying prejudice is the same.
posted by RampantFerret at 8:19 PM on February 17, 2011


I compared him to a wife beater because the views he holds are the same sort of views wife beaters hold.

So you're saying that wife beaters are motivated by an antiquated, condescending desire to avoid hurting women.

I see.
posted by verb at 8:20 PM on February 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


Okay, I've read the whole thread.

Like it or not, men and women are DIFFERENT physically. In lots of interesting ways. I understand that a particularly strong woman could beat most men at wrestling. Whatever.

I think that men and women have no darned business wrestling with each other. Call me sexist, prejudiced, I don't flipping care. A woman is not as strong as a man, she could get hurt much more easily, she is NOT going to have the musculature a guy has unless she's hitting the steroids, and finally, a Christian guy knows darn well he's got no business rolling around with a girl on a mat whether it's wrestling or whatever.

Those of you who are judging him can just give it a rest. He didn't say that NO ONE should wrestle the girl (although I most certainly am saying it myself) and he stuck up for his convictions. Whether you agree with them or not is immaterial.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:20 PM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


I called him a bigot. He IS a bigot because his actions show that he holds bigoted views

This is called circular logic and that bullshit doesn't fly here.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:21 PM on February 17, 2011 [14 favorites]


Clearly, the Internet would have made him wrestle the girl whether he wanted to or not. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
posted by JParker at 8:22 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is there an ETA on the ignore button?
posted by unSane at 8:24 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Speaking of harmful, among high school sports wrestling is second only to football in rates of serious injury. If this guy's been tumbling around with guys his whole life I can totally understand his reluctance here.

That's great. So pleased for you. I was an insecure, religous douche. Cut the guy some slack.

I was a Che shirt wearing, libertarian leaning, "I'm just telling the truth, why's everyone so mad?" idiot. Pleased to meet you.
posted by ODiV at 8:24 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, his actions show that he dosen't belive that a woman is a capeable opponent in wrestling, and doesn't belive that the woman has the ability to understand the implications of being involved in a dangerous sport. This shows he thinks less of women than of men, and thus, is bigoted. Is that better logic for ya there?

In a world where it's open season on abortionists and our country is considering re-defining rape to not include a whole lot of raped women, yeah, I'm worried about prejudice against women. And I won't be quiet about it.

I'm not ashamed, will never be ashamed, and think you should be ashamed for standing up for this bullcrap.
posted by RampantFerret at 8:24 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would say that drawing an equivalence between this kid's views and those of wife beaters is a pretty drastic trivialization of domestic abuse.
posted by nasreddin at 8:24 PM on February 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


our country is considering re-defining rape

You mean, one of the least populated fiftieths of our country?
posted by nasreddin at 8:25 PM on February 17, 2011


an unwanted erection in public

Not just any old cripplingly embarrassing unwanted erection. Singlets don't give a young man anywhere to hide.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:26 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


A woman is not as strong as a man, she could get hurt much more easily, she is NOT going to have the musculature a guy has unless she's hitting the steroids,


That is why they have weight classes. If a girl can compete, let her compete. She got that far, clearly she has shown some aptitude. She doesn't suddenly turn into a fragile flower. On the whole, yes women tend to have less muscle mass then men. This doesn't make them more likely to be hurt, and it certainly doesn't mean that some women are incapable of transcending the stereotype. To deny her the chance to compete, when she knows FULL WELL what the risks are, well, that is rather condescending to think you know what is good for her better than she does.
posted by nasayre at 8:26 PM on February 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


I was a Che shirt wearing, libertarian leaning, "I'm just telling the truth, why's everyone so mad?" idiot. Pleased to meet you.

I was the earnest-yet-smug evangelist boy. We should get together, pool our money for a time machine, and go back to beat ourselves up.
posted by verb at 8:26 PM on February 17, 2011 [16 favorites]


"His motive was prejudice...."

You seem pretty sure of that.

I feel for the kid.

Guess that makes me a wife beater.

What an odd thread.
posted by parki at 8:27 PM on February 17, 2011


My point here is I'm noticing a disturbing trend, and won't put up with anything, large or small, that contributes to the trivialization of women in my country.
posted by RampantFerret at 8:27 PM on February 17, 2011


Singlets don't give a young man anywhere to hide.

Oh believe me I know. On the plus side, they do make them look MASSIVE.

At least when everybody's making fun of you next monday at practice, they're not talking about your girth.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:27 PM on February 17, 2011


I was the earnest-yet-smug evangelist boy. We should get together, pool our money for a time machine, and go back to beat ourselves up.

I was a smug evangelical randroid. Care if I accompany you guys?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:28 PM on February 17, 2011


In a world where it's open season on abortionists and our country is considering re-defining rape to not include a whole lot of raped women, yeah, I'm worried about prejudice against women. And I won't be quiet about it.

My point here is I'm noticing a disturbing trend, and won't put up with anything, large or small, that contributes to the trivialization of women in my country.


You know what, fuck that. The fact that you wanna get all self-righteous about the political situation does not mean that a probably innocent kid deserves to get called a bigot.
posted by nasreddin at 8:28 PM on February 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


Faith, conscience, whatever. The boy was afraid of getting a boner his ass kicked by a girl. FTFY

These two things are not always mutually exclusive.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:29 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


In fact, posturing like this only hurts women's rights because it makes feminists easier to caricature.
posted by nasreddin at 8:31 PM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


In the U.S. military, it is required to refer to people as males and females. "This is the males' bay." "That female just got smoked."

Required by whom? Nobody ever told me this was a rule. It's an affectation that people adopt, because everyone else does it. That's kind of a thing in the military.
posted by Etrigan at 8:34 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "I think that men and women have no darned business wrestling with each other. Call me sexist, prejudiced, I don't flipping care. A woman is not as strong as a man, she could get hurt much more easily, she is NOT going to have the musculature a guy has unless she's hitting the steroids, and finally, a Christian guy knows darn well he's got no business rolling around with a girl on a mat whether it's wrestling or whatever."

St. Alia, I'm not trying to pick a fight, but I really don't understand the reasoning behind your decision. On the one hand, you say that his faith dictates that it's inappropriate for a boy to be in that physical situation with a girl, regardless of intent. I'm curious where this comes from, and where you draw the line. Is it okay for them to play baseball, since it's a sport with minimum contact? Golf? Soccer? Tackle football? In my middle school, at my Fellowship of Christian Athletes, we played football a lot, though usually of the flag variety. Is this acceptable?

And you also say that they shouldn't wrestle because she's weaker. Well, if that is the case, then she'll lose. Men hurt other men and women hurt other women all the time in contact sports.

I felt pride and respect when I saw what the boy did and what he said. But I think he should have wrestled her, and if I had been the female wrestler, I would have been disgusted with myself for winning by default, and upset that I didn't get to compete fairly, and frustrated by the apparent sexism and degrading of my own personal abilities.
posted by Night_owl at 8:34 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


my country

to the same extent, his country
posted by unSane at 8:35 PM on February 17, 2011


First, people please remember that wrestling divides competitors by weight classes. These two girls are in the 112lb class. That means they are wrestling boys who are 112 lbs in high school. In that class, the boys have to struggle to keep their weight down, and wrestling is legendary for the eating disorders it produces in boys: fasting for two days before weigh-ins and then gorging after the match, and then dieting until the next match.

Girls who are 112 lbs in high school are in the normal range. Boys at 112 lbs are either very short, scrawny, or haven't started to develop. There are boys the same age on the football, baseball, or basketball teams who weigh literally twice as much.

Women will never be competitive against men in sports where weight is not restricted. You are all forgetting that men produce their own steroid--testosterone--that builds muscle and speeds recovery from injury. Why the hell do you think athletes are so keen to take more of it?
posted by Pastabagel at 8:36 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK, his actions show that he dosen't belive that a woman is a capeable opponent in wrestling,

Wrong. His actions could be a result of this belief. But his actions aren't axiomatically linked to this belief. This is a logical fallacy. (Also your assertion that his belief in wrestling skill is linked to his belief in gender equality is not proven.)

and doesn't belive that the woman has the ability to understand the implications of being involved in a dangerous sport.

Wronger. His actions say nothing whatsoever about his beliefs about what women are capable of understanding. This is a classic example of "making shift up", a less subtle logical fallacy.

Again, you cannot read minds.

In a world where it's open season on abortionists and our country is considering re-defining rape to not include a whole lot of raped women, yeah, I'm worried about prejudice against women.

This is why I mentioned "proportion" earlier.

I'm not ashamed, will never be ashamed,

This does not surprise me.

and think you should be ashamed for standing up for this bullcrap.

What, exactly, are you accusing me of "standing up for"? Because so far, all I have stood up for is not comparing a kid to a perpetrator of domestic abuse for not doing something that made him uncomfortable. I don't know his reasons beyond what he stated; but the right not to wrestling someone is something I hope will never be challenged outside a dictatorship of the old SNL Hanz and Franz characters.
posted by spaltavian at 8:36 PM on February 17, 2011 [17 favorites]


My point here is I'm noticing a disturbing trend, and won't put up with anything, large or small, that contributes to the trivialization of women in my country.

You can say anything you'd like about what you think his real motivations are, but the actual words he said include nothing about women being weaker, less able competitors, or anything of that sort:

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan (Black, the tournament’s other female entrant) and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. As a matter of conscience and my faith, I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most of the high school sports in Iowa.”

He said that as a matter of faith, he believes it's inappropriate for men to engage in violent combat simulation with women. You can call him a prude, you can say that he was copping out with the last line about 'being placed in this situation,' but you cannot honestly claim that he said women were not able competitors.
posted by verb at 8:37 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


If this is all about preventing boners, then I'm not sure why (generally all-female) cheerleading squads perform at Iowa wrestling tournaments, including at the state tournament.
posted by craichead at 8:37 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it's good to be in a world where men RESPECT the fact that women live in bodies that are in general weaker than theirs. What you see as patronizing and lacking of respect I see as very respectful.

The girl wants to wrestle, the rules allow her to, and apparently some guys are willing to be her opponent. Fine. But if she were my daughter she'd find something else to do with her time. There are tons of other sports, many of which are co-ed, none of which are a)physically risky and b)require her to roll around with boys in public, and having them risk embarrassment by their own physical reactions in public. I think it's cruel to put a young man in that position.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:37 PM on February 17, 2011


This thread has everything.
posted by neuromodulator at 8:39 PM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Etrigan: "Required by whom? Nobody ever told me this was a rule. It's an affectation that people adopt, because everyone else does it. That's kind of a thing in the military."

Hmm. Turns out I did that thing where you hear something that sounds plausible, things you read (Army regulations and documentation) don't contradict it, and you assume it to be true. Sorry for the mistake.
posted by Night_owl at 8:40 PM on February 17, 2011


RampantFerret, what if his actions show that he acknowledges the following: while a woman is entirely capable of competing with men in wrestling and entirely capable of understanding the risks, he didn't want to be the one to actually put her in danger. In other words while she was willing to engage in unusually dangerous behavior (because wrestling a man is undeniably more dangerous for a woman than for another man) he didn't want to engage in unusually dangerous behavior for his opponent.

Also notice that it doesn't actually matter whether she actually was in unusual danger. If he perceived things that way, he was behaving responsibly by choosing the less dangerous path.

Was that his reasoning? I don't know. I'm not a mind reader.

Those of you accusing him of behaving badly, let me ask you this. If a blind man enters a boxing ring with a sighted man, does the sighted man demean disabled persons everywhere by refusing to box? Is the sighted boxer prejudiced? Now, what if the boxer believes (mistakenly) that his opponent is blind? What if acting on this mistaken assumption (which is not generated by underlying prejudice) the sighted boxer refuses to box the not-really-blind man? Isn't the refusing boxer using the very same motivation in both cases? In other words, you don't need to have bad motivations for doing things which look shady to people observing your actions.
posted by oddman at 8:40 PM on February 17, 2011


Let me repeat, he is a child, and thus, by definition not yet in full possession of his moral faculties.

I disagree somewhat. He feels this kind of rough contact sport is inappropriate for him to engage in, and cited his reasons in general terms - but expressed it as his personal decision, rather than saying something like 'the Bible says it's wrong to do things this way.' Owning one's own decisions is a mark of maturity. He may change those opinions as time goes by, or not; that's his right. I sort of got an implication from the comment above that 'if his moral faculties were fully developed he would have gone ahead and wrestled her.' But I think he's entitled to choose his own comfort zone, just as a girl would be entitled to do if some guy was demanding she wrestle him when she didn't feel comfortable doing so.

The other reason I'm inclined to grant him fuller possession than you is that I was struck by the dignified and sportsmanlike tone of his words, in which he was able to express his discomfort without denigrating anybody else. Some of the posts above are so nasty, and so poorly reasoned, that they resemble some tasteless right-wing caricature of leftism. Most disappointing.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:41 PM on February 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


I think it's good to be in a world where men RESPECT the fact that women live in bodies that are in general weaker than theirs. What you see as patronizing and lacking of respect I see as very respectful.

I think the concern with that approach is that it fundamentally ignores the desires of the women involved. Some women honestly and legitimately feel that Sharia law protects and honors them. Others feel that it is a tool of oppression. When each has the opportunity to choose how they live, it's not a problem. When a particular flavor of "respect" is imposed on them, it's not cool.

I'm not suggesting that "not hitting a girl" is fundamentally equivalent to "legally required veiling," just pointing out that "Not letting you do X is really a form of respect" is a dangerous reason to give, because it is used to justify really terrible stuff.
posted by verb at 8:42 PM on February 17, 2011 [16 favorites]


if she were my daughter she'd find something else to do with her time

Really? What if she really, really wanted to wrestle? Are you saying you'd tell your daughter she couldn't?
posted by Ghidorah at 8:43 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


In other words while she was willing to engage in unusually dangerous behavior (because wrestling a man is undeniably more dangerous for a woman than for another man) he didn't want to engage in unusually dangerous behavior for his opponent.

Well that would be very chivalrous of him. Chivalry and equality don't mix.

I also note his complaint about being placed in this position. He placed himself in this position. If he did not want to compete against all qualified contestants then he should not have entered the competition. That should be the default.
posted by Danila at 8:43 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


This thread has everything.

Were the girl's parents anti-vaccination? Was there a declawed cat involved?
posted by verb at 8:43 PM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ghidorah, if your child wants to do something that you are certain is inappropriate and dangerous, do you let them do because they really, really want to?
posted by oddman at 8:45 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


If a blind man enters a boxing ring with a sighted man, does the sighted man demean disabled persons everywhere by refusing to box?
If a blind man qualifies for the boxing match by defeating a number of opponents and advancing to the final round, then yes, the sighted man is a bigot if he refuses to box the blind man just because he's blind. It's not like this girl just marched into the state tournament and demanded to compete. She's been wrestling since she was a little kid. She earned her place in the tournament. She has proven that she's a worthy opponent.
posted by craichead at 8:45 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


PinTMFA
posted by BeerFilter at 8:45 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was a smug evangelical randroid. Care if I accompany you guys?

This is turning into an AWESOME idea for a movie, by the way.
posted by unSane at 8:47 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


If a blind man enters a boxing ring with a sighted man, does the sighted man demean disabled persons everywhere by refusing to box?

The problem with that analogy is that it presupposes that women are equivalent to blind people. It would be more accurate to say, "If a woman entered a boxing ring with a man of the same weight class, does the man demean women by refusing to box?"
posted by verb at 8:49 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"But dude," my friend interjected "you were grouped with a bunch of 10-year old girls."

But dude, you were fucking fencing. We're talking about sports in this thread.
posted by xmutex at 8:49 PM on February 17, 2011


This is turning into an AWESOME idea for a movie, by the way.

Or, at the very least, some excellent MetaFilter fan fiction.
posted by verb at 8:49 PM on February 17, 2011


Well, I can pretty much tell the winning move is not to participate in this thread, that's for sure.
posted by weston at 8:49 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also note his complaint about being placed in this position. He placed himself in this position. If he did not want to compete against all qualified contestants then he should not have entered the competition. That should be the default.

Are you kidding me? He was supposed to plan in advance for the possibility that he would have to wrestle a woman? And suppose he was a complete and utter fool and didn't predict that it would happen simply because it had never ever happened before? What should he have done differently?
posted by nasreddin at 8:51 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


But if she were my daughter she'd find something else to do with her time. There are tons of other sports...

You're certain that she'd A) want to do any of those other sports and B) be as good at any of those sports? And as long as you're stipulating this multitalented teenager who has no problem following her parents' commands when they contradict her own desires, you might as well make her a genius who skipped high school and has a doctorate by the time she's 14. Because the odds are about the same.
posted by Etrigan at 8:53 PM on February 17, 2011


I share the kid's opinion. I was brought up to respect women, and a refusal to wrestle a woman would in no way reflect bigotry. In fact, rather the opposite. Unless you're talking about "you're-a-bigot-if-you-try-and-open-a-door-for-me-or-stand-up-when-I-get-up-to-leave-the-table" kind of bigotry, in which case, you misunderstand bigotry*. We need more civility and respect in this world, not less. I was taught that one of the traditional roles of the male in a relationship was to be the protector and defender of the family. This not to say that my wife can't fight, or even that I would want to face her in match! It's not belittling her in any way, rather it is honoring her and, in essence saying to her, "you are so important to me that I would gladly risk my life for you" if that's what's called for. And I was taught to extend that sense of honoring women beyond the family, to the point where I would never hit a woman, for any reason. I would run away first. I wouldn't hit a man without just cause, but if the cause were sufficient (e.g. he hit me), I would. Men and women are different, we're supposed to be different, and it's OK to treat them differently.

*Definition of BIGOT
: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
posted by JParker at 8:54 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Are you kidding me? He was supposed to plan in advance for the possibility that he would have to wrestle a woman? And suppose he was a complete and utter fool and didn't predict that it would happen simply because it had never ever happened before? What should he have done differently?

Well, yeah, he was wrestling in a match where girls were also allowed to wrestle. It comes with the territory, even if it is statistically unlikely. Because of that, the passive agressive swipe at "being placed in this position" was a dick thing to say. It was his choice to compete and his own beliefs that put him in the position.

But that's different than claiming that women are weaker competitors, that women are delicate flowers, or, say, beating your wife.
posted by verb at 8:54 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


What should he have done differently?

Falcon jab FTW
posted by anigbrowl at 8:56 PM on February 17, 2011


And I was taught to extend that sense of honoring women beyond the family, to the point where I would never hit a woman, for any reason. I would run away first. I wouldn't hit a man without just cause, but if the cause were sufficient (e.g. he hit me), I would. Men and women are different, we're supposed to be different, and it's OK to treat them differently.

A friend and I just hashed this question out in IRC. After much deliberation, I concluded that I would totally hit a woman if she were stealing my cat.
posted by verb at 8:56 PM on February 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


As a high school student, I wrestled (badly). One of my team members refused to wrestle a woman, and the coach let him get away with it. I didn't think much of it -- I would have (and had, on another occasion) done it. But when I mentioned it to my mom, she said, "What if he had refused to wrestle a black guy?" The next day, I quit the team.
posted by novalis_dt at 8:56 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Are you kidding me? He was supposed to plan in advance for the possibility that he would have to wrestle a woman? And suppose he was a complete and utter fool and didn't predict that it would happen simply because it had never ever happened before? What should he have done differently?

You agree to compete with all qualified contestants or you don't enter the contest.

And if you enter anyway, but then refuse to compete because you don't think certain people should be competing, then you don't whine about being (passive voice) "placed in a situation".
posted by Danila at 8:56 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


(because wrestling a man is undeniably more dangerous for a woman than for another man)

This is true because...why again?

If a blind man enters a boxing ring with a sighted man, does the sighted man demean disabled persons everywhere by refusing to box?

If a man compares a wrestling match between a male and a female (of the species homo sapiens sapiens -- happy, pedants?) to a boxing match between a sighted and a blind man, does he demean women everywhere?

(Yes, I see you already made this point, verb, but it bears spotlighting and repeating.)

My personal opinion is that RampantFerret overreacted in some ways (disgusting bigot, equivalent to wife-beaters), but I totally understand her position. We've come a long way as a society, no thanks to those who take privilege for granted, but woman really is the nigger of the world.
posted by perspicio at 8:57 PM on February 17, 2011


Did he obey the rules of the contest? If so, quit whining. If not, enforce the appropriate sanctions.
posted by unSane at 8:58 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]



Well, yeah, he was wrestling in a match where girls were also allowed to wrestle. It comes with the territory, even if it is statistically unlikely. Because of that, the passive agressive swipe at "being placed in this position" was a dick thing to say. It was his choice to compete and his own beliefs that put him in the position.


So if I have a peanut allergy and decide to participate in a hot-dog eating contest, I have to prepare for the possibility that they will swap the relish out for peanuts because there wasn't anything against it in the bylines? It just seems crazy. And if I happened to be wrong, and they did swap the relish the out for peanuts, then surely I would be expected to do the reasonable thing--forfeit the contest. Which is exactly what he did.

And if you enter anyway, but then refuse to compete because you don't think certain people should be competing, then you don't whine about being (passive voice) "placed in a situation".


Too bad he never said that anyone "shouldn't be competing."
posted by nasreddin at 8:59 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


But when I mentioned it to my mom, she said, "What if he had refused to wrestle a black guy?" The next day, I quit the team.

Cause that totally works for toilets, changing rooms and stuff.
posted by unSane at 9:00 PM on February 17, 2011


Are you kidding me? He was supposed to plan in advance for the possibility that he would have to wrestle a woman?
Given that the Des Moines Register was apparently reporting on girls integrating Iowa high school wrestling in 2001, yeah, I think the possibility should have occurred to him. This isn't a new phenomenon. What's new is that there are two girls this year who come from wrestling families and have been wrestling since they were really young, and they're good enough to get to the state tournament. But girls have been wrestling for their high school teams for some time now.
posted by craichead at 9:00 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


I can't speak for boxing because I do not know the rules. But we do have women competing against men in the NFL and NHL.

Um, what? No we don't.


I just thought it was a bad Sidney Crosby joke.
posted by zephyr_words at 9:01 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Too bad he never said that anyone "shouldn't be competing."

He never said it directly, but I think people (myself included) felt that the bit about "It's too bad I was put in this position..." was a passive agressive way of saying that she shouldn't be competing. It was mildly delivered, to be sure, but it's not too much of a stretch.

It is off-base to say that he believes that women are lesser competitors. He said no such thing.
posted by verb at 9:01 PM on February 17, 2011


inappropriate and dangerous

Organized sport? Inappropriate and dangerous? First, I was asking St. Alia a question. Second, if I had a daughter, and she told me she wanted to participate in an organized sport, one with trained coaches, and a solid tradition of support and community, I'm not about to tell her she can't do it because she's a girl. Inappropriate? Who decides that? I imagine the parent (in this case, St. Alia) would decide that, but I would hope they would at least listen to their child's reasons for wanting to join the sport. Dangerous? Yeah, there are injuries in wrestling, and just about every other major sport. You can get killed walking your doggie, as the wise man once said.

If my hypothetical daughter wanted to wrestle, I would ask her about it, and make sure that she understood that, because it was a male dominated sport, she'd have to put up with a fuckton of ignorance and backwards thinking neandrethals. If she understood that, and still wanted to do it, I'd be there to support her at every single meet.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:02 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Urgh. Girls wrestling in Iowa from 2001.
posted by craichead at 9:02 PM on February 17, 2011


So if I have a peanut allergy and decide to participate in a hot-dog eating contest, I have to prepare for the possibility that they will swap the relish out for peanuts because there wasn't anything against it in the bylines?

She wasn't poisonous to him. She was participating under the same rules. There was no change, except her gender, which is irrelevant to the rules of the competition. Your analogy is flawed.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:03 PM on February 17, 2011


He never said it directly, but I think people (myself included) felt that the bit about "It's too bad I was put in this position..." was a passive agressive way of saying that she shouldn't be competing.

I think the most you can take away from that is that he thought there should be separate classes for men and women, to be honest.
posted by unSane at 9:03 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


So let's say that having to wrestle a woman would be a totally normal thing for an aspiring high school wrestler to expect. In what way is forfeiting an inadequate or morally questionable response? Was he supposed to grovel?

a passive agressive way of saying that she shouldn't be competing


That's a pretty tendentious reading of what he said, but whatever.
posted by nasreddin at 9:04 PM on February 17, 2011


In this thread we posit false equivalencies and second guess a 16 year old boy.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:04 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


So if I have a peanut allergy and decide to participate in a hot-dog eating contest, I have to prepare for the possibility that they will swap the relish out for peanuts because there wasn't anything against it in the bylines? It just seems crazy. And if I happened to be wrong, and they did swap the relish the out for peanuts, then surely I would be expected to do the reasonable thing--forfeit the contest. Which is exactly what he did.

Seriously? A peanut allergy could kill you. Wrestling a girl might be potentially embarrassing. Peanuts have no feelings or dignity. Girls are people too.

World of difference between subbing in a potentially deadly allergen, and entering a tournament with girls, and having to compete.
posted by explosion at 9:04 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Verb, notice that I then said the boxer was mistaken, which was my way of acknowledging that women are equal to men. Thus the boxer was wrong to think his opponent blind like the young guy was wrong about the equality of his opponent. That may have been clearer in my head.

craichead, that's a reasonable point. But notice I put in terms of a greater likelihood to suffer injury. Can't an opponent earn to the right to fight you, as you point out, and still be at greater risk for injury? (I'd say yes, certainly.) If you then refuse to engage the opponent on the grounds that you don't feel comfortable with that greater probability, are you still bigoted?

perspicio, from a link upthread,:
This is from the Women's Sports Foundation founded by Billie Jean King:
Once boys reach puberty, in general, it is difficult for girls to compete against boys on equal terms. Due to the male hormone androgen, boys develop more muscle mass per unit volume of body mass than do girls. Thus, even though a girl and boy may be of equal height and weight, the boy will have more fat-free mass (a greater percentage of his body will be muscle) than the girl. He will be stronger, able to run faster, throw farther, etc. I inferred the injury claim from that, it seems a reasonable inference to me.
More importantly I didn't state it as a fact, I offered it as a possibly mistake assumption on the part of the male wrestler which might play a role in a non-bigoted motivation.
posted by oddman at 9:05 PM on February 17, 2011


"Few male players went around grabbing other guy's crotches."

I had a lot of friends on the men's water polo team, and there were enough groin-grabs that some poor kid got sent to the hospital.

And when I did judo growing up, I hated grappling with the girls. Because they had lower centers of gravity and better balance.
posted by klangklangston at 9:07 PM on February 17, 2011


craichead: "Urgh. Girls wrestling in Iowa from 2001."

From the article: ""There are guys here that work a lot harder than I do, that have to step it up all the time and might have a better match than I did but I get more credit because I'm a girl. I don't think that's fair."

THIS

I respect this girl so, so much.
posted by Night_owl at 9:09 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


So if I have a peanut allergy and decide to participate in a hot-dog eating contest, I have to prepare for the possibility that they will swap the relish out for peanuts because there wasn't anything against it in the bylines?

This is starting to veer heavily into tortured analogy land. Wrestling her was not a threat to his life. In addition, the presence of a female wrestler wasn't an accidental equipment substitution.

I understand what you're saying, but this is a stretch at best.
posted by verb at 9:09 PM on February 17, 2011


In what way is forfeiting an inadequate or morally questionable response? Was he supposed to grovel?

He could have just said, "it is against my faith to compete against a woman, so I forfeit." Instead, he had to get in sly digs against her: first, damned by faint praise. Second, a statement of belief that it's inappropriate not only for him, but for any boy to wrestle a girl. Third, a shifting of blame to the unfortunate situation that he got paired.

Anyone has the right to concede at any time for any reason. It doesn't mean they should use it as a soapbox for their beliefs, whether they be, "I shouldn't have to wrestle a girl/a black person/a homosexual/a Jew."
posted by explosion at 9:10 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I played water polo in high school and NEVER got my groin grabbed. Now I wonder why not?
posted by unSane at 9:10 PM on February 17, 2011


St. Alia for President
Pater Alethias for Pope

Can I get a witness
posted by rahnefan at 9:11 PM on February 17, 2011


a soapbox for their beliefs

Oh, he didn't say it exactly the way you wanted. I see.
posted by unSane at 9:11 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is turning into an AWESOME idea for a movie, by the way.

Why is it that I always hit my favorite limit for the day? Am I the cancer that is killing mefi?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:12 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anyone has the right to concede at any time for any reason. It doesn't mean they should use it as a soapbox for their beliefs, whether they be, "I shouldn't have to wrestle a girl/a black person/a homosexual/a Jew."

MetaFilter: a soapbox for their beliefs
posted by anigbrowl at 9:13 PM on February 17, 2011


Cancer? We don't have a cancer. More like the irritable bowel syndrome that is making mefi cranky.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:13 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


a soapbox for their beliefs

Yeah, those two diplomatically-worded sentences! What a hateful misogynist prick!
posted by nasreddin at 9:15 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread has everything.

Were the girl's parents anti-vaccination? Was there a declawed cat involved?


This hypothetical boner... Is it circumcised?
posted by nathancaswell at 9:15 PM on February 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


"I think we will see women in MLB first."

Maybe this one.
posted by JParker at 9:17 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I know that as of 1997 there were multiple girls on my high school's mostly male wrestling team. I also know that during my four years at my high school, there were two girls on the otherwise-all-male ice hockey team. I'm pretty sure all the dudes survived, and maybe learned a thing or two about the capacity in women for strength, speed and skill.


Anecdata, I know, I know.

Is it worth pointing out that the one girl who was on both the wrestling and ice hockey teams was - at the very least - on homecoming court, if not the homecoming queen? And that I did not go to high school in a hip and liberal place?
posted by palindromic at 9:18 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


oddman: Yup, I'm with you on the blind boxing thing now. I did not read carefully enough before.
posted by perspicio at 9:18 PM on February 17, 2011


But notice I put in terms of a greater likelihood to suffer injury. Can't an opponent earn to the right to fight you, as you point out, and still be at greater risk for injury? (I'd say yes, certainly.) If you then refuse to engage the opponent on the grounds that you don't feel comfortable with that greater probability, are you still bigoted?
I don't know about bigoted, but I think it's really problematic. I think that it's really easy to "protect" women right out of opportunities that they want and deserve. For instance, until 1972, women were "protected" from the opportunity to enter the Boston Marathon. That was justified by references to women's weak constitutions, too. I think that, barring some sort of pretty emphatic evidence that women are really endangered by sports, the bias should be towards letting them make their own decisions.
posted by craichead at 9:18 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


For those who don't see a connection to sexism and bigotry, this is an old post from Shakesville, in response to Holly Bowne who was angry that her son's team had to compete against girls:

What I really think is confusing our boys is the concept of chivalry, and how it enforces gender roles. From the very moment the doctor proclaims "It's a boy!" the stereotypes are forced down their throats by every thing and person the come in contact w/. Bowne mentions that she has taught her boys to not be aggressive w/ girls, that boys must protect girls, and even "step to their defense". I can see where she is going, we certainly don't want more violence against women, and I definitely think we need more feminist allies in men, but I just don't buy this whole "protect the fair sex" mentality. Chivalry, from the French word for knight, chevalier, is the concept that began w/ Knightly Duties, and has evolved into this idea that men must treat women w/ "respect" by treating them as weaker and in need of being protected. Chivalry, on its surface seems like a great idea—treat women w/ respect. But, it is really just sexism in a big pretty bow meant to match your purse and high heels.

If you are a supporter of gender equality then how is this not sexism? I can understand the boy's point of view. He believes men and women are made for different things, and he believes men should protect women. What I don't understand is the liberals who agree with this, yet also say they are for equality.
posted by Danila at 9:20 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


a Christian guy knows darn well he's got no business rolling around with a girl on a mat whether it's wrestling or whatever.

You tell 'em, Superego! Squash that id, repress those urges! This is why psychoanalysis is at its core about sexuality. Because our culture has it utterly fucked up.

St. Alia of the Bunnies, do you appreciate, I mean really savor, the irony of telling a boy he has no business rolling around on a mat with a girl IN A GRECO-ROMAN WRESTLING MATCH?

You don't want him rolling around a mat with girls, but its okay if a Christian boy rolls around a mat with boys? And you are surprised that this same attitude about sex produces an endless string of closeted homosexual preachers? You want him to stick to wrestling other boys? You want to keep the girls out of wrestling? So did the ancient Greeks. That's why, in the original Olympic games, men wrestled other men in the nude, slathered in olive oil, outside in front of a crowd of spectators. And this was in a culture where homosexual contact between men (and women) was not only commonplace, but celebrated in poetry and in art. This is the sport you are telling this boy to stick to, only now its magically okay in your Christian worldview because he's wearing two square feet of spandex.

And before you decry them as pagans, remember that those very same bronzed and oiled guy-on-guy wrestlers invented physics, philosophy, politics, drama, comedy, aesthetics, etc. How do I know this? Because those words came into English unchanged from their origins among the celebrators of the homoerotic (hey there's another Greek word!)

You might want to consider that much of what people enjoy doing in the world existed prior to your late 20th century re-imagining of Christianity.

If he's straight, it is precisely his business to roll around with girls. Stop spreading this perverse myth that believing in Jesus Christ as the son of God automatically requires men to repress their sexuality.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:20 PM on February 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


My 11yr old son's hockey team has one girl left on it (there used to be more) and she is the rottweiler of the team -- by far the most agressive, gung ho player. She doesn't get many goals but she has become the enforcer, despite being about half the size of many of the boys she plays against. I think she just freaks them out by heading straight at them like some kind of 11 yr old torpedo. It's wonderful to watch.
posted by unSane at 9:20 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Craichead, of course, I completely agree with you that paternalism is, at best, dangerous and often used for nefarious ends.
posted by oddman at 9:23 PM on February 17, 2011


the bias should be towards letting them make their own decisions

Hm. I'm not sure "letting them" is really what you want to go for here. Perhpas "...not interfering with them making their own decisions."
posted by perspicio at 9:26 PM on February 17, 2011


If you are a supporter of gender equality then how is this not sexism?

It may well have been. But either way there is a big difference between calling something sexist and calling someone a bigot, as any anti-racist activist can tell you. You do not get to make claims of the latter kind without a damn good justification.
posted by nasreddin at 9:26 PM on February 17, 2011


Perhaps perhpas, but probably perhaps.
posted by perspicio at 9:26 PM on February 17, 2011


And before you decry them as pagans, remember that those very same bronzed and oiled guy-on-guy wrestlers invented physics, philosophy, politics, drama, comedy, aesthetics, etc. How do I know this? Because those words came into English unchanged from their origins among the celebrators of the homoerotic (hey there's another Greek word!)

You might want to consider that much of what people enjoy doing in the world existed prior to your late 20th century re-imagining of Christianity.

If he's straight, it is precisely his business to roll around with girls. Stop spreading this perverse myth that believing in Jesus Christ as the son of God automatically requires men to repress their sexuality.


I'm as stoked on this as you are. I wish we recognized where our shit originated. I wish we celebrated our intellectual heritage. I love partying with everyone. I love working with everyone. We make some pretty cool shit, and we're gonna keep making cool shit.

That said, it really sucks to talk shit on one specific insecure kid. He's not a grown-ass man who should be embarrassed of this sort of behavior.

He is a child. He's growing up and learning about the world. If probability holds, he's going to be embarrassed about this entire spectacle in 2-3 years. Cut the kid some fucking slack.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:28 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Those of you who are judging him can just give it a rest. He didn't say that NO ONE should wrestle the girl (although I most certainly am saying it myself) and he stuck up for his convictions. Whether you agree with them or not is immaterial.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:20 PM on February 17


Then I had to go and real the entire original comment.

What are his convictions exactly? That according to his Baptist faith, boys should not act violently towards girls?

And when Baptist dads take their daughters to those creepy purity balls and join their daughters in taking those virginity pledges, in which basically the dad promises to protect his daughter's her sexual purity, that isn't violence? Control over someone's sexuality isn't violence?
posted by Pastabagel at 9:30 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


After considering things carefully, I think there wouldn't be any religious objections to gay Christian boys wrestling girls.
posted by verb at 9:32 PM on February 17, 2011


Pastabagel, Baptists are not monolithic and you know nothing about his particular faith except what he said.
posted by unSane at 9:33 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


But either way there is a big difference between calling something sexist and calling someone a bigot, as any anti-racist activist can tell you. You do not get to make claims of the latter kind without a damn good justification.

The difference between "calling something sexist" and "calling someone A bigot/sexist/racist/whatever" is that one makes it personal. But that is surely not a greater error than the bigotry itself. Still, I refuse to get caught up in derails defending bigotry because someone was mean in the way they expressed their disgust.

That said, it really sucks to talk shit on one specific insecure kid.


And either we can talk about this or it shouldn't be on Metafilter. If his actions were wrongheaded but that's okay because he's a kid, then fine. But the actions would still be unjustifiable. Or these actions are justifiable and his age irrelevant. But we can talk about what he did and the consequences.
posted by Danila at 9:37 PM on February 17, 2011


I can't believe all of you shitting on this poor kid.

I played competitive basketball when I was in high school. Every once in a while, a city's rep team would have a girl on it. Now, I don't at all fault the girl or her parents for getting her on that team; those girls were good enough to hang with the guys, and everyone wants to play at the highest level that they can.

That said, it was *WEIRD* playing against a girl in a contact sport when you're 14 or 15 or 16. It's uncomfortable. You want to show her enough respect to play hard against her, but you're also scared you're going to touch a tit or something and get accused of molestation.

Now, basketball is one thing. There's some contact, but you're not putting your hands all over the other person. Wrestling, to me, seems to fall over the line where you need to be comfortable with who's going to touch your body.

Has anyone even thought for a second that maybe he doesn't like the idea of a girl groping him??? This issue of coed sports for high school students does not scale at all the coed sports at the college or professional level.
posted by auto-correct at 9:37 PM on February 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


defending bigotry

Wow.
posted by nasreddin at 9:39 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


And either we can talk about this or it shouldn't be on Metafilter. If his actions were wrongheaded but that's okay because he's a kid, then fine. But the actions would still be unjustifiable. Or these actions are justifiable and his age irrelevant. But we can talk about what he did and the consequences.

What he did was forfeit by not wrestling her. The consequences are no different than if he hadn't wrestled anyone at all.

Meh.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:45 PM on February 17, 2011


"Oh he's a child! Waa waa! His moral compass isn't properly calibrated yet!"

WTF? Where I come from he's old enough to fuck. Seems like a pretty damn adult thing to do to me. What a pissweak sook. Instead of getting his game face on he slithered out of it like a spineless weasel. I hope she goes can put this utter bollocks where it belongs, in the herpaderp file. If I was her I'd want to kick his arse.

*chugs another bottle of Wiborowya and staggers off to make tiramisu.
posted by gerls at 9:47 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


On a more positive note, maybe he just had a crush on her. In which case wrestling her competitively would truly have been a lose-lose proposition.
posted by JParker at 9:48 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe he was just afraid she'd turtle and he'd have to check the oil.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:55 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


On a more positive note, maybe he just had a crush on her. In which case wrestling her competitively would truly have been a lose-lose proposition.

As far as I can tell, there's no way to lose a grappling match with a sufficiently cute girl.
posted by edguardo at 9:56 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ew.
posted by Night_owl at 9:56 PM on February 17, 2011


What a little shit. It's not that violent. If he can get past the hangups of homo-style wrestling, he should definitely be able to handle a little hetero wrestling. And the faith argument is weak sauce. Fucked up.
posted by colinshark at 9:58 PM on February 17, 2011


fucking stupid thread.
posted by the mad poster! at 9:59 PM on February 17, 2011


I don't think I could find fault with a female wrestler preferring to compete with only other women/girls. Would we be calling her a bunch of names if she didn't want to wrestle a similarly skilled male opponent? Maybe only if it was for religious reasons?
posted by ODiV at 10:00 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


people don't get to contest notions of chivalry out of abstract convictions devoid of the cultural contexts. if there's a woman's section in a train somewhere I don't get to walk in and tell the offended women "well I'm doing this for your equality". So the cultural context about chivalry determines the ad hoc negotiation of intersex contact
posted by the mad poster! at 10:01 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


After thinking about this a bit more, there's an awful lot of chaff being thrown up around what happened, and a lot of us are arguing issues that are not actually directly related to what is going on. Three specific issues seem to be really key.

The first issue is prudishness. Basically, this revolves around the idea that there's a sexual component to his refusal to wrestle her, and that he believes it's inappropriate for that reason. It's not much of a stretch, but it's also not the reason he offered. He didn't make that claim at all, and while we can speculate about it, we're pretending we can read his mind.

The second issue is sexism. Basically, the idea that women are lesser or weaker competitors, and cannot compete effectively. Like the sex angle, he didn't say it -- other people have ascribed this view to him and condemned him for it, but he didn't say it. We can certainly speculate about whether he really thinks it, but he did not say it. At all.

The final issue is more complicated, by virtue of the fact that he actually said it -- that it's inappropriate for guys to behave violently towards women, even in a voluntary sport. If he were advocating that girls shouldn't be allowed to participate because it is wrong for a boy to do so, that would be paternalism. But since he hasn't advocated that (his final whine can only very obliquely be interpreted as advocating exclusion of females), we're left slicing things pretty thin.

That's basically what we're left with, though. Prudishness, which he didn't use as an excuse but many people suspect was his real reason. Sexism, which he didn't voice explicitly but many people think is implicit in his reasoning. And Paternalism under the guise of Chivalry, which can be dissected and critiqued on its own terms as others upthread have shown.
posted by verb at 10:03 PM on February 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


This thread has everything

Glass, steam, bear traps, and just when you think the fun is over, "Knock knock, who’s there? It’s Black George Washington!" All of that in a party room filled with human bath mats. It's that thing when, like, midgets have dreadlocks and they lay face down on the floor.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:03 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


odiv, if she were in a mythical world where there was only one wrestling scene and in it were almost only women, but then this one time, there were a couple of men who wanted to compete, I would say the exact same things about her being unwilling to compete with the men. For whatever reason she chose. If she were in a religious wrestling group, then I could understand her refusal. If you choose to participate in an at-least-theoretically-coed league, then you choose to be put up against anyone who participates in that league. Full. Freaking. Stop.
posted by Night_owl at 10:06 PM on February 17, 2011


The second issue is sexism. Basically, the idea that women are lesser or weaker competitors, and cannot compete effectively.

Sexism is discrimination based on gender. Doesn't really matter why.
posted by perspicio at 10:08 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


(And on that basis, his behavior was sexist.)
posted by perspicio at 10:11 PM on February 17, 2011


Good points, Night_owl, I just figured that was a better comparison than a blind boxer.

Is there an exclusively male wrestling division? If people would rather not wrestle with members of the opposite sex, I'm inclined to think it should be respected if only because of the level of physical contact. I can see how some men and women (and boys and girls) might be uncomfortable with it.
posted by ODiV at 10:12 PM on February 17, 2011


If I recall correctly, Chyna used to wrestle against male wrestlers, on occasion, in the WWE. When you find yourself in a less progressive position that professional wrestling, it might be time to rethink your ways.

Also, Chyna kicked ass.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:13 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sexism is discrimination based on gender. Doesn't really matter why.

Okay, fine, I popped open Wikipedia to double-check my definition before posting, and it defined sexism as "the belief or attitude that one sex is inherently superior to, more competent than, or more valuable than the other." Sexism can be interpreted more broadly -- to include any behavior influenced by a party's gender -- but I was intending to convey the idea of superiority or competence as a defining difference.

I'm not interested in debating the meaning of the word, but please understand that my meaning in the above post was just that: "the belief or attitude that one sex is inherently superior to, more competent than, or more valuable than the other."
posted by verb at 10:16 PM on February 17, 2011


If this boy ever turns pro he may find himself in a similar predicament

(On preview: See I was beaten to the punch by Ghidorah)
posted by The Gooch at 10:17 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also wanna join in the chorus of people saying 'don't be so hard on the kid.'

Seriously, he's young, he's been raised in a conservative household, I think we can cut him a lot of slack here. So maybe let's leave him out of it, as best we can? Certainly we can avoid making ad hominem attacks.

I think what's so disappointing about this situation to some people, myself included, is the fact that this has been presented as an acceptable option to duck out of competing with someone just because of what they have or don't have between their legs.

Weight classes already exist to ensure fairness. I mean, an argument could be made that testosterone provides an additional advantage to those with a lot of it, but I think if a girl weighs in and says 'I am willing and able to compete at this weight' then her not being allowed to compete (even indirectly by refusing to compete with her) is an instance of unjustifiable sexism.

That a young kid would make a decision like this under the influence of his parents is understandable. But that doesn't make it any less sexist of a decision.

The Judo club I trained at in Germany had a lot of women in it, more than I've seen in any other club I've trained at. Everyone trained together. Nothing creepy happened, nobody's religious sensibilities were offended. People of different genders touched each other (all over, nearly) and even occasionally choked each other unconscious. Good times were had by all.

And importantly, women learned to legitimately assert and defend themselves against men.

Politely declining to train or compete with women denies them this opportunity. I can't imagine a good reason why anyone would want to do that.
posted by edguardo at 10:18 PM on February 17, 2011


Also, Chyna kicked ass.

Really? So the sexualization of women in WWE (where men go on stage and spank the woman) is less objectionable than a guy not wrestling a woman because he doesn't want to exert physical force against her? this thread just shows how a lot of the seemingly sophisticated discussion on here is just issuances from a marginal madhouse.
posted by the mad poster! at 10:19 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


The fact that we're so PC that we're tolerant of this shit is why women are losing their rights left and right.

What.

Do you even know what PC means?
posted by Deathalicious at 10:21 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not as far as I know. And it is true that women in recent years have been getting doors opened and freedoms given to them that kind of disregard whether they're achieving equality with men or superiority over men. I don't really know how to respect those problems while also acknowledging that women still have advances to make before they're opportunistically equal to men. What I do know is that by denying her the opportunity to wrestle him, the kid really has divested her win from almost all of its meaning. People will look at her and say, "Oh, but she only won because he wouldn't fight her. Everyone knows what would have happened if he had done it." And if he's in a place where he's being taught the things that would make him believe that God doesn't want him to wrestle a girl, then he's in a place where at least some people will believe that. She lost some of her community's respect today. That's what I lament in this situation.
posted by Night_owl at 10:25 PM on February 17, 2011


So the sexualization of women in WWE (where men go on stage and spank the woman) is less objectionable than a guy not wrestling a woman because he doesn't want to exert physical force against her?

The WWE's gotten really bad, I'll freely admit. But back when Chyna was wrestling men she was just another wrestler. They made jokes about her being a woman, but she kicked a lot of ass. I think she held a non-Women's Champ belt for a while (Intercontinental I think). Sometimes men exerted "physical force" against her. She was never spanked.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:26 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


the mad poster!, you may not have ever actually seen Chyna when she was in the WWE, but she was one of the least sexualized wrestlers out there. Active in arguably the most offensive era in WWE history (ahem, the black wrestlers were all together as the Nation of Domination, another faction told people who disagreed with them to 'suck it', and, oh yeah, the black pimp character teaming with the porn star character inviting everyone to get on the ho train), she regularly held her own against male wrestlers, and was, for the most part, considered a wrestler first, someone who, oh, by the way, was a woman. When I say she kicked ass, I meant that she participated in an incredibly violent, dangerous 'sport', and held her own.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:26 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


An athlete honors his competition by doing his best to win, fairly.
Anything less is dishonorable.


Which she did, honorably. No one can look at the list of people she defeated to get to that final round and say 'she didn't earn that trophy.'

Also, I could understand this level of vitriol if he had actually invalidated her accomplishments. If he had gone out there and let himself be pinned in a matter of a few seconds, showing he was not even trying, THAT would be FAR more insulting and would have tainted the entire match.

He made a choice, and chose dishonor. He didn't shy away from it, and accepted that because of his beliefs that he could not fight, and chose the path that would bring the dishonor only on himself. He lost, fair and square. There are no rules saying you have to fight. His reasons can be criticized for being sexist, but he did follow the rules, which appear to be not sexist. He is not 'getting away' with anything.

If anyone thinks she didn't earn her trophy and title because of one default by a kid that wouldn't enter into combat with a woman, THOSE are the people that should be called out for being bigoted.
posted by chambers at 10:32 PM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yes, it's "fake", but IMHO the most badass pro-wrestlers around is probably the fearsome Amazing Kong (who is absolutely charming in person, BTW). If you look at her moves you'll notice that they all make use of her large stature, great strength, and, er, heft. This is generally a more stereotypically male form of pro-wrestling; most female pro-wrestlers rely more on kicks, acrobatics, and, for the generally less skilled wrestlers, hair-pulling. There's also a strong emphasis on attractiveness ("hotness") in the pro-wrestling world, so it's always refreshing to see a female wrestler who makes her name for being fearsome rather than a hottie.

The lady in green during the Accordion Rack, MsChif, is a close second in badassery. She is unbelievably flexible so other wrestlers will routinely do things like wrap her upside-down around a chair. She screams and spits green paint at her opponents. Coolest of all, though, by day she's a mild-mannered genetic scientist, recently featured in PBS' Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:34 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


In America, sports don't become important until high school.

If someone could call all of my elementary and junior high school gym coaches (and maybe also all of the popular kids I went to school with then) and inform them of this, I would sincerely appreciate it.

I am terrified of saying anything else about this thread.
posted by naoko at 10:34 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


...you may not have ever actually seen Chyna when she was in the WWE, but she was one of the least sexualized wrestlers out there

To be fair, the WWF did market an "I'd Rather Be in Chyna" T-shirt.
posted by The Gooch at 10:34 PM on February 17, 2011


I'm not interested in debating the meaning of the word, but please understand that my meaning in the above post was just that: "the belief or attitude that one sex is inherently superior to, more competent than, or more valuable than the other."

Fair enough. The only reason I went there is because, to me, the matter of sexism as an element of culture is really just about the only interesting aspect of this thread. Particularly noteworthy (to me) is how its beneficiaries (men, of course) are largely unaware of it, or turn a blind eye to it. Not making a judgment here or saying how things ought to be...just looking at how things are.

People will look at her and say, "Oh, but she only won because he wouldn't fight her. Everyone knows what would have happened if he had done it."

I'm sure what you've described will go on to some degree, but I think that effect will probably be dwarfed by the conversations that are sparked as a result. "If she would have lost, how did she get so far in the first place?"
posted by perspicio at 10:37 PM on February 17, 2011


Men are stronger than women. It's not just about hormones and their effects on muscular development; men are generally more neurologically efficient as well, meaning a man will tend to be stronger than even a woman with an equal amount of lean mass. It's difficult to imagine women being competitive with men in significant numbers in any kind of heavily strength-dependent competition like wrestling.

I think this episode of Clark and Michael is an insightful take on the issues in play here.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 10:39 PM on February 17, 2011


So, uh, are there any competitive female athlete Mefites who want to weigh in on this? Particularly those who have competed against men? Like, people who actually know something about sports? I ask because maybe we could pull this thing out of its nosedive.
posted by Theodore Sign at 10:41 PM on February 17, 2011


It's difficult to imagine women being competitive with men in significant numbers in any kind of heavily strength-dependent competition like wrestling.

And yet here we are. With a wrestling league full of people who seem to believe that these two women are competitive with men in this strength-dependent competition called wrestling.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:42 PM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


I can't think of ANY sport that is more touchy than wrestling. What sport is more full body contact, with virtually every body part and pit and joint essentially free game? I've been reading a lot of "Well, I fenced against a girl and I didn't have a problem with it!" type comments. I wouldn't have a problem fencing with a girl, or doing virtually any other sport with a girl.

But I might have a problem wrestling with a girl. Grips and holds might be prefaced with a split-second thought "Shit is here OK? I better not grab her there" and so on. Split seconds that might cost you the match. So I totally understand his hesitance.
posted by zardoz at 10:43 PM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


The kids just want to play. Somewhere along the line the kids age and there are hormones.
I have gotten an unsolicited boner more than once via my cat misplacing a paw and several times watching Scooby-Do, nevermind Josie and the Pussycats or wind or gravity or the time-space continuum. Asking a young man who would likely die of fear were he to ask a young woman to dance to not get a boner when in the general proximity of a young woman, let alone when grappling with her is tantamount to asking the sky to stop being blue.

The answer to this is to encourage more female (human) wrestlers where they can have fun and competition. The answer is not to put teenagers in an awkward position to satisfy some notion of equality.

For the record my baby sister was shortstop and pitcher* and the sole girl on her team in Little League because we used to practice after school in the field across the road.

*Those are the skill positions for the "I'm proud to not know about sports" crowd.
posted by vapidave at 10:47 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Deathalicious: "Yes, it's "fake", but IMHO the most badass pro-wrestlers around is probably the fearsome Amazing Kong (who is absolutely charming in person, BTW)."

And coming full circle, Amazing Kong recently signed with the WWE.
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:47 PM on February 17, 2011


"And either we can talk about this or it shouldn't be on Metafilter. If his actions were wrongheaded but that's okay because he's a kid, then fine. But the actions would still be unjustifiable. Or these actions are justifiable and his age irrelevant. But we can talk about what he did and the consequences."

His actions aren't unjustifiable. He doesn't believe that it is right for him to engage violently with a girl, that's his justification. You can argue that it's not a very good justification, or that it's sexist, or that it has negative consequences, but arguing that it's not justified is begging the question.

And if you want to talk about the consequences, then the consequences were exactly correct: He forfeited the match rather than compete in something he didn't believe he could, and the girl who was willing and able to compete won. The remedy for his decision was her victory.

If you'd like to argue that the kid is responsible for furthering sexism, you're going to be forced to concede that his practical impact is pretty low, and that as someone who's in high school (and who evidences a fair chance of being unworldly and sheltered) his judgment is expected to be flawed in many ways, social skills an important one of them.

So, yeah, he made the wrong call, but now everyone within shouting distance knows it, and there's nowhere really else to go with moralizing. Especially not if your audience, MetaFilter, has gone through some of these arguments before, and even more so now that the same arguments have been promulgated in this thread several times.
posted by klangklangston at 10:52 PM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oookay. And now, before I stay up all night for the second time this week, I sleep. And I sleep knowing that Metafilter has a pile of stones ready just in case they ever meet this 16 year old boy.
posted by Night_owl at 10:55 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


It should be noted that the Herkelman's family didn't seem to take offense.

"It's nice to get the first win and have her be on the way to the medal round," Bill Herkelman wrote. "I sincerely respect the decision of the Northrup family especially since it was made on the biggest stage in wrestling. I have heard nothing but good things about the Northrup family and hope Joel does very well the remainder of the tourney."

In the same article, Northrup's dad is quoted as saying, "We believe in the elevation and respect of woman and we don't think that wrestling a woman is the right thing to do."

On principle, I think that's a kind of sexism that is at the opposite end of the spectrum from wife-beating. I.e., putting women on a pedestal and not being willing to compete with them.

Still, I wouldn't assume the problem is a fear of an emasculating defeat. It could well be that the kid just didn't want to be put in a position in which he'd feel compelled to hold back in competition. Physically overpowering a woman is anathema to him. It doesn't mean he's sure he'd win; it could just mean he doesn't want to be put in a position of figuring that out in the middle of a match. So he forfeits--big deal.
posted by torticat at 10:59 PM on February 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


So, uh, are there any competitive female athlete Mefites who want to weigh in on this? Particularly those who have competed against men? Like, people who actually know something about sports? I ask because maybe we could pull this thing out of its nosedive.

I'm not a competitive athlete now, but as a teenager I did tae kwon do and competed in tournaments. Men and women sparred against each other at higher belt levels, because there weren't enough women at the higher levels to separate the competitions, and it was expected that women at higher belt levels weren't delicate flowers even if they were physically weaker than men: they'd trained just the same and had earned their positions.

I never made it past blue belt, so I only ever had to spar in groups with other girls, since there were enough of us to go around. Once, though, a boy showed up late to the sparring tournaments and was placed in my group because we hadn't began yet. I ended up sparring with him first. He was about twice my size. I landed the first hit, a punch to his chest, but it was fairly soft (I was always tentative while sparring because I was worried about hurting my opponents, regardless of their gender -- just a personal disposition) so the judges didn't catch it. He knew I'd hit him, because he could feel my hand on his chest. I was thrown off because I expected something to happen, someone to notice, that he landed a couple of hits on me and I lost.

At the time, I think someone -- I don't remember who, one of my family remembers -- remarked how it wasn't fair that a boy was put in our group like that. I resented his inclusion because of the circumstances, but his being male had nothing to do with me losing. I simply should have thrown a harder punch, and not let things like that shake me. Another girl in the group ended up beating him and winning the trophy.

I'm kind of surprised at all the responses in this thread that have suggested that it's unfair to let boys and girls compete due to physical differences. If a girl wants to compete, that should be respected. If those physical differences make her lose, so be it. I'm not upset at the boy for refusing to compete with her, but at the cultural context he grew up in that makes him think he shouldn't wrestle a girl because of her weakness. She has chosen to be there.
posted by girih knot at 11:07 PM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sexism is discrimination based on gender. Doesn't really matter why.

By that yardstick, everyone who is not straight-down-the middle bisexual is practicing sexism. Separate male and female toilets? Sexist, I should be allowed to use either one if I feel like it - and so on. Could you articulate what discrimination means for you? I presume you meant in a negative context, but this is so open-ended that it can apply to virtually anything.

It bugs me that everyone is dumping on this kid because he chose to drop out and thus let her win (which is always a bit of an anticlimax). You'd think he had demanded she be kicked out of the tournament instead of forfeiting, or wrestled her but groped one of her lady bits in the first round. Actually, some kind of inappropriate sexual groping in a coed wrestling match seems a virtual inevitability, and sooner rather than later. I have a feeling that almost everyone who's condemning this kid for refusal to wrestle will be asserting the existence of an unwritten rule about 'no touch zones' because any unwanted contact of hands and lady bits is a precursor to rape.

By his refusal to participate, the kid's missing out on the chance to be a pioneer and I can well imagine he'll regret it later in some way. But nor is he obligated to participate if doing so would make him feel awful and ashamed. Although his unasked-for protectiveness of women carries a subtext of women being weaker creatures, that's not something entirely confined to his family church either. Men are constantly being reminded of their collective responsibility to prevent violence against women, avoid perpetuating rape culture and so on. Even a homeschooled 16-year old is probably aware that women in the US enjoyed far less autonomy in the recent past than they do today, and that women's physical autonomy must not be compromised - failure to do so can quickly land someone in a heap of trouble. Young men get a lot of mixed signals about how they should behave towards women in general. Even back in the 70s I felt tremendous guilt about my gender inheritance of male oppression and a dominant role in society, while also wondering why any of it was my fault since I hadn't been alive long enough to oppress anyone else.

It doesn't seem to advance equality if we just swap male chauvinism of the past for a sort of reverse variety where women set all the boundaries, move them around to suit their argument, and mock and deride any men who don't wish to play along. I don't mean in society at large - where women are still pursuing simple parity - but in threads like this. Comparisons to wife-beating and willful bigotry trivialize those serious issues. You'd think from reading the comments that he was the new Fred Phelps.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:07 PM on February 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


It doesn't seem to advance equality if we just swap male chauvinism of the past for a sort of reverse variety where women set all the boundaries, move them around to suit their argument, and mock and deride any men who don't wish to play along. I don't mean in society at large - where women are still pursuing simple parity - but in threads like this. Comparisons to wife-beating and willful bigotry trivialize those serious issues. You'd think from reading the comments that he was the new Fred Phelps.

Absolutely. The sorts of actions he doesn't want to take here are actually taboo in other contexts so the idea that just cause the context has changed and the woman is willing that means his brain should immediately flip over is problematic. You can't send a person to prison for several years cause of mechanical behavior X and then have a slight context change and tell them they're idiots because they're engaging cautious in engaging in behavior X. I mean, parsing those distinctions is part of life, but it's not so automatic
posted by the mad poster! at 11:15 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bullshit, wrestle the girl.

If you can't deal with her beating you, wrestle somewhere where that's cool.

/totally had to be beaten on this.
posted by Sphinx at 11:19 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why not have a female division? I watched Metcalf wrestle the year he was 228-0 and I cannot see a female beating someone of his caliber in the field of wrestling. I worked with one of the guys on the team and most would simply not wrestle girls. Forfeiting can also been seen as a form of protest so schools will fund wrestling programs for females. Any anaology to martial arts is not very valid as wrestling is very static.
But the fact remains she is the champ and she deserved it.

and i come from a family with two sisters who had 3 sport letters apiece in High school. (well 2 for elder sister who dropped softball as a senior)
posted by clavdivs at 11:23 PM on February 17, 2011


I don't think I could find fault with a female wrestler preferring to compete with only other women/girls. Would we be calling her a bunch of names if she didn't want to wrestle a similarly skilled male opponent? Maybe only if it was for religious reasons?

If that were the case, the implicit narrative would be that she was afraid of competing with men, or wasn't good enough, no matter what she cited as her reason. In this case, the narrative is that the boy is chivalrous.

To be respected, to be taken seriously, women have to be better than men. Men just have to be as good as other men. That is why this story matters.
posted by kagredon at 11:35 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


you may not have ever actually seen Chyna when she was in the WWE, but she was one of the least sexualized wrestlers out there.

Um, she posed for Playboy and released a sex tape. Although that seems quaint now, that did go slightly beyond the norm for a female wrestler in the late '90s/early '00s, especially one that cultivated a somewhat androgynous (but still quite sexually charged) persona.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:44 PM on February 17, 2011


Wow. This thread totally sucks!
posted by phaedon at 11:46 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I imagine there is not a lot of money and interest for woman's wrestling, but, yeah, that would be the best result of all this.

All sports have arbitrary rules and artificial limitations: weight classes being a close at hand example. If wrestling had no weight classes, then all you'd see would be giant dudes, and some 112 pound phenom who lives, eats, and breathes wrestling would never get a chance to compete. This seems stupid to me. Since women aren't as strong as men, even pound-for-pound, and no amount of training is going to really close the distance (cause the dudes are also doing it, of course) it makes total sense that you just create another division along these same lines and have real competition.

To be respected, to be taken seriously, women have to be better than men. Men just have to be as good as other men. That is why this story matters.

This just isn't going to happen in full contact combat sports like wrestling. I wish it were the case, but it isn't.

Wow. This thread totally sucks!

Yep. Been lurking since Cat-Scan and this one's a real contender.
posted by Theodore Sign at 11:48 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


RE: "mixed" sports, I never understood why there were different classes in bowling. Seriously, women's scores are on a different list than men's scores. Even at the university (I took bowling for a PE class), women made grades based on women's averages, not class averages. I guess maybe men can hurl the ball quicker on average, but does that necessarily predict higher bowling scores?
posted by readyfreddy at 11:52 PM on February 17, 2011


Sex segregation in some sports is pretty silly, granted.
posted by Theodore Sign at 11:56 PM on February 17, 2011


she posed for Playboy and released a sex tape

Yeah, she did, pretty much when she was on the downside of her 15 minutes of fame. For a while though, as mentioned above, she potrayed as a badass. Men who lost to her weren't mocked for losing to a woman, they simply lost to a better wrestler. Anyway, that's pro-wrestling, I guess. Neither here nor there, but yeah, women can wrestle.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:57 PM on February 17, 2011


I respect the kid. Might not agree with him but be bowed out with class and dignity. And I'd definitely worry about, er, 'embarrassment' if I wrestled a girl
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:00 AM on February 18, 2011


Of all the terrible things being said in this thread, the derail that is somehow comparing a female high school wrestler to fucking Chyna the WWE star somehow manages to piss me off the most.
posted by auto-correct at 12:01 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


"...maybe we should be asking why we don't have entire girls' wrestling teams."

Well, there is this [NSFW!].
posted by Jacqueline at 12:04 AM on February 18, 2011


I've already weighed in on this but now there are so many assholes making really stupid comments, I feel compelled to indulge the dark side of my personality and ask, how would we feel if the kid DID wrestle her and just completely annihilated her? Total destruction, not even fair, and maybe even hurt her like knocking her out or dislocating her shoulder, because he didn't hold back and wrestled her as if she were the strongest wrestler he'd ever faced. I bet the kid would feel GREAT about himself for whooping some girl's ass in a competitive sport (not to mention the flak he would get for being too brutal), where if he had done that to her at a party he would've been public enemy number one. So he is a SOPHOMORE in high school and made a difficult choice. Leave him alone.. has everyone forgotten what it's like to be in high school? Or was EVERYBODY here in incredible genius and had all of their opinions figured out and knew what was right and what was wrong in the 10th fucking grade? This thread is the Worst of MeFi, without a doubt.
posted by ReeMonster at 12:05 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Of all the terrible things being said in this thread, the derail that is somehow comparing a female high school wrestler to fucking Chyna the WWE star somehow manages to piss me off the most.

I'm willing to bet that that's kinda-sorta where it all started in the first place. To wit.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:10 AM on February 18, 2011


Well, there is this [NSFW!].

It is deeply tacky for you to link that in the context of what is being discussed here.
posted by dersins at 12:13 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


A wifebeater beats his wife because he does not respect her, he believes women are inferior. This bigot won't wrestle a girl for the same exact reason, even if he hides behind a religious belief.

I disagree. I know that if it were me, I would not want to wrestle a girl in a competitive match, because subconsciously (or perhaps even consciously), I would be worried about hurting her, because I know that I would have a size and strength advantage over her; that alone would make me nervous about going "full speed" with her. Going into a match with that in my head, I think that would already put me at a competitive disadvantage. And no, I don't think women are inferior. I do a little informal BJJ training, and while I might train with a female, I would constantly be thinking of not putting all my strength and effort into it, the same as if I was paired up with someone who was new to the sport. For me, it has nothing to do with women being inferior. Therefore, I think it's reasonable to say that he could be using the same line of reasoning.
posted by KillaSeal at 12:13 AM on February 18, 2011


where if he had done that to her at a party he would've been public enemy number one.

Aaaand the false equivalencies keep on coming!
posted by kagredon at 12:16 AM on February 18, 2011


Aaaand the false equivalencies keep on coming!

Dude I'm just trying to have some empathy and put myself in the mindset of a 10th grader. If he has conflicts about whatever things are influencing him, I think it's perfectly reasonable that he might have those feelings.. "What if she beats me? What if I destroy her? What if people get on my case because I was too rough, or too gentle? What would my parents think? What would my friends think? It makes me uncomfortable to suddenly do something in public that I've been taught for years is a horrible disrespectful thing to do."

I'd be willing to bet this kid doesn't know what false equivalences are. It's quite easy for "MeFi Elite" to pile on this kid. How many 10th graders in the house tonight??
posted by ReeMonster at 12:27 AM on February 18, 2011


I would be worried about hurting her, because I know that I would have a size and strength advantage over her

I also think we shouldn't blame the guy, but I think your argument is a red herring. The girl signed up to wrestle, and there are rules and referees. No one's going to get hurt with girls wrestling guys in the same weight class.

I just think it should be ok, from first principles, that if a teenager doesn't want to grapple with someone of the opposite sex, no one should give them a hard time for it. His reasoning should have nothing to do with it.

I go to a Canadian university, which has got to be one of the most liberal places on the fucking planet. And yet every intramural league still has three divisions: Men's, Women's, and Coed. Apparently there are many MeFites who think this is a travesty of social justice. Maybe I'll start a "coed sports only" petition!
posted by auto-correct at 12:31 AM on February 18, 2011


I'd be willing to bet this kid doesn't know what false equivalences are.

Yeah, but you know what they are. And I would bet that he knows the difference between a sport, (one with rules and safety guidelines that would prevent the frankly weird scenario you lay out), and beating up a kid at a party. I mean, you just did exactly what people were (rightfully) chiding RampantFerret for doing, but while arguing for the opposing opinion.
posted by kagredon at 12:34 AM on February 18, 2011


Could you articulate what discrimination means for you? I presume you meant in a negative context, but this is so open-ended that it can apply to virtually anything.

Yeah, I haven't been very good at making myself clear today. I'll try to focus.

As I see it, sexism is attitudes or beliefs that result in discrimination against a person or group on the basis of gender, by a person or group whose power to do so derives from those selfsame attitudes or beliefs. What I'm really getting at is, it's depriving a person or group of co-equal participation in decisions that affect them even though they're capable of doing so except for the cultural overlay that prevents it.

Given the way this thread has gone, I'd fully expect someone to chime in with, "Well, Northrup's power to decide not to wrestle wasn't gender-based, so how can you call it sexism?" But that's sidestepping the issue (and moreover probably isn't true, ultimately). In this case, we have relevant information about how he made his decision.

Northrup stated that his faith and conscience informed him that it's inappropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. Very well then. We can't kow his conscience, but we can know a fair amount about his faith as a member of Believers in Grace Fellowship in Marion, Iowa. We can quite easily know that it's a non-denominational, non-revisionist, literalist, traditional, conservative, "the end days are upon us", bible-based Christian faith. (Hopefully I don't need to make the case for the cordoning off of women from the halls of power in this world view, though that can certainly be done.) If that is his faith, and his faith is the basis for his decision, and his decision was based on gender, then his behavior was an example of sexism, because of its origins in a world view with critical elements that include...(wait for it)...attitudes and beliefs that result in discrimination against a person or group on the basis of gender, by a person or group whose power to do so derives from those selfsame attitudes or beliefs.

Does that help?
posted by perspicio at 12:35 AM on February 18, 2011


where if he had done that to her at a party he would've been public enemy number one.

Aaaand the false equivalencies keep on coming!


It is entirely relevant to note that we do live in a society where it's generally considered completely unacceptable for men to respond to physical provocation from women in any significant way in situations where responding to the same provocation from a man would be considered fine. If you want to remove that distinction, fine, I'm on board with you. But the reality is - and Ask has the discussions to back it up - that if a woman thinks it's fun to slap, push, or punch you, or does so because she's pissed off, you're the hugest arsehole in the world if you shove her, grab her, or, heaven forbid hit back. That's the social context.

And I can't help but feel adipocere has a point - I wonder how many of the people throwing a shit-fit at him for refusing to wrestle would be throwing a shit-fit about perfectly normal wrestling techniques that involve hands or arms on the breasts or around the genital area as tantamount to sexual assault.

No one's going to get hurt with girls wrestling guys in the same weight class.

My multiply-fractured arm and broken collarbone say you obviously don't have the first fucking clue about martial arts and competition therein. Even with the best of intentions, serious injuries happen.
posted by rodgerd at 12:46 AM on February 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


He did not respect her by refusing to compete. She's an athlete, a competitor, a wrestler. Competitors earn respect through striving, not being placed on a pedestal. He says his actions were motivated out of respect for her as a woman, and I am sure he believes that he showed more respect for her by refusing to wrestle. But he did not. And I'm not saying that for him. I won't be attempting to stone him or protest like Fred Phelps. I'm saying that for the people in this thread who are using sexist arguments to back up his sexism, and that's a lot of people.

Forced gender segregation perpetuates sexism. "Separate but equal" is a myth.

Is this boy's decision responsible for all the sexism in the world, or even in sports? No, of course not. There, straw man dismantled and let us not return to it.

Has this decision, which is on the national stage and up for discussion here and elsewhere, demonstrated a lack of respect for female competitors and provided an opportunity for many people to trot out sexist arguments? Yes, I think so.

Sexist arguments raised in this thread:

1. Women need men to protect them, and it is up to the men to decide when and how that should be.
2. Girls (monolithic entity) can't compete against boys (monolithic entity).
3. Even if these girls could compete, it is better to keep them separate so the boys won't be uncomfortable.
posted by Danila at 12:46 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


3. Even if these girls could compete, it is better to keep them separate so the boys won't be uncomfortable.

This would be a better argument if it wasn't well-accepted that we keep girls separate from boys so the girls won't be uncomfortable. Unless you're proposing abolishing all girls' leagues, as well.
posted by rodgerd at 12:49 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bingo! And #3 is especially prevalent.
posted by perspicio at 12:49 AM on February 18, 2011


This would be a better argument if it wasn't well-accepted that we keep girls separate from boys so the girls won't be uncomfortable. Unless you're proposing abolishing all girls' leagues, as well.

In this wrestling league, girls are not separate from boys, so the argument either way is moot.
posted by perspicio at 12:51 AM on February 18, 2011


Men who lost to her weren't mocked for losing to a woman, they simply lost to a better wrestler. Anyway, that's pro-wrestling, I guess. Neither here nor there, but yeah, women can wrestle.

Not to negate your final clause there but pro-wrestling has as much to do with actual wrestling as Santa Claus has to do with Radio Shack.
posted by vapidave at 12:51 AM on February 18, 2011


There, straw man dismantled and let us not return to it.

Three more to go.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:54 AM on February 18, 2011


I wonder how many of the people throwing a shit-fit at him for refusing to wrestle would be throwing a shit-fit about perfectly normal wrestling techniques that involve hands or arms on the breasts or around the genital area as tantamount to sexual assault.

Well that depends. Are they WRESTLING or is it SEXUAL ASSAULT? This could be a game show. How to tell the difference?

Start with: Sexual assault is sexual assault because of the lack of consent.

Why are you erasing this girl's agency and decision-making by making this comparison?

This would be a better argument if it wasn't well-accepted that we keep girls separate from boys so the girls won't be uncomfortable. Unless you're proposing abolishing all girls' leagues, as well.

Many girls' leagues are more like ghettos, in keeping with who actually has the power advantage in this stratified society. In order to tell the difference just look at the results. Many of the doors that open for men who compete in the "real leagues" are not available for women, who typically won't make as much money and won't garner as much acclaim no matter how good they are. It will always be "Sport" versus "Female Sport".

In this wrestling league, girls are not separate from boys, so the argument either way is moot.


Exactly. My argument is with people who propose separation as a solution to this "problem".
posted by Danila at 12:57 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


By the way, at no point am I saying that Northrup was wrong to do what he did. One's cultural inheritance is a powerful dimension of one's life. He had to choose between two sets of principles, and he did. I totally support his decision. It's not for us to second-guess his quandary and how he handled it. Making those decisions is what informs a person's character, and he is every bit as capable of choosing who to be as Herkelman is.

Three more to go.

Sys Rq, are you saying that those aren't sexist arguments that were made in this thread? Or are you saying something else?
posted by perspicio at 1:04 AM on February 18, 2011


So who or which is preventing the formation of wrestling leagues for young (or adult for that matter) women?
I don't see any men doing this. My wife is busy. My cat is disinterested. I'm lazy.
Please proceed.
posted by vapidave at 1:07 AM on February 18, 2011


Sys Rq, are you saying that those aren't sexist arguments that were made in this thread? Or are you saying something else?

That is exactly what I am saying.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:08 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been struggling with this one, as I can see both arguments. He's a boy, been brought up never to commit violence of any kind against women. He doesn't want to take part in that. It's entirely possible there's an unexpressed desire not to be in close physical contact with a girl on the wrestling mat, with the aforementioned wrestling grapples around the chest and between the legs.

Yet she's his equal in weight class. He should see her just as an opponent who's won the right to face him fair and square. He's looking down on her, refusing to compete on a level playing field.

So I thought - what if the situation was reversed? If a girl wanted to wrestle, but her school told her "Sorry, you're the only girl wanting to compete/there's not enough girls to form a girls league this year. You'll have to compete with boys in your weight class".

She refuses because she's unwilling to get that physically close to boys at that age, even in 'just' a sporting competition, due to her moral and religious upbringing.

I know I'd be standing up and cheering her decision to make her own choices and respect her personal boundaries about her body; and kvetching about how unfair it was she was put in that position against her will. The thought of criticising her for not respecting her male opponents on an equal playing field wouldn't even enter my mind.

So on that basis, good for him. And good for Megan and Cassy, for doing what they want to do, in the way the want to do it. It's unfortunate that Megan didn't get the chance to win outright through her own skill, but I'm not going to condemn him for making his own choice over what he wants to do with his own body.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:08 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know what to think about this but I think his right to freedom of religion trumps her right to wrestle some guy who doesn't want to wrestle. Even if I think it's nuts, I would have kicked her ass.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:11 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry Cassy didn't get the chance to win outright...
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:11 AM on February 18, 2011


Title 9 (a good thing) ensures funding, it doesn't insure interest. Differentiation in interest is not prima facie evidence of sexism.
posted by vapidave at 1:13 AM on February 18, 2011


It is absolutely true that women's divisions don't see as much money and acclaim (or rather that men's sports get too much), and that sucks, but making sports entirely co-ed would be a nice and easy way to practically eliminate female sports professionals. If Tennis were entirely co-ed, you wouldn't know who Serena Williams was.
posted by Theodore Sign at 1:18 AM on February 18, 2011


If he respected them and didn't want to wrestle a female opponent he should have dropped out before the tournament so she could face someone that respected her as a competitor.
posted by the_artificer at 1:20 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


So who or which is preventing the formation of wrestling leagues for young (or adult for that matter) women?
I don't see any men doing this. My wife is busy. My cat is disinterested. I'm lazy.
Please proceed.


I'm not really sure what your point is. Those two girls want to wrestle, and they are doing so. It doesn't appear to me that they feel they need a separate league. Did I miss that part?

I don't know what to think about this but I think his right to freedom of religion trumps her right to wrestle some guy who doesn't want to wrestle.

I think there's probably near-unanimous consensus on that.

making sports entirely co-ed would be a nice and easy way to practically eliminate female sports professionals.

Some people seem to have this notion that sports leagues must either all be coed or all be gender-differentiated. Why is that?

Here's what I think: If the funding is public, it should be inclusive of the public, and tacitly coed even if only one gender is represented. If a few girls want to compete in a league and there aren't enough interested girls to form one, nobody's religious ideology should prevent them from participating in the publicly funded one. If any religious types don't like that, they should form a private league and compete there instead, and stop taking my money.
posted by perspicio at 1:27 AM on February 18, 2011


I wish I could bring some perspective here, from the point of view of either of the wrestlers, but I can only bring my own.

I studied judo when I was in high school. I was about the same age and weight class as these two wrestlers. I grew up in a rural area of the US, over twenty years ago.

Sparring was co-ed and with a lot of ground work: grappling, leg locks, pinning, full contact. It would have been odd in this Judo group of dozens of kids for a boy and girl to decline to spar with each other.

If my hick corner of the US could manage full-contact wrestling without weirdness, two decades ago, I'd think Iowa could manage it now. And it seems that they are, as girls and boys compete against each other in this tournament, and it makes news when one of them elects to forfeit because of the sex of their opponent.
posted by zippy at 1:30 AM on February 18, 2011


I grew up in a rural area of the US, and went to high school over twenty years ago.
posted by zippy at 1:32 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not really sure what your point is. Those two girls want to wrestle, and they are doing so. It doesn't appear to me that they feel they need a separate league. Did I miss that part?

Yes, you missed the part where it is uncomfortable for adolescent boys to wrestle with adolescent girls and that that discomfort is honest, natural, and blameless.
You missed the part where painful adolescent anxiety isn't an appropriate battleground for adult conflicts.
posted by vapidave at 1:57 AM on February 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


If he respected them and didn't want to wrestle a female opponent he should have dropped out before the tournament so she could face someone that respected her as a competitor.

I dont think it would be great to have people drop out on the off chance they might have to wrestle someone of the opposite sex.

Perhaps they should not allow wrestlers to compete at all if they are not willing to wrestle someone of the opposite sex. There also needs to be sanctions against people who forfeit at the last minute, say banned for one one season?
posted by Ad hominem at 2:04 AM on February 18, 2011


Seriously, all this name-calling here is pretty bad.

I think the fact that the kid was home-schooled and christian aren't particularly germane. Yeah, this particular kid explains his reluctance in moral/religious terms, but that's his personal framework. The kneejerk LOLXTIANS crap in this thread is pretty ugly. Honestly, this kid's explanation is a hell of a lot more honest and thoughtful than one would expect from most high school kids. I'm not reading any misogyny in his words.

Frankly, I'm having a difficult time imagining too many high school boys who would be comfortable wrestling with a girl. In competition, that is. It's a all about context, y'know.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:07 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having read this thread, I'm not persuaded to any opinion of any of the potential wrestler's actions, or the results thereof. But I am mightily reminded that no one gets out of high school unscathed.
posted by paulsc at 3:08 AM on February 18, 2011


Man, this thread sucks. And I am beginning to think that it's not just this thread that sucks.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:33 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm a big lad - 6'4" and 220lbs, I've got some experience of fighting and some physical training but I have also been the victim of domestic abuse from a woman who was both shorter and lighter than me. I couldn't bring myself to fight back, even after having a knife or an iron skillet brought into the equation. I'd have done exactly the same thing as he did because I've been told from birth that you just don't hit girls. I don't care how good she is, I would be terrified that I would injure her badly and if that makes me a bigot then so be it. Sorry, I just don't hit girls and I have zero respect for anyone who thinks it's okay to do so, sports or not.
posted by longbaugh at 3:35 AM on February 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I once knew a very conservative woman who told me "Abortion is absolutely morally wrong and I would be guilty of murder if I did it. But I could never force that view on other women." It was a shock to hear that someone could hold such conservative values on the one hand, yet have pluralist values on the other; and I think it's hard sometimes to remember that that is an option.

The final issue is more complicated, by virtue of the fact that he actually said it -- that it's inappropriate for guys to behave violently towards women, even in a voluntary sport. If he were advocating that girls shouldn't be allowed to participate because it is wrong for a boy to do so, that would be paternalism. But since he hasn't advocated that (his final whine can only very obliquely be interpreted as advocating exclusion of females), we're left slicing things pretty thin.

This is a great comment. I think the reason things are 'sliced so thin' here is this kid has done something that is pretty rare these days - he applied his ethical rules to himself. We are so used to hearing "these are my [moral/political/religious] rules and you have to follow them also" that it's weird when someone says "this is not okay for me, but might be for others".

Look: they didn't go to the PTA over it, didn't try to get the girl booted from the league, and didn't oppose making the league co-ed. The guy just said "Nope, it's wrong (for me) to do this" and took his lumps. In that sense this kid and his family are more tolerant and pluralist than the people screaming about bigotry in this thread.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 4:26 AM on February 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


Metafilter: "making shift up", a less subtle logical fallacy
posted by crayz at 4:39 AM on February 18, 2011


Sorry, I just don't hit girls and I have zero respect for anyone who thinks it's okay to do so, sports or not.

But you wouldn't be HITTING GIRLS, you'd be competing with an opponent who happens to be a girl. Would you be concerned about "hitting" your male opponents? I doubt it.

Look, I appreciate that you think the "don't hit girls, ever!" respects women, I do. But it doesn't. The rule should be "don't hit anyone, ever!" and all the various clauses excluding contact sports and self defense and consensual BDSM and what not.

You're not doing me, a woman, any favors by treating me like I'm made of fine china. You're not doing yourself, a man, any favors by treating us like we're made of fine china. I promise.
posted by lydhre at 5:34 AM on February 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


This would be a better argument if it wasn't well-accepted that we keep girls separate from boys so the girls won't be uncomfortable. Unless you're proposing abolishing all girls' leagues, as well.

And further upthread someone asked for the insights of women who'd played competitive sports with men. Hi, I have. Baseball (baseball) in elementary school, until I was told I no longer could in middle school, which hurt both my friends (teammates) and me. So we played baseball (hardball, fast pitch, sometimes without gloves in the field, thankyouverymuch) outside of the official league teams, in our free time.

I also played softball since my parents insisted I give it a try. Couldn't stand it. Ball's too freaking big. Can't throw it as fast overhand. I like throwing overhand, and 25-some years after playing baseball in Little Leagues, I can still throw a hardball further and faster than most men (many of whom were also in Little Leagues but stopped early, thankyouverymuch again). I know softball can get as wild as baseball, but dammit, I prefer baseball, why do I have to prove it and not guys?

In middle school, the only other way I found to play with my guy friends was running long-distance track. I was better than nearly everyone (guys included) up until age 16, when I had to stop due to knee problems. I took up shotput and discus, despite my lack of bulk (I'm tall and thin), but was best at discus, again bettering most guys my age... even though we were, by then, segregated by gender. Genetics, practice, sportsmanships from a young age, dunno, but my upper-body and leg strength were always up at the top; I could bench press and leg press (yes, multiple reps) with the best of them. Won quite a few bets with hot-heads that way.

I also played street touch football (American football, not soccer) as a receiver with my guy friends. Have the scars to prove it - you don't wear protection, y'know. You take a fall on asphalt due to an over-zealous touch and fall, well, that's asphalt, not grass.

To this very day I still occasionally wish I'd been able to continue playing my favorite sport ever, baseball, in league competition with my friends. I tried fighting for it, but no, it wasn't done. So now I teach French people a little of the basics. And whenever I play in pickup games in the US, people quickly change from "awww, a woman, let 'er have a chance at a base" to freaking out because they don't know whether to ball me onto first, knowing I steal bases like a banshee, or risk throwing strikes that I'll hit well enough to put me onto second or third, if not home runs.

I have no idea what point I'm trying to make... well perhaps: Jesus H. Christ it's effing tiresome having to prove something because I was born with XX chromosomes and not XY. Would anyone care about a man with my background? Why does it become relevant for a woman? Meh.

(And cut the poor kid, Joel, some slack. He's young. It's not just his religion that puts this stuff into kids' heads, it's society too — viz. all the girls who want to play baseball and are told they can't, they have to try softball or, gods forbid, T-ball. *urk*)
posted by fraula at 5:44 AM on February 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


Yes, you missed the part where it is uncomfortable for adolescent boys to wrestle with adolescent girls and that that discomfort is honest, natural, and blameless.
You missed the part where painful adolescent anxiety isn't an appropriate battleground for adult conflicts.


I must have also missed the parts where I invoked blame, and the part where it was put to a vote and decided that adolescent anxiety was at the root of this.
posted by perspicio at 5:45 AM on February 18, 2011


While unfortunate, I have to find his speech and way of bowing out of this as respectful. No lawsuits, no bigotry, perhaps some beliefs we dont' agree with - but in this case very respectful and civil.
posted by TravellingDen at 5:57 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


So if a girl gets in my face and shoves me at a bar or something I need to treat the situation exactly like I would if it were a dude (take it outside) because if I don't I'm a discriminating sexist that's treating her differently because she's a woman?
posted by nathancaswell at 6:05 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Depends on who is shoving, is it Natalie Portman or is it Chyna?
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 6:07 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


So if a girl gets in my face and shoves me at a bar or something I need to treat the situation exactly like I would if it were a dude (take it outside) because if I don't I'm a discriminating sexist that's treating her differently because she's a woman?

How's about you don't take it outside when a dude does it either, dude?
posted by lydhre at 6:09 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


So if a girl gets in my face and shoves me at a bar or something I need to treat the situation exactly like I would if it were a dude (take it outside) because if I don't I'm a discriminating sexist that's treating her differently because she's a woman?

Maybe it's worth considering if there are better strategies for dealing with belligerent drunks of either sex than beating on them?
posted by kagredon at 6:10 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's Natalie Portman and she's being really obnoxious and calling me homosexual slurs and keeps saying "what are you gonna do about it?"
posted by nathancaswell at 6:10 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is she trying to steal your cat?
posted by verb at 6:11 AM on February 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Slug her in the gut, obviously
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 6:11 AM on February 18, 2011


Whip out cameraphone, take video, become Youtube celebrity.
posted by kagredon at 6:12 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


major disingenuousness afoot. there are massive taboos in most cultures about men hitting women and waving them away like men don't ever have to worry about them cause it comes under how to treat anybody is just ignoring what we contend with things in life. it's easy academically but the law and the courts of public opinion don't support a neutral take on hitting between sexes like that
posted by the mad poster! at 6:15 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


How's about you don't take it outside when a dude does it either, dude?

Right I forgot this was metafilter and violence is never ever the answer.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:16 AM on February 18, 2011


Right I forgot this was metafilter and violence is never ever the answer.

Hey, it's a strategy that's working out pretty well for me.
posted by lydhre at 6:19 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's easy academically but the law and the courts of public opinion don't support a neutral take on hitting between sexes like that

Human contact is context-dependent; hitting someone in (say) a barfight is not the same as engaging them in a sport, and I feel like this has been reiterated in the thread a whole bunch by now.

Also, coed wrestling isn't this weird unprecedented new frontier. Girls have competed in this tournament before. The other boys in the competition, including those who wrestled the other female competitor, aren't being treated like monsters. I'm not sure why this straw man won't die already, but it should.
posted by kagredon at 6:21 AM on February 18, 2011


My point was strictly regarding the statement that treating someone differently in any way because of gender was diacriminatory and sexist which some semantics crusader was making unthread. Had nothing to do with barfight = wrestling.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:37 AM on February 18, 2011


It's not a strawman cause it's what informs his thinking on the matter. It's not that far a jump because his words express exactly the same value that would apply in the barfight. The idea that the complexity in this modal shift should melt away cause there's a normalization of the different modality within the context of wrestling is appealing to cultural normativity the same way he's appealing to his cultural norms so it's a similarly structured claim. I just think a lot of times appeals to feminist takes on things tend to emphasize structural and psychological texture that isn't obvious from a minimalistic analysis of interactions between abstract agents and here it's being flipped to throw the cultural and psychological baggage out the gate to villainize this guy in an ideal world scenario. To the extent that he's wrong he's a victim of the same structures that make the discrimination persist as much as its perpetrator. The extreme left-brained approach here is just tone-deaf considering it doesn't work in a lot of contexts that men and woman have to negotiate

I think the Damned Pool of Deleted Metatalks should make an exception to chain this thread to the lowest level of Mefi hell too
posted by the mad poster! at 6:37 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Between the subject of the OP, the cadre of commenters calling wrestling inherently homoerotic, and the other cadre suggetsing this kid needed to save himself from a boner, I really can't decide what subtlely hateful doctrine bothers me more.

What is and isn't erotic depends on context. Duh. With perhaps a very few exceptions, very few people find tight-fitting spandex, the smell of disinfectant spray, a literal stadium full of people and having someone pummel their ass into the ground erotic. Straight kids can keep it in their pants. Closeted gay kids can keep it in their pants. Openly gay kids can keep it in their pants. At least until they somehow demonstrate otherwise, can we please provide them at least that presumption?

All that being said, the reasons why anybody hesitates to let a boy and a girl try to immobilize each other for sport are the same reasons why we should hesitate about letting anybody immobilize anybody else for sport.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:39 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was taught to extend that sense of honoring women beyond the family, to the point where I would never hit a woman, for any reason. I would run away first. I wouldn't hit a man without just cause, but if the cause were sufficient (e.g. he hit me), I would.

but this completely ignores context. or would you also refuse to play football or box because it might require you to hit a man who did not hit you first?

I was taught that one of the traditional roles of the male in a relationship was to be the protector and defender of the family.

i've never gotten the selective respect for tradition. it's the modern role of both partners in a relationship to protect and defend the family. i don't get how one would buy into the male traditional role without accepting the complementary tradition that a woman's role is to shut the hell up and do whatever she is told by the man who controls her.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 6:55 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cooties is a real problem and I don't blame the guy for avoiding the chance of getting infected.
posted by Memo at 6:56 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


"i don't get how one would buy into the male traditional role without accepting the complementary tradition that a woman's role is to shut the hell up and do whatever she is told by the man who controls her."

You don't get it? Really? It's just a matter of keeping the good and doing away with the bad. In the South we have a good example: we've kept the traditional food and music of the pre-Civil War South and have done away with the slavery and racism (or are trying to). It's not impossible to keep one tradition while letting others fall by the wayside.

(You may not agree that the traditional male role is good and worth keeping. That's fine, and besides the point. I only claim that if you perceive some traditional roles to still have value it is easy to maintain them without their unappealing counterparts.)
posted by oddman at 7:05 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have Manon Rhéaume's hockey card.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:08 AM on February 18, 2011


Upstream, someone said: So, uh, are there any competitive female athlete Mefites who want to weigh in on this? Particularly those who have competed against men? Like, people who actually know something about sports? I ask because maybe we could pull this thing out of its nosedive.

I fenced. I regularly fenced against men, because there weren't many women fencers. I was also a gymnast. I trained with boys, because my trainer primarily worked with male olympians, but his studio was near me, and he knew my parents, so I got my early training at a facility designed primarily for male gymnasts. Consequently, I had had more upper body development than one normally sees on female gymnasts...because I loved, loved, loved the rings; and really wished that had been an event that women could compete in. It translated well to uneven parallels, but until I was really injured and stopped, my form and style were always described as "explosive, powerhouse, turbo..." and other adjectives generally applied to male gymnasts, much like Mary Lou Retton was described when she competed later.

But I never was much of a team-sport player, and to be honest, didn't want to compete in any sport where anyone was going to touch me.

And as to this wrestling event; I think we may actually be seeing an age/cultural divide. Example; when I was little league age, girls were not allowed to play in the little league. Girls didn't play soccer in the same teams as boys. Girls had softball, boys had baseball. We were also culturally impregnated with the idea that Boys DON'T Hit Girls. Ever. Under any circumstances.

I absolutely understand this kid's position. I think his decision was probably very difficult for him, but was made with no malicious sexism, but instead was based on a world view and morality than is probably radically different than the the younger, secular sophisticate on the Blue.

I think my decade plus posting history here will prove that I'm not only a feminist...I'm a Feminist. I've spent most of my life working for and writing about women's issues. I'm not one to excuse sexism lightly.

But I'm also not one to use the term "sexism" lightly either. I don't see this as a case of personal sexism, so much as I see it as a case of age appropriate gender interaction confusion. There is no "applied" sexism, as the girl wasn't forced to forfeit, she moves up the elimination ladder in the competition.

I dunno. Upstream someone said the boy was in a lose-lose position, and I really think that's true, given the societal and religious environment from which he came.
posted by dejah420 at 7:22 AM on February 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


we've kept the traditional food and music of the pre-Civil War South and have done away with the slavery and racism

food and music are not complementary traditions to slavery and racism; contemporaneity alone does not make them counterparts. the traditional male role exists in concert with the traditional female role--their definitions are intertwined. the male domain of protecting and defending the family does not exist without the corresponding female role of giving up autonomy for the sake of protection.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 7:22 AM on February 18, 2011


Well, it clearly does, at least for some.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 7:25 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean, not to be glib, but traditions change all the time, parts get dropped out and added on constantly. It's not a big mystery.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 7:30 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of surprised at all the responses in this thread that have suggested that it's unfair to let boys and girls compete due to physical differences. If a girl wants to compete, that should be respected. If those physical differences make her lose, so be it.

This was pointed out upthread, but it bears repeating -- this ignores the reality of combat sports, i.e. that there are weight classes for a reason, in order to ensure that one competitor does not have a massive inherent physical advantage. Even if a man faces a woman in the same weight class, he still has that inherent advantage.

The wrestlers in question are an edge case. We're talking about 16-year-olds in the 112-pound weight class. In this particular circumstance, i.e. extremely lightweight adolescents, it's possible that the playing field would actually be much more even. And these girls did get to where they are through legitimate competition. But this situation really can't be generalized to the broader context of physically mature men and women competing against one another, because the playing field there will never be even due to physiology.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 7:33 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I'm kind of surprised at all the responses in this thread that have suggested that it's unfair to let boys and girls compete due to physical differences. If a girl wants to compete, that should be respected. If those physical differences make her lose, so be it."

Anatoly Pisarenko's comments gave me an idea. Would you all find it perfectly acceptable to let a featherweight enter the ring with Mike Tyson? That match would be a bloodbath and the featherweight would be happy to get out of there without significant brain damage.

If we find it conscionable to segregate by physical power in sports like boxing and wrestling (using weight as a proxy for that), why not segregate by gender if it is also a proxy for physical power (which seems intuitively plausible, and is a claim supported by female athletes)? What is the morally significant difference between the two?
posted by oddman at 7:51 AM on February 18, 2011


Oddman, whoever organized the Iowa State Wrestling championship clearly believed that the two women in the tournament were a match for their male competitors, weight and skill wise, otherwise they wouldn't have a) qualified, b) been allowed to compete.

Can we please drop the freaking strawmen about featherweights fighting Mike Tyson?
posted by lydhre at 7:54 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tyson would never fight a strawman. He'd fight a cornman for sure. Then he'd bite it's ear off.

I should be so fucking ashamed that I even made that joke...
posted by longbaugh at 7:57 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


But, rightly or wrongly, it seems that the boy who declined to wrestle did so not on the basis that he thought this particular girl could not be competitive with him, but on the basis that he has been brought up to believe in the general principle that men and women cannot reasonably compete in a sport like wrestling. And, in general, that is correct.

How that general principle can be squared with the specific case of lightweight 16-year-olds, where the competition might be reasonable, is a legitimate question. But I don't think the boy can necessarily be faulted for the principle under which he was operating.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 8:02 AM on February 18, 2011


but on the basis that he has been brought up to believe in the general principle that men and women cannot reasonably compete in a sport like wrestling.

I agree with your overall point, but I think the boy's principle is that it's immoral for men to physically compete with women - regardless of physical prowess - which is different.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 8:10 AM on February 18, 2011


Actually on rereading what he said I'll retract that.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 8:12 AM on February 18, 2011


I do not compete professionally, but I do train, wrestle and box with mostly men. And some of the guys I train with are good and some of them suck, but none of them have to justify being in the ring. None of them have to be awesome at what they do, and I don't want to have to be awesome at what I do in order to be able to play with the boys, or the girls, or whoever. Plenty of dudes suck and get a free pass because they are dudes.

I don't want to be an awesome wrestler or to kick anybody's ass in real life or to be the best at the gym. I train the way I do because it is fun and because it is a terrific workout. I do not compete, I only spar (or "roll" as they say) and in these training exercises I think I've only won against another opponent once. He was thirteen and about my size, and not very good. But nobody would ever tell him not to wrestle because he's small or weak. Why do I have to justify what I like to do just because I have tits? I lose all the time, but so do plenty of men. Why does that matter?

I should be able to wrestle against whoever I want just because I want to, like men do. And if by some wild twist of fate I get better and want to compete, I should have the same opportunity as men who aren't very good. I want the free pass they have.

And if you have fought in the ring and fought in an actual real-life fight, you know that these two things are not the same. At all.
posted by santaslittlehelper at 8:13 AM on February 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


Hundreds of comments in and nobody's brought up the fact that maybe this wasn't the boy's decision? I absolutely would have been coerced into forfeiting and perhaps making some sort of statement if I were in his position at his age and had already managed to at least partially free myself from the brainwashing.

Thinking back, as a "Modern" Orthodox Jew at his age, I'm pretty sure I would have felt damn uncomfortable wrestling a girl. If it had been solely up to me, I think that I might have dismissed my discomfort as irrational and gone through with it, but given the fact that both my parents and probably everybody I knew would have literally forbade me to do it, I think I probably would have made the same choice. Hell, at the first COLLEGE I went to (Yeshiva University) I witnessed a male wrestler take a forfeit instead of competing against a woman and I remember thinking that kinda sucked for her, but I didn't blame the guy for doing something wrong, per se.

Today, having become an atheist and having really thought about these issues, yeah, I'd say it's wrong to refuse to compete against women, but I still wouldn't blame a HOMESCHOOLED TEENAGER for not standing up to everybody he knows and everything he's ever been taught to take a stand in this particular scenario. He's depriving a competitor a chance to compete -- it's wrong, but it's not domestic violence wrong or even bullying a peer wrong.

I hope this experience causes him to start (or continue!) questioning the things he's been taught and that he one day comes to realize he made a bad decision, but that it wasn't really his fault.
posted by callmejay at 8:20 AM on February 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


To me, Joel Northrup knew he could be going up against female wrestlers when he signed up and agreed to the rules that said they are allowed to compete, so it's hard to find any sympathy for him suddenly changing his willingness to compete with one. If he truly had a religious objection to female-male wrestling, the correct time to object was before he signed up and agreed to treat them with respect (here I'm assuming the Iowa wrestling organization has a 'code of conduct' that they require all athletes to agree to, since I've never seen a sport that didn't have one, even if it was ignored).


I wonder at how closely people who object to this woman's choice to wrestle also believe that women shouldn't be allowed to control their bodies vis a vis abortion. It seems like if you don't respect women enough to let them decide what risks are acceptable to them in a 'mere' sport, you'll probably hold the same view in more important matters.
posted by nomisxid at 8:22 AM on February 18, 2011


I feel like the "men are not supposed to hit women" lesson most males are taught is not being given enough weight in this discussion.

It's hard to know what's appropriate sometimes. When I was 16, I was once thrown out of my house. I've never done I violent thing in my life. It was about a month into summer vacation, around 11am, and I had a job interview coming up that afternoon. I was reading the paper on the sofa when my mother came up and started with the "you need to go out and drop off interviews, why are you not out looking for a job?" after explaining a couple of times that I had an interview in a couple of hours and this apparently not registering, I folded up the paper and slammed it down on the sofa out of frustration, looked her in the eye, and shouted "I have an interview this afternoon! I'm going to read the paper, get ready, and go!" I was then thrown out of the house. I later found out my own mother felt threatened and scared by my reaction that day, because I am a large man and I was angry.

I know this isn't the context of a wrestling match with weight classes, but Metafilter is a site where men can learn that merely trying to strike up a conversation with a woman in public is potentially threatening and inappropriate. There are different rules for boys, and at 16 you're less aware of what they are than you are as an adult, where the rules are still not clear a lot of the time. The "men should not be violent/threatening/etc towards women" rule isn't just some self-imposed chauvenistic thing, it's ingrained and it's taught to boys early by the women and men that raise them. It can be hard to turn off, even in the context of sports. I would expect a little more civility and understanding for this boy's decision here which could not have been easy.
posted by Hoopo at 8:28 AM on February 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


nomisxid: "I wonder at how closely people who object to this woman's choice to wrestle also believe that women shouldn't be allowed to control their bodies vis a vis abortion. It seems like if you don't respect women enough to let them decide what risks are acceptable to them in a 'mere' sport, you'll probably hold the same view in more important matters"

You're not seriously saying that people who understand why a teenage boy might be uncomfortable wrestling a teenage girl are therefore anti-abortion? Talk about your giant leaps of logic.

I may have missed it, but I haven't seen any arguments from Mefites suggesting that the girl shouldn't be allowed to compete. Nobody is saying that the girl should be forcibly enrolled in Home Ec so she says far, far away from those dirty boys and their sweaty spandex. Nobody is even suggesting that her competing is unfeminine. What some of us have said is that we understand how a teenage boy would be uncomfortable touching a teenage girl in this particular scenario.

An argument, mind you, which has NOTHING to do with controlling the actions, activities or freedoms of the girl.

You do yourself, your argument, and the prochoice movement a disservice with your implications.
posted by dejah420 at 8:35 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder at how closely people who object to this woman's choice to wrestle also believe that women shouldn't be allowed to control their bodies vis a vis abortion.

Alternately, how many people who object to this boy's choice not to wrestle a girl believe that a woman should be allowed to control her own body.
posted by verb at 8:36 AM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am a woman and I fight both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA. Not professionally or anything, but as a serious hobbyist.

First. He knew women were going to be fighting at that tournament. That kind of information flies around a competition faster than you can imagine. The very first thing you want to know when you know you are going to be fighting a match is 'who am I fighting' and in Iowa, they damn well would know if they were going to fight a woman. I'm willing to bet that is why his response was pretty well crafted.

Second - The reason they don't have a women's division is because there just aren't enough of them to make a whole division. You think it's frustrating to have one guy in your weight class bow out? Imagine only having 5 people in your division, of all different weight classes and skill levels and you have to fight because there is no other choice? Happens to me all the time. I was placed in a division of weights from 110 to 210 and skill levels from white to black. Only 5 women. Is that more or less fair than putting me in a correct weight division with men?

Because of all of the attitudes given above in the thread, I bet you can imagine why most women aren't interested in competing in this type of sport. From birth we are fed bullshit gender information on how we are not supposed to roughhouse, don't hit, be demure, avoid fights, wear pink and so on. We don't usually spend a lot of time wrestling around with other girls. We aren't socialized to be physical in a competitive way. Then, if we are, we have to deal with all the bullshit gender crap that boys have to go through.

However, for the girls and women that do choose to participate - they are fast, they are strong, they are skilled. In fact, they often get better skill-wise than men and get that way faster because they can't rely on strength. They may spend the first 6 months in a new sport being smashed, but if they hang in there (another reason many women don't do this) suddenly they are able to defeat men as large as them or larger who have less skill. Skill is a real thing yall and can negate some of that 'stronger bigger' advantage the men have going on.

As far as the decision not to fight - this is a big topic of conversation among women who do full contact fighting sports. Some of the women have as much of an issue fighting a man as some men do fighting a woman. There are a ton of reasons why one gender might not want to fight another gender. I will echo the 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' stated above. Many men feel this way. This isn't that surprising given the gender roles they have been taught. I know a LOT of men I have fought with that would seriously rather break their arm than tap to me. Maybe he was scared of an erection. I don't care - bottom line to me is this (and this applies to all competitors regardless of gender):

It's his body - he can do or not do whatever he wants with it. Just like this is my body and I choose to fight. It makes me happy, healthy and strong. No one should be allowed to force either of us to do otherwise.
posted by jopreacher at 8:44 AM on February 18, 2011 [23 favorites]


I also find it interesting that the consensus here is that the reason this adolescent boy refused to wrestle a an adolescent girl (forgive my misogynistic hateful grammar or something) is due to his sheltered upbringing and age. I'm 29 and I would feel a probably feel a uncomfortable bit doing this. I know that some men box with women, but that's not for me. It's already been so eloquently set forth above, but culture plays a big part this thing, like it or not. I once got into a huge fight with my girlfriend and out of anger shoved her back after she shoved me. Never heard the end of that one. I can't imagine trying to completely dominate a woman physically in a wrestling ring (whether in a sportslike setting or not).
posted by gagglezoomer at 8:49 AM on February 18, 2011


When I was in my last mandatory gym class at age 14, the boys got to do wrestling and we didn't. I was so pissed off -- I had been looking forward to it, knowing that finally here was a sport where being 30lbs heavier and being relatively strong and flexible would benefit me -- and I could pin all those annoying skinny jock girls. I'd play wrestled with my dad and my brother for years, and so wanted to learn how to do it properly.

Had they included wrestling as part of the girls' curriculum, maybe I wouldn't have dropped gym the first time I could.
posted by jb at 9:06 AM on February 18, 2011


That's a good point about his well crafted response being a clue that he knew he would be matched up with a woman, jopreacher. I hadn't considered that kind of information "flying" around the competition quickly either, but it makes sense. Here I was thinking that women wrestling at this level was rare enough that he could not have reasonably expected to face a woman even though the rules permit it. If he knew ahead of time, why check in just to bow out?

I play squash, a no contact sport, in the local league and tournaments. I have no trouble playing women and in fact about half of my regular squash partners are women. I'll regularly get beaten by both men and women (Or sometimes, boys and girls. Those juniors improve so damn fast!). I've got no problem with it, but there's definitely some sexism (and ageism) surrounding the sport even though it's no contact. Men will make sexist comments about losing to a girl. Some adults will refuse (or agree reluctantly) to play children even though they're at the same skill level. I'm seeing this decline lately though, which is nice. It definitely helps that a couple of the up and coming teenage players are girls and could soundly beat most men in the club.
posted by ODiV at 9:07 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


but I haven't seen any arguments from Mefites suggesting that the girl shouldn't be allowed to compete.


St Alia said it

"I think that men and women have no darned business wrestling with each other. "

My response was primarily focus on that attitude that women are too weak and we must protect them from making the 'poor decision' to wrestle. I in no way denied that the boy might feel uncomfortable about the wrestling, but I repeat that the time to make that objection was when he signed up, not when he was confronted with it. One is a principled stand for beliefs, the other is being an opportunist.
posted by nomisxid at 9:17 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


his well crafted response being a clue that he knew he would be matched up with a woman,

Or, maybe he just figured "I will wrestle guys and forfeit if I have to wrestle a girl." No conspiracy or even much forethought needed.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 9:31 AM on February 18, 2011


Also, the comments to the first article indicate that Northrup has declined to wrestle with girls before; so this was no surprise for any of the parties involved here.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 9:38 AM on February 18, 2011


Yeah, sorry. Should have said "possible clue". I hope it's pretty obvious I'm just speculating.
posted by ODiV at 9:38 AM on February 18, 2011


Right, I was too; but there's some additional interesting facts buried in the comments on that first article.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 9:41 AM on February 18, 2011


The girl signed up to wrestle, and there are rules and referees. No one's going to get hurt with girls wrestling guys in the same weight class.

Really, auto-correct? you mean to tell me that just because they are in the same weight class, they would be evenly matched in terms of strength? I can almost guarantee that this boy is stronger (and probably much more so) that her. And yes, there are rules and referees, but that doesn't mean that you can't get hurt, particularly if one opponent has a sizable strength advantage over the other. I still think that it could have been a legitimate concern for the boy, or maybe even his coach and/or parents. Perhaps they advised him that this was an option, and he decided to take it.
posted by KillaSeal at 9:49 AM on February 18, 2011


My point here is I'm noticing a disturbing trend, and won't put up with anything, large or small, that contributes to the trivialization of women in my country.

Equating sexism with bigotry and equating bigots with wife-beaters is trivializing the issues that women face in this country.
posted by desuetude at 9:52 AM on February 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can't believe that people keep making the huge generalization that because she is female, she is weak. Okay, we can agree that ON AVERAGE, men are stronger than women. But that is a huge bell curve that contains the whole human race. Are you telling me that even the far outliers in the female curve are still weaker than the average male? Of course not. She has been training for her entire life. It is possible that she is better than any of the men in her weight group, likely even, since she WON the damn tournament. So can we please stop with the "women are weaker, they have no place competing, they will get hurt" bullshit. Because it is. Bullshit.
posted by domo at 10:03 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


> I called him a bigot. He IS a bigot because his actions show that he holds bigoted views

Are you absolutely sure you want to pull out the bigot card? Because what the male wrestler did was not even a tiny bit bad or wrong for any reason, and so to call it bigotry is equivalent to saying there can be and are instances of bigotry that are not even a tiny bit bad or wrong for any reason. And you may not want to say that. (If you do, of course, go for it.)
posted by jfuller at 10:06 AM on February 18, 2011


UPDATE: she lost both her matches after her initial "win". The other girl (Megan Black) was eliminated Thursday after losing both of her matches.

Also, she (Cassey Herkelman) lost her first match 5-1 on points, and lost her second match by pinfall.
posted by KillaSeal at 10:21 AM on February 18, 2011


Three comments:

1) People get hurt wrestling all the time, and while weight classes do serve to mitigate that somewhat, wrestling is still pretty dangerous. The differences in male-female physiology do increase the risk of injury. I do believe this is the girl's call to make, though.

2) Regarding the anti-violence in general, I think that women don't always understand that the context of casual male violence that they're often placed in applies to men too, though individual circumstances are different. That feeling of having to be on guard when surrounded by strangers that could really hurt you? Men feel that too, and it's unfortunately kind of normalized. Think about all of those "How many here have been sexually assaulted?" hand-raise questions and realize that a roughly proportional number of male hands would go up if the question was just "assaulted." This is sort of a derail from the original post, but I think that some folks here — primarily women — would empathize more if they thought about that similarity a little bit more. I'm a big, burly guy, and I still have to be on guard far more often than I'd like. And, frankly, unless the woman has a weapon, I'm just not going to have that on guard feeling for more than, like, one percent of them. Whereas, in general, probably about a tenth of guys raise my "OK, if this turns ugly, what am I going to do?" defenses.

This does play into how casual I am with physical contact — I've really hurt guys before, accidentally while horsing around. I have a hard time playing with children because I really have to hold everything back and I'm desperately afraid of seriously injuring them, or maybe even killing them, and I'm not even proportionately that strong, I'm just big and clumsy.

So, yeah, there really is a practical difference in the mean, and I also have my mother's voice in the back of my head telling me that if I ever hit a girl, she'd kill me.

3) When I was in high school, the Huron wrestling team used to specifically recruit really skinny, wiry guys to compete in the lowest weight classes because it was pretty regular that other schools wouldn't have someone to wrestle them, and they'd take the forfeit win. Those guys all understood that they were helping the team just as much by getting those wins as they were by wrestling.
posted by klangklangston at 10:26 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wrestled in Jr. High and High School in Illinois from 1994-1996. ( I stopped wrestling before my junior year - I only got ringworm twice but my older brother got impetigo from the mats, gross). I had one match against a girl in a tournament when I was around this weight class. It was nerve-racking at the time - but up until today, I had completely forgotten about it. Of course, it was just a regular regional tournament, not the prestigious state tournament that is mentioned in the article. Girls competing in traditionally boy's high school athletic sports isn't all that new.

As many of the folks who have posted upthread about martial arts can attest, strength can be important in the sport but it is by no means the most important factor. I'd probably put speed and balance as more important skills.
posted by cnanderson at 10:33 AM on February 18, 2011


This was pointed out upthread, but it bears repeating -- this ignores the reality of combat sports, i.e. that there are weight classes for a reason, in order to ensure that one competitor does not have a massive inherent physical advantage. Even if a man faces a woman in the same weight class, he still has that inherent advantage.

Yeah, and as you say, they were in the same weight class. Should we not let a boy with a higher body fat percentage compete because he will be at an inherent advantage in his weight class? She's chosen to be there. She knows the risks of injury. It's hard to explain why this attitude of "but she's weaker, she's a girl," feels really demeaning and insulting.

I appreciate that you guys have to grow up having "don't hit women" ingrained in your heads, but this is athletic competition. It's consensual, there are rules, there are referees. Refusing to compete with a woman because she is a woman is disrespectful to her. How would you feel if a competitor refused to wrestle with you because he thought you were so weak he might hurt you?
posted by girih knot at 10:45 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


From birth we are fed bullshit gender information on how we are not supposed to roughhouse, don't hit, be demure, avoid fights, wear pink and so on. We don't usually spend a lot of time wrestling around with other girls. We aren't socialized to be physical in a competitive way.

This is not universal. From what I hear and see on YouTube, lots of girls are hitting each other and getting into physical fighting at school. Also, anger management is a good thing. It's better to not hit for both sexes or express your anger physically. It's wrong and unhealthy.
posted by anniecat at 10:47 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, I was brought up in a culture that encouraged virtually no socialization between girls and male non-relatives, and if he doesn't want to wrestle a girl or do mandatory social dancing in junior high gym class, he shouldn't have to.
posted by anniecat at 10:54 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


How would you feel if a competitor refused to wrestle with you because he thought you were so weak he might hurt you?

Relieved? Grateful? Insulted, sure, but a bruised ego is better than a bruised body.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:00 AM on February 18, 2011


Relieved? Grateful? Insulted, sure, but a bruised ego is better than a bruised body.

OK, but what if you thought you were on par with that competitor skill-wise? What if you were sure that you had trained to the point that you were fair competition for them? Imagining myself in that position doesn't give me any sense or relief or gratitude.
posted by girih knot at 11:03 AM on February 18, 2011


sense of relief or gratitude*
posted by girih knot at 11:04 AM on February 18, 2011


The girls cheerleading at this event have a far greater chance of being severely injured due to their sport than the girls participating in the wrestling.
posted by kagredon at 11:06 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a woman, I'm pro-choice, I'm agnostic, I support these young women in their desire to wrestle AND I support the choice of the young man not to wrestle. These are all choices they made, and have the right to make.

I have sons, and I am trying to raise them to be respectful of others. I tell my sons, "Never hit a woman." Why? Because that's what I believe is the smartest way for them to behave in the real world, not just because of the whole notion of chivalry. My younger son is already over 6 ft tall and could really hurt a girl without meaning to. Could he also hurt a guy? Absolutely. But even if he were provoked, he would be MUCH more likely to be in trouble legally if he were to strike a girl or a woman.

But this is even further complicated by the fact that there are some girls who will--this blows my mind but it happens in their high school--punch guys in the stomach because they know they will not be hit back. That's insane. My oldest son is like, no way they are going to do that to me, I'll hit them back. That bothers me. But do I want him to be hit because of chivalry? No. So what do I do?

For those arguing, rightly, that we don't want sexism, that means that parents should be raising their girls to respect boys as well. Many comments in this thread seem to denigrate this boy who refused to wrestle based on nothing but conjecture. Anyone doing the same to a girl in this position would be drummed out of here, and rightly so.
posted by misha at 11:08 AM on February 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


I was in a position as a young lad in a judo competition (maybe 9 or 10 years old) where for some bizarre reason, my little white belt ass had to go up against a 13 or 14 year old green belt guy. He didn't want to go against me because I only knew 3 moves and he towered over me. Eventually we were both talked into having the match, and he took it easy on me because he was very uncomfortable and I was scared--he was talking to me instead of attacking or defending. Eventually I just went for it and swept his legs out and pinned him. Won the match. And I would have still been absolutely fine with it if he had backed out for fear of hurting me.

Anyways, I think the "men shouldn't hit girls" thing might be hard for some of the women here to understand in the same way it's hard for some men to understand that trying to chat someone up can be scary to them. Men and boys are taught this young and many of us have some memory growing up of hurting a female friend or sibling as children because of "not knowing our own strength" or whatever. It doesn't just turn off easily for some of us, sport or no. It's nothing personal and calling someone sexist or worse over it is insensitive.
posted by Hoopo at 11:18 AM on February 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


My wife boxed in high school; all of her opponents were boys. She tells me there were a few who were apparently reluctant to fight a girl. They tended to overcome their qualms after she punched them in the face a couple times.
posted by nickmark at 11:27 AM on February 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


From birth we are fed bullshit gender information on how we are not supposed to roughhouse, don't hit, be demure, avoid fights, wear pink and so on. We don't usually spend a lot of time wrestling around with other girls. We aren't socialized to be physical in a competitive way.

This is not universal. From what I hear and see on YouTube, lots of girls are hitting each other and getting into physical fighting at school. Also, anger management is a good thing. It's better to not hit for both sexes or express your anger physically. It's wrong and unhealthy.

True - and a woman's likelihood to be more 'socialized' in rough play goes up if she has a ton of brothers, but I'd say, on average, the message is for women NOT to engage in this type of behavior.

As far as the 'it's wrong and unhealthy' - that is your opinion. There is merit to being able to be comfortable in physical co0nfrontation. There is also merit in martial (re: combat) sports as recreation.

Am I saying you should go out and randomly assault people? No. But there is much much more to combat arts than 'OMG violence is BAD!'
posted by jopreacher at 12:25 PM on February 18, 2011


I can't believe that people keep making the huge generalization that because she is female, she is weak. Okay, we can agree that ON AVERAGE, men are stronger than women. But that is a huge bell curve that contains the whole human race. Are you telling me that even the far outliers in the female curve are still weaker than the average male?

That's not the point. A given competitor might be stronger than another despite being in a lighter weight class, but the rules would preclude them from competing against one another, even though it might be a fair fight in their specific instance. Rules are made to apply to the majority of situations, not to individual ones. Now, the rules of this tournament did in fact allow girls to compete with boys; however, the boy in question was taught the rule that men shouldn't wrestle women, and that seemingly determined his decision. We can say he erred in not making an exception to his principle because it didn't apply to this particular situation, but it is a valid principle in the majority of situations.

Yeah, and as you say, they were in the same weight class. Should we not let a boy with a higher body fat percentage compete because he will be at an inherent advantage in his weight class?

I'm saying that weight classes are insufficient to control for the strength differential between men and women. Weight classing is a very rough practical way of leveling the playing field. Two men in the same weight class can be reasonably expected to have similar levels of strength, although in practice there are many factors that can lend an advantage to one or the other, and that's what makes competition interesting. A man and a woman in the same weight class cannot be reasonably expected to possess similar levels of strength. Some women will be as strong or stronger than some men of equivalent bodyweight, but in physically mature individuals at anything like a serious level of competition, this will be a very small minority.

Powerlifting is about as pure a strength sport as you can find, and it is weight classed, but you'd never have men and women competing against one another in the same weight class because the women would almost never be competitive.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 12:41 PM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


As far as the 'it's wrong and unhealthy' - that is your opinion. There is merit to being able to be comfortable in physical co0nfrontation. There is also merit in martial (re: combat) sports as recreation.

The original comment to which you are responding said: Also, anger management is a good thing. It's better to not hit for both sexes or express your anger physically. It's wrong and unhealthy., so I believe it referred to violence as an expression of anger, and doesn't apply to organized athletic competitions.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:43 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fair enough MW - that's just not really what the thread is about. I'll admit this thread touched a nerve. We don't do gender issues very well and this thread is all gender issues and combat sports slammed together - two of my pet peeve subjects.

My other pet peeve is the idea that if you can't be 'the best' at something you just shouldn't do it at all. Or if you can't compete at the top level you should just quit. The whole 'women are weaker than boys so they should just not play with them at all'. That's bullshit.

The only way anyone got to be the best at anything wasn't just because they were bigger, or stronger, or more talented. It was because they loved it enough to keep doing it - more than most people. That's how the best become the best.

Beyond 'the best'- there are people that do things because they love them. So what if they aren't the best at it? So what if I will never be able to defeat the 240 lb purple belt at my gym? I should just go home? My sport is like chess with my body and I love it. The people I fight with love it. We do it week in and week out without regard to who is stronger or in what weight class or is what gender. We don't care. We are just there because we love it.

Ok sorry. Done now.
posted by jopreacher at 1:18 PM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


We don't do gender issues very well

Is this just a nice way of saying "not enough people agree with me"? I can't think of an online community that does gender issues better, and that includes Jezebel and their ilk.
posted by nasreddin at 1:24 PM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is this just a nice way of saying "not enough people agree with me"?

I think it's more like "A few people are resorting to trollish hyperbole to advance their point, so Metafilter doesn't do that thing well."

One thing about this makes me wonder. This girl, she managed to work her way up through the tournament, correct? That means she must have wrestled with other males along the way, correct? Perhaps she actually is a really good wrestler, and it would have been a fair match?
posted by JHarris at 1:50 PM on February 18, 2011


It was the first match of that weight class, and she lost the next 2 and was eliminated from the tournament. It's also the first time in 85 years that women have participated in that tournament for anyone paying attention.

But as jopreacher points outr, none of this means Herkelman shouldn't have been there.
posted by Hoopo at 1:56 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


One thing about this makes me wonder. This girl, she managed to work her way up through the tournament, correct? That means she must have wrestled with other males along the way, correct? Perhaps she actually is a really good wrestler, and it would have been a fair match?

Her record up to that point for the season was, I believe, 20-13. His was 35-4. She had a fighting chance but wasn't considered a serious opponent for him. She lost the rest of her matches and his tournament record was 1-2. Neither placed.
posted by Theodore Sign at 3:01 PM on February 18, 2011


Going 20-13 against dudes in a highly competitive wrestling state like Iowa, though, means she is damn good, skills and heart wise, but I don't think anyone is disputing that.
posted by Theodore Sign at 3:02 PM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


> I appreciate that you guys have to grow up having "don't hit women" ingrained in your
> heads, but this is athletic competition. It's consensual, there are rules, there are
> referees.

Considerations like "this is only sports" are nothing, just nothing, compared to "don't hit woman, don't hurt a woman." If a man is able to put "don't hit women" aside for any justification (let alone a justification as trivial as "oh, it's just sports") he is significantly closer to being able to put it aside when he and his wife are arguing in the kitchen. Guys who say "Oh, that would never happen to me, my subconscious is always uncontrollably ethical" are kidding themselves.


> Refusing to compete with a woman because she is a woman is disrespectful to her.

I wrestled in high school and college. It was not just a contest of skill and strength; it was also a contest of tolerance of pain. Of course my opponents were trying to make me hurt; all the better to make me give up and want to quit.

OK, so now I'm a wrestler approaching a match against a woman. If I do something that might (arguably, though it's a comical overreach) be interpreted as failing to show proper respect--that's somehow more distasteful than purposely setting out to overwhelm her with strength and make her hurt? Because that's exactly what full-contact sports are about. They aren't a nice game of chess. That is why full-contact competition between males and females is inappropriate, and it has zero to do with boners. It simply encourages an attitude toward women on the part of the male competitors that will propagate to other areas of life and that no sensible person wants to encourage.

ObReferences:

ScienceDaily - High School Football, Wrestling Athletes Suffer Highest Rate Of Severe Injuries

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Report - Sports-Related Injuries Among High School Athletes U.S. 2005--06

Am. J Sports medicine - Epidemiology of Severe Injuries Among United States High School Athletes 2005-2007

Orthopedic Nursing - Wrestling Injuries
posted by jfuller at 3:44 PM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, and re: strength vs. wrestling? Strength is important but way down the list of important things in wrestling, such as quickness, takedowns, knowledge, and leverage.

The only match I ever won in high school was against a huge farm boy who had stripped off every ounce of fat from his muscular frame to get down to 129. I mean like you could see the individual muscle fibers. I was wrestling 122 as a second-string and our 129 first-string guy didn't make weight, so the coach put me in at 129 (gah!). The guy was strong as an ox, but he didn't really know wrestling that well. I pinned the guy in 5:55. How did I do it? I knew a hold that he couldn't break with just strength and he didn't know how to break it. This was 43 years ago, and I think the hold is illegal in competition now.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:46 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


If a man is able to put "don't hit women" aside for any justification (let alone a justification as trivial as "oh, it's just sports") he is significantly closer to being able to put it aside when he and his wife are arguing in the kitchen.

I don't see a cite for this in your ObReferences links.
posted by the_artificer at 4:25 PM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


We don't do gender issues very well.

Is this just a nice way of saying "not enough people agree with me"?


No. Actually, that wasn't fair. Most communities, online and off don't do gender issues well. So, on the average - you are probably right that we do better than most. But the thread in particular I was thinking about was the one on non-gender bathrooms.

Safe2Pee

It's kind of like how we do weight-issues threads.

That is why full-contact competition between males and females is inappropriate, and it has zero to do with boners. It simply encourages an attitude toward women on the part of the male competitors that will propagate to other areas of life and that no sensible person wants to encourage.

You say this, but then all your links are about injury, not about increasing the probability that a man will hurt a woman outside of a competitive environment.

The danger to injury argument is silly. It's dangerous to get in your car everyday, but many people do that instead of safer alternatives.
posted by jopreacher at 4:42 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


If wrestling a girl would make a boy more likely to hit women, then I guess I can't see any reason that wrestling another boy wouldn't make him more prone to violence against men. And in that case, we should probably just ban the sport altogether. Kids shouldn't participate in activities that promote violence.
posted by craichead at 4:51 PM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


then I guess I can't see any reason that wrestling another boy wouldn't make him more prone to violence against men

I don't agree that wrestling women would make men more likely to hit them in other contexts, but experience tells me jocks do indeed like to kick some ass. You don't get a wedgie from the chess club.
posted by Hoopo at 5:06 PM on February 18, 2011


Knowing a few men who fight MMA/Pankration, I have heard it said on several occasions that they are very, very, very reluctant to get into any sort of physical confrontation with some fuckwit who is looking for a fight, simply because if something went wrong, or it got as far as cops and court, it would look so very, very bad for them as they are trained fighters.

So this argument about 'if they do MMA they are more likely to bash people' is somewhat suspicious to me. Yes, there are your Tito Ortiz's of this world, but a cock like that would beat on a woman even if he worked in a pencil factory.
posted by gerls at 10:08 PM on February 18, 2011


I absolutely understand this kid's position. I think his decision was probably very difficult for him, but was made with no malicious sexism [emphasis mine]

This.

But I'm also not one to use the term "sexism" lightly either. [Agree.] I don't see this as a case of personal sexism, [emphasis mine; Agree.] so much as I see it as a case of age appropriate gender interaction confusion. [Er...um? Possibly a factor, but invoking it kind of deliberately looks past the subject's own stated reasons.]

Look, Joel Northrup and Cassey Herkelman were central to this specific event, and a lot of people's comments were about them, specifically, but it really seems to me that the salient issue goes immediately beyond them, to culturally endorsed attitudes about gender. The great irony of this whole fiasco is that Muddler lit a flashing neon sign pointing to this from the start, with "As a matter of conscience and faith, they will treat you differently", yet the hallmark characteristic of this absolute trainwreck of a thread is that just about everybody throughout it seems to have either been oblivious to that fact, or studiously ignoring it. I'm no scarred veteran of these parts, but I've seen how MeFites as a group tend to (or at least try to) cut directly to the heart of a matter when discussing it, but I've never before seen a thread where so many people so fervently avoided that heart altogether, even actively discouraged addressing it, all while behaving as though this were completely normal behavior. Bollocks. Normal behavior is a core discussion about the FPP, up to and including direct condemnation of its very premise. Plenty of snark can be expected amongst the meat, of course, but as a rule the FPP constitutes the spine. So what happened here?

One could argue that if the FPP was intended to be about culturally embedded sexism, a few links about a single local-interest event was not an appropriate way to broach the subject -- and that's why so many went marching off into the weeds. But that too would be utter bollocks, of a piece with the consistent and persistent pattern of oblique derailings that have characterized this thread at almost every instance when the clearly articulated core issue at hand was raised. The truth is, the act that inspired the post and spurred the discussion provided an ideal entry point to the broader discussion Muddler seemed to have in mind, because it is a textbook example of endemic sexism -- an act so normal as to seem all but insignificant, especially to those who are lifelong, inherent beneficiaries of that sexism.

Of course, it goes without saying that, with perhaps a few obvious exceptions, nobody participating in this thread is sexist in thought, deed, belief, or attitude. This web community consists of people who tend to be a bit more self-aware than the average schmoe, and who therefore generally oppose anything as crass and niggardly as belittling or subjugation of people on the basis of their gender, right? So when someone plucks a loose stone from a wall and says, "This here stone is a piece of a big wall. Look at it. See what it's made of?" the chorus just sort of murmurs and mills about. But how interesting is it, then, that when someone who lives in the shadow of that wall and sees the shadows lengthening grabs the stone and starts thrashing at it in frustration, the chorus cries out, "Quit picking on that poor stone! Why do you have to single it out? Put it back! Leave it alone! It's just a stone, and behaving exactly as a stone ought to!"

If the stone were the issue, the chorus would have a point. But the issue is not the stone. It's the wall the chorus is standing on.
posted by perspicio at 10:46 PM on February 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I called him a bigot. He IS a bigot because his actions show that he holds bigoted views.

You need to look the word up in the dictionary. Walking out of a competition is not "stubbornly intolerant" of anyone else's views. It is merely living his personal moral compass. If anything, you're the one who is stubbornly intolerant of his views and prepared to inflict ludicrous judgment, don't you think?
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 1:11 AM on February 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


I was a smug evangelical randroid. Care if I accompany you guys?

This is turning into an AWESOME idea for a movie, by the way.


Working title: The League Of Insufferable Gentlemen.
posted by verb at 7:36 AM on February 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was a smug evangelical randroid. Care if I accompany you guys?

This is turning into an AWESOME idea for a movie, by the way.

Working title: The League Of Insufferable Gentlemen.


Perhaps it is the act of getting their asses beaten that triggers the onset of maturity in these dumbass kids. Close up the paradox that way.
posted by kafziel at 7:50 AM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


not "stubbornly intolerant" of anyone else's views. It is merely living his personal moral compass.

False dichotomy. These are not mutually exclusive. One's moral compass can be defective and lead to one being stubbornly intolerant, no?
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:30 PM on February 20, 2011


False dichotomy. These are not mutually exclusive. One's moral compass can be defective and lead to one being stubbornly intolerant, no?

Maybe in theory, but this is clearly not happening here.

Also, thinking of someone's moral compass as defective comes across as very arrogant for such a debatable question.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 4:22 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe in theory, but this is clearly not happening here.


Clear to whom?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:11 PM on February 21, 2011


Why write a three word rhetorical question? Why not just write why you think he is being stubbornly intolerant?

I thought it was uncontentious given his statement, which was expressed in very personal terms rather than evangelical ones. It was not phrased as a boycott, or a condemnation of the values of other people. It was the minimal honest expression of his reason for withdrawing that leaves plenty of room for disagreement.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 8:56 PM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why write a three word rhetorical question?

I was trying to make your assumptions clear. I disagree that his expression was honest, as it hides a very large, ugly assumption about women. But we are free to disagree, you and me, we just need to be clear about what the nature of our disagreement is. You are giving him a huge (in my mind) benefit of the doubt, whereas I am not. For my part, it is based on my experience with those who feel paternalistic toward women and how they express that paternalism.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:00 AM on February 22, 2011


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