Playing, Like A Girl

An editorial about the phrase “You Play like A Girl” and how it should be thought of as a positive statement used to empower women.

Playing, Like A Girl

“You play like a girl!” Growing up, all girls hear is that “playing like a girl” was a bad thing and was always said with negative connotations. I hated “playing like a girl” although that’s what I was doing: playing, like a girl.

Fast and Female on Twitter

During youth, girls are still less active than boys. Facts from the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey (link) state that girls continue to be significantly less active than boys, with a gap of 213,000 (47% of boys are active compared to 43% of girls) and girls’ participation in team sports dropped by 7% to only 41%, vs boys 63%.

For me, growing up always playing sports and having an older brother that I was always in competition with I never heard the term “you play like a girl” until I went to elementary school and heard the words from some of the boys there. Immediately, I hated it. How was my gender supposed to influence my athletic ability?

The slander got even worse as I entered middle school. Me along with all the other girls would always have to try 10 times harder to prove ourselves in an athletic atmosphere. Some girls got tired of it and didn’t like to play sports anymore, it wasn’t fun for them.

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

— Title IX

Statistics from Women in Sport and Youth Sport Trust’s Girls Active Survey (source) says that girls aged 12-14 years:
• Only 41% feel happy they are doing enough exercise
• 36% are unhappy with their body
• 42% avoid exercise when they have their period
• Only 42% say exercise is important to their lives
• 28% do no other exercise except PE at school
• Only 23% really enjoy PE



As I am about to graduate high school soon, I have played with, played against, and seen some amazing talent that has been underappreciated, overlooked, and undervalued just because the people I was playing with or against were female. So, if you take away one thing from this, if you ever plan on being a parent or are a parent, put girls into sports at a young age, watch female sports on T.V, attend women’s sporting events, and never say playin g like a girl is a bad thing because it isn’t.