Confessions from the Classroom
5. “When I Play Soccer, I Feel Free, I Feel as If No One Can Harm Me”: Gender Justice and Sports
· 5 · “when i play soccer, i feel free, i feel as if no one can harm me” Gender Justice and Sports The park is populated almost exclusively by boys and young men. Girls occasionally skirt the margins, hang on the fences, jump double Dutch in the corner, but rarely enter the main game. I once relished the sight of a particularly fierce girl who hit a line drive and flipped the bird as she rounded second base. (Corbett, 2009, p. 2) (Grade 6) 74 tomboys and other gender heroes Introduction: Girls Football On my first day of research in the spring of 2011, I entered one of several grade 8 classes and was met with a quiet group of students and a friendly, talkative teacher. I showed the film Tomboy and tried to engage the class with ques- tions about their experiences of gender to no avail. Therefore, I began the sticky-note activity (see Lesson Plans for detailed description of assignment), depending as usual on the anonymity of the activity to offer students the sense of safety needed to share their knowledge. When I began reading the notes aloud from the blackboard, I came upon an abundance of comments about a girl’s right to be able to play on the school football team. Out of 40 notes completed, nine addressed sports in general, and seven more focused on the unfairness of a boys’ football team that excluded girls. Females aren’t allowed on the football team because it’s a so-called (boys...
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