I often send emails to people when I am concerned about something that is happening, when I want to point something out that is not right, or feel that my words may make a difference in the world. I have decided that I am going to start publishing emails like this on my blog. This is in the hope that perhaps someone reading my blog may be in the same situation and me, and reading my words may help them make the time/energy available to send a similar letter. Small steps to social change!
This is an email I sent this evening to my son's school Principal after it was announced that the school was "adopting" a player from the local male rugby team.
It is great that Mr X is keen on promoting an active life etc through sport in his initiative to “adopt” a [player from the local male rugby team].
I was wondering if the school could also consider a similar relationship with a local female sportsperson?
The majority of the sport that we are exposed to is male sport. As a parent, it is usually quite hard to find examples of female sportspeople in the media for my children. I have loved having the Commonwealth Games on, because there have been female sportspeople featuring prominently. But usually the newspaper sport section is exclusively male. Ditto the sports news on TV. When sportswomen are mentioned in the news, it is in a different way to sportsmen are mentioned – often focusing on their personal lives and/or physical body. This is my experience, and is backed up by research. Society is already telling our kids that “men play sport” – let’s also make a real effort to show them that women do too.
Again, it’s a great initiative for all the right reasons – let’s just make sure it is not one that also serves to reinforce gender stereotypes.
(Note that if my words are being used in personal emails to make a positive change in the world, I am more than happy for them to be copy/pasted! Let's not waste time re-inventing the wheel! :) )
Rachel is a writer and educator whose fields of interest include sexuality education, gender, feminism and youth development.