The Thinking 

The Miseducated Girl Athlete

December 11, 2017

MANY MORE girls participate in athletics than ever before. Federal social engineering under Title IX has led to an explosion in female athletics at lower levels.

In 1972, just 1 in 27 girls participated in high school sports; today, about two in five do, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. The number of women playing at the college level has skyrocketed by more than 600 percent [as of 2012]. [Source]

While returning from a conference in Florida this weekend, I noticed this phenomenon close up. The airport was filled with female high school soccer players who had been competing in a tournament nearby. The girls, with their skimpy clothes and pack behavior, seemed to be part of a primitive tribe. The softness and individuality of their faces was lost with their ugly, synthetic uniforms, messy hair, beefy muscles, and loudness.

It’s true that girl athletes are taught discipline and hard work. Parents are proud of their daughters’ athletic skills and believe that intense competition is good for them. You can’t blame them really as they are nowhere taught the truth. Many girls intensely enjoy their athletic experiences. Athletic exercise for girls is not inherently wrong. The problem is not physical activity but the level and style of competition.

Trained to be immodest, aggressive, overly competitive and overly scheduled, the girl athlete of today is deprived of the basics. She is set up for failure as a woman. Intense competition cultivates willfulness, a quality that is often disastrous for the adult woman, whose primary sphere in life requires nurturing qualities. As Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira wrote:

The feminine soul is a fountainhead of grace, delicacy and sensibility, which enriches the moral and social life of humanity with spiritual values that man does not give it. The equilibrium of mankind demands women with a rich mental structure displaying all the gifts proper to their sex, just as it demands men with profoundly virile souls. It would be absurd to educate a generation of boys in the most effeminate way possible. No less absurd would it be to educate a generation of girls with the intention of making them as masculine as possible.

A certain pedagogy of our days, however, seems to have completely forgotten this trivial truth. And, instead of forming girls for the role that they will naturally have in society, it forms them precisely as if she were a boy intended in the future to assume the weight and the responsibilities proper to men.

Girls are not meant to travel in teams or battalions the way boys are. The more athletic women become, the less of an elevating influence they are. The boyish girl athlete loses the chance to flower. She becomes a fighter, not a nurturer of individuals and a defender of beauty. Modern girl athletes bring the world down to an infra-human level.

— Comments —

Dan R. writes:

I can’t help but be reminded of the famous line of Gloria Steinem:

“We’re becoming the men we wanted to marry.”

Beginning with Title IX in the early 1970s, women’s sports has been a top-down engineering project.  Oftentimes over the past dozen years it has occurred to me that women athletes are effectively being trained to become warriors–more figuratively than literally–despite the obvious weaknesses of women in actual combat that have been demonstrated in debates on that issue.  And in the economic sphere a comparable effect has taken place, where women are to be treated no differently than if they were men.  Families, children?  Bah!  Send them to daycare!

The feminists have insisted they are for individual choice, but their project over the past fifty years has been to elevate the value of women in the workforce and shame those who are not part of the program.  My mother’s seven grandchildren range in age from 22 to 35, and only one is/has a wife who is pregnant.  Word is that she will go back to work ASAP.

The result is the triumph of “male role envy,” as noted by writer Roger Devlin.  We have become a variant on Scandinavia, in what has been a stunningly depressing feminist victory in my lifetime.

Dec. 18, 2017

Anne writes:

I agree with the main premise of this article, but I think you have taken it a bit too far.  I know you are not saying girls should not play sports, but the article gives that impression.  Raising good Catholic girls today is hard enough without adding more restrictions on mothers, like no sports, travel and polyester for their girls.  This is silly.  These are not moral issues.  Most girls playing sports don’t even come close to the level of aggression you are talking about.

I know many families who have ‘checked out of society’ to preserve their children’s faith.  This has worked for some families, and failed for others, with their children leaving the faith.  I have decided to stay in society and teach my 3 girls good skills at home such as cooking, childcare and sewing, but also allowing them to play sports, travel and go to college.  They all played sports at their traditional Catholic school (wearing polyester culottes).  This has worked out great for them.

A virtue rarely talked about on conservative blogs like this one is prudence.  Being so strict and extreme on girls can do much more harm than good, as I mentioned above seeing so many leave their faith.  I believe the reason girls are going to fail in life is due to sin.  Teaching them to receive the sacraments, pray, and especially to practice the virtue of charity will set them up for success.  I think trying to see the good in others is important also. Like  those girls in the airport that you saw.  Your harsh judgment of them lacks charity.

Why are we blaming those girls for lacking modesty and manners?  We should blame the older generations (yours) who grew up in a more Christian and civilization society and yet failed to pass those lessons on the young.

I think your blog would be better if it offered encouragement and practical ideas for mothers, rather than, as I see in so many conservative blogs, bashing everything they see going on around them.

Laura writes:

I stand by my point. Femininity is too precious to be degraded in this way. It is not uncharitable to care about the effects on those girls. In fact, it is uncharitable to leave them to the principles of a soulless culture.

Ideally, girls would play in modest clothing and with much less aggression than boys.

Laura adds:

Unfortunately, there are many things that deserve bashing in our world. There would be fewer things if there were more bashers.

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