What an uplifting story 🙂
This reminds me of going to a local pub in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and how the bartender shook my Dad’s hand. I (naturally) went to shake his hand also, but was stared blankly at, while they talked hunting.
It reminds me of being 10 or so and a younger boy spitting in my face when we tried to play football with them at the local park.
It reminds me that my mother, with the best of intentions, would often tell me “not to compete with the boys” in any way and to generally “stay away from them”. She tried to follow all the strict, Catholic, conservative “rules” that she was brought up with, but, even after making all that effort, she still seemed to get chewed up by the patriarchy anyway.
They were painful experiences, but I have decided to believe that things are really changing. I hope we can support women and men and move forward together, and that if this girl keeps playing mixed sports, that she is protected from sexual violence and threats therein at a later stage in her sporting career.
I have to remind myself that, despite my experiences and that of people I love, it is a small proportion of men who actively do bad things, and many men do support women, and speak up when they see injustice, like my work husband in Bilbao. Time and again he has helped me out of difficult situations, and spoken up when he sees creepy dudes being creepy. He doesn’t call himself a “feminist”, and he’s had difficult and hurtful experiences with women that he’s shared with me, but he just tries his best to do the right thing on a daily basis. Knowing men like that gives me hope.