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I am a 29 year old teacher, athlete, and woman.   Almost every day, I hear either a student, fellow athlete, or some one say (not to me), "quit being such a girl," or "take of the skirt!"  I find this very offensive and I don't want the girls in my class or on my teams to have to hear this either.  Can you offer a response or somthing appropriate I can do to stop this?

Thank you,



Dear Lori,

I think the best response is some version of what Debbie Stoller, creator of Bust Magazine, talks about when she talks about reclaiming girl culture. What Debbie says that we shouldn't have to make the female masculine in order to make it valuable, but reclaim feminine things as a source of strength. For instance, when someone says you throw like a girl, say "thank you." This is a version of black people reclaiming "nigger" and gays reclaiming "queer". I'm not sure what age school you teach in, so I'm not sure if this might miss them.I think you can also point to the girls who are picked for the sports teams and begin to explain that they aren't the exception to the rule, but the rule.

Another example that I personally like is that of the marathon. When women were first allowed to run marathons, which was about 20 some years ago -- the time difference between the first place man and the first place woman was about 1 hour and 20 minutes. In those 20 plus years, the time difference has shrunk to within 15 minutes -- thus proving that once women have equal access they can prove to
be as talented as men.

Good Luck,



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