On Thursday night the Schreyhards held their first official IM flag football game. We lost, by a lot, but our matching lime green t-shirts and unwavering support of each other absolutely made up for our poor athletic skills.
However, there was one thing that put a damper on my experience of our first game. We were playing another coed team, and when one of the girls scored a touchdown, the ref yelled out, “9 point touchdown!” I looked around in confusion, until one of my teammates informed me that girls get 3 extra points for a touchdown, not including the extra point. I don’t know about you, but that’s simply wrong.
Before I go further into this, I do understand the motive behind this absurd rule. Coed teams, like high school gym classes, are notorious for being male dominated and unencouraging of female players. Penn State is trying to fix that problem by giving girls a leg up; we earn an extra 3 points for every touchdown, and on certain plays male QBs canonly throw to a female receiver. The idea behind this is that guy players will be more likely to include us girls. Despite this being a well intentioned policy, this is not the way to promote equality on campus.
Penn State promotes diversity and inclusion as an integral part of its mission, but we have a long way to go to make that a reality here in Happy Valley. I love this school and I am so grateful for the incredible opportunities that it offers us – that being said, sexism is still alive and well at Dear Old State, and we have to change that. Our professors have always emphasized that we the students can create the campus we want to see, and it’s time we listen to them and do something about campus sexism. WE ARE capable of changing for the better, and it’s about time we do.
As a community of students who can directly affect our campus, we can start by requesting information and spreading awareness. The Penn State Gender Equity Center is taking on the challenge of opposing sexual violence and harassment; this could be an excellent opportunity for us to start our fight against sexism. By speaking to members of the Gender Equity Center, we can request a program that actively promotes, well, gender equity. The Center has done wonderful things so far, and tackling sexism would be an incredibly important addition to their mission.
We can also get out on our own to spread our message of gender equality. Girls, talk to your teams and ask the ref to give equal scoring for touchdowns. Guys, this is not just your game; we’re not on the team to boost your score. Challenge the status quo and reject sexist rules; play the game fairly or don’t play at all. Sure, we lose the “advantage” of the extra points, but are those 3 points worth our dignity as equal members of a team?