Monday, July 6, 2009

A Feminist Goes Golfing...

Golf is a sport that is infamous for its discriminatory ways. It is elitist, racist and sexist in nature. Nevertheless, when my Dad invited me out to the course this weekend, I thought I would take a swing at it and do some inside investigation.

The outing kicked off by fulfilling all expectations of the game. I was golfing with my Dad and other male relatives, all of whom are white and wealthy. We approached the first tee (the place where you hit the ball from, for all you non-golfers), and there were three markers. The markers: black, white, and red indicate different distances that you could hit from. The red, which was closest to the hole, was the “women’s tee.” This perturbed me greatly. My father and uncle encouraged me to start the game at the red tee; I refused. I proceeded to tee off from the same marker as the males in the party. Now, let me say, this was my first time golfing, and I was utterly wretched. The game for me was a series of mini-golf putts on a HUGE course. So, as you may guess, I was first to hit and last to putt every hole. Needless to say, my uncle (an avid golf aficionado), began to get restless. He kept encouraging me to hit from the red marker, and I continued to refuse in style - with each hole I seemingly got worse. Finally, responding to the tug-of-war between my uncle and me, my Dad intervened saying, “give up, she is a feminist.”

This got me thinking... is it wrong to want to be terrible at the same rate as others? My Dad is not a phenomenal golfer and my cousin is ¼ my size. Golf seemed to be more of a game of technique than anything (a technique I did not have). I wanted to play -and lose- at the same level as everyone else. I am not one for getting treated like a girl. As a child, I always participated in sports on the same level as the boys around me. I am not a small person by any means, and I think that it is a ridiculous notion that just because I have different anatomy down under, I should get special privileges in sports. Admittedly, I am a feminist, but is it wrong for the women that don’t use that label to ask for equality in their daily lives? Why wasn't my simple desire to not use the women’s tee enough, and why was that fact that I am a feminist tacked on in such a negative manner?

Children are always taught to strive to be the best and work their hardest, and, feminist or not, I would not be satisfied in just striving to be the best among women. I know that women and men are not built the same, but it does not mean that women should be excluded or treated differently.

Ultimately, my day of golf was not a total failure. I went out there knowing that I would be terrible, and that I would not come close to winning. However, I lost as an equal to the men in the group; to me, that is what was most important.

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