My Personal battle with Gender Discrimination
You know that feeling. When you can feel the blood gathering in your cheeks, your clammy fists clench, and your limbs tingle, wanting to spring out and smash something. Then you yell, whine, complain to anyone who will listen. Their only condolence is, “boys will be boys”.
Every year in August, my family on my mom’s side gathers at my aunt and uncle’s house for a family reunion. They own a huge portion of land in the heart of Missouri containing several ponds, a creek, a golf course and lots of camping area. The property is a haven for the outdoorsman, which seems to inspire testosterone in my uncles, male cousins, and even my father.
I have been a tomboy since I could walk; I always preferred building forts outside to playing with Barbies. I played soccer instead of volleyball, I bathed in a creek instead of the bathtub, and I rode my bike more than I walked. I HATED wearing dresses and often preferred running around in the dirty jeans and an oversized tee-shirt. I was deemed “the weird kid” in elementary school. As a child, my feisty nature compelled me to argue for respect and attention from the adults in my boy-favoring family. My grandmother especially favored my male cousins over the female cousins; however, my constant spirit and determination won my Grandmother’s attention and honor of being her favorite grandchild.
We have several traditions at the Schulz family reunion including tractor rides, storytelling, and card tournaments. Then, there were the traditions that I fought: the men’s fishing trips, golf, and horseshoe tournaments while the women make dinner. After the daylong events, the men would arrive back to the campsite, eat the prepared food, and go back to their previous activities while the women cleaned up and did the dishes. Out of the four days, the men made possibly one meal. I brought this up to my mom, and she replied by saying “If we didn’t do it, the men never would.”
Being a very “boyish” girl, I always wanted to go on the fishing trips. What could be more fun than riding a mile on a trailer pulled by a tractor down a giant hill on a snake infested path to a creek filled with bass, frogs and other Missouri natives? One time, I got the courage to ask my dad if I could go on the fishing trip. Now, my dad usually encouraged me to participate in male-dominated sports such as skiing and soccer. I even went fishing and golfing with him several times at home, and we would always have a great time. As all the men stared at me with smirks on my face, my dad told me that I couldn’t go on the trip because I was too young. My cousin, just a year older, staring at me with a satisfied sneer was allowed to go just because he was a boy. I gave my dad an angry and betrayed look as my cousins laughed and taunted me. The rest of the afternoon, I refused to help with dinner and angrily fished by...