One my most favorite movies is the classic masterpiece, She’s the Man. Starring the geniuses of Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum, this wonderful story explores not only the problems that may arise when you pretend to be your brother, but it provides a tale of how far a girl will go just to do what she wants, despite being discriminated against based on her gender.
In case all of you haven’t seen it, which is a crime in and of itself, here is a summary of the movie because I cannot personally describe the beauty of this movie within my word limit. This movie changes people’s lives. It made people begin to realize that females are capable of being as good as and even better than male athletes, it showed that not every girl is destined for the life of a “debutant” – although that’s okay if that’s what you’re into – and most importantly it probably led to a rise in the sales of Gouda cheese.
Viola, the main character, is passionate about playing soccer. When her school cuts the soccer team, she realizes that there is no other choice than to impersonate her twin brother and play for the boys’ team at another school. Considering the fact that she eventually made the first string team and was considerably better than many of the players, she showed that girls definitely have the ability to beat guys in a seemingly masculine area. Once it becomes apparent that Viola is in fact a girl, near the end of the film, they do allow her to play alongside guys – and beat most of them.
So how does this relate to our discussion? Remember Caster Semenya? Once a real, live woman proves that she can be significantly better than fellow women and men at a sport, she is automatically questioned about her sex. Ariel Levy writes in her article Either/Or, “Semenya became accustomed to visiting the bathroom with a member of a competing team so that they could look at her private parts and then get on with the race”. She literally had to prove to fellow competitors that she was a woman. Even though the question wasn’t fully answered, it should matter more about who Caster thinks she is and not what doctors or other people think she is.
Both Caster and Viola experienced discrimination towards them based on the fact that they were girls. Because sports are typically a “guy” thing, it’s considered crazy for them to be better than guys, which is just ridiculous. Viola and Caster took different approaches to working past this problem. While Caster powered through and won races even while undergoing intensive tests by various doctors while also being under the spotlight by the media, Viola dressed up like her brother and pretended to be him. Both equally good approaches to working around the problem, in my opinion.
Gender roles are constantly changing as our society progresses, but it seems as though there are some things that people want to keep purely masculine or purely feminine. Why can’t there be co-ed soccer teams? I understand that there may be health concerns, but shouldn’t it be up to the players to decide what they are willing to risk? The women who are racing alongside Semenya are most likely bitter about losing and trying to find any excuse possible. They have the support of many others that believe that it shouldn’t be possible for women to be THAT good at sports. Well I say that in 2014, it’s time for everyone to realize that women aren’t only meant to be housewives, nurses, teachers, and other “feminine” things. Women have become a threat to the male population and it’s about time things get equal around here.