A couple of years ago while I played on a U.S. academy soccer team which was a bunch of guys who wanted to pursue a career in soccer after high school, so it is easy to say that the atmosphere of it all was pretty competitive. Every practice, we always had this one girl who trained with us. Her name was Summer and she was committed to play soccer at the University of North Carolina. I remember the first practice she came too, everyone was thinking why is this girl playing with us, she’s going to be slower than us or weaker than us. Once we began playing, she was literally just as good or even better than most of us. We were all so surprised. But in retrospect, I ask the question to why is it that we just think that because she was a girl she wouldn’t be as good as us?
It’s sad, how we’ve come to view women in sports these days. This one example connects perfectly to John Stuart Mill’s third chapter called “Of Individuality, as One of the Elements of Well-Being”. Mill talks how individuality is essential to the cultivation of the self. Mill’s problem he sees in our society is that the individual is not respected as having any good in itself, and is not seen as essential to well-being. All of us should have respected Summer, just the same as one of our teammates. It’s one simple example of how we view women sports, but this happens a lot and I’ve seen it too much. Mill would love to see coed sports teams due to individuality being a good thing because the differences between sexes help develop the human faculty.
In some cases, maybe a women isn’t as good as a guy at a sport, but there are other guys in the world who are just as bad or worse than that women at the sport. It is all relative, I agree with Mill, from personal experience, that we should not restrict the participation of an individual. Women are just as good as men at sports and we should not look down on women due to past views. We should be against all these little ascriptive proxies that Mika talks about in “Being a Women and Other Disabilities.” Like John Mill we should all be concerned with the discrimination of individuals in sports.