I was recently at my younger brother’s soccer practice in Fernie, listening in as the coaches were giving advice to the team. One of the boys had his pinny tied up, rather than tucked in or hanging down, and so one of the coaches said to him, “Don’t wear your pinny like that; that’s how girls wear it.” Rather than continue on with the lesson, like most probably would, one of the other coaches piped up and said, “We are inclusive here. He is a player on our team, even if he decides he wants to wear a dress to practice.” I must commend the coach who spoke up against this blatant gender stereotyping, as people are often unconcerned with stopping male gender stereotypes. I sometimes think that, with our society’s focus on the negative aspects of female gender stereotypes, we often aren’t aware of how brutal male culture can be on young boys who are trying to find their identities. Negative comments aimed at ‘masculinizing’ boys are far too common, especially in sports, and can do real damage to boys’ characters. I am sure that the coach who made the initial comment did not mean any harm to the boys of his team, but I am pleased to see that there are positive male role models in Fernie who are willing to stand up against this type of injustice.
Adam R. MacDonald