Sorry to constantly be the one who brings up sports, but this is just too good not to share.
The linked post, titled “Swing and a Miss,” from Now I Know, notes that the reason for decades of excluding women from professional baseball isn’t the one offered by then-MLB commissioner- that it’s “too strenuous” for their ladyconstitutions. The post notes that this happened very shortly after 17-year-old Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in a pre-season exhibition game. Which would make the whole “too strenuous” defense a euphemism for “too damaging to male egos.”
Two reactions – 1) Love (love!) hearing about Mitchell. Especially in a field with a heavy male bias like pro sports, it’s important to pay respects to female accomplishment and highlight stories that get ignored. Now when I hear the tired chestnuts like “Well, men are biologically better at athletics,” I have the comeback that a high school girl struck out two of best batters in baseball history. Gotta love that.
2) Pissed (pissed!) that fragile dudely ego kept women out of pro baseball so long. The chances that at least one woman would have made it into a big-league game by now if they’d been playing between 1952 (when women officially were barred) and 1992 (when they were allowed back in the game) are good enough to arouse my ire on behalf of every girl who’s had to put down her mitt because the opportunities weren’t there.
It’s shit like this that gives the lie to advice that women should just “be too good to ignore” and they’ll break those glass ceilings. Mitchell did something that would have shot a 17-year-old boy up the baseball ladder in 1931. So they fired her. Just goes to show that it can’t be on women alone to break down gender barriers. Sometimes you just can’t get there no matter how good you are or how hard you work because someone, somewhere, tripped over the asshole stick.
But the silver lining? They can’t ever take your personal wins away. The state of women in baseball may be just as sucky, and maybe suckier, than it was in Mitchell’s day, but of the few people to say they struck out Babe Ruth, she was one of them. That happened. Play like a girl indeed.