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Monday, February 21, 2011

Iowa wrestler forfeits because of gender-based segregation in schools

In Des Moines, Iowa, high school student Joel Northrup forfeited his chance at winning the state’s wrestling tournament. Why would a teen boy in a wrestling-obsessed state forfeit such an exciting chance? He didn’t want to compete against a girl.

For the first time even in Iowa state history, two girls made it to the state tournament this year. One of which, Cassy Herkelman, made it to the one of the final tiers facing Northrup on the mat.

The reasoning behind Northrup’s default was not because of his thoughts that girls should be wrestling, but it was a personal and religious belief that boys and girls shouldn’t be wrestling each other. As the son to a minister of the Believers’ in Grace Ministries, Northrup followed with this statement:

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times.”

Can you blame him for his opinion? No!Schools across the US always separate sports by gender. Boy’s Tennis. Girl’s Basketball. Boy’s Swimming. It is not Northrup’s decision that needs to be criticized, but it is the gender-based classification that is happening around the country. The institution of separating men and women is ridiculous and is only perpetuating the inequalities and stereotypes in gender. 

We all have been brainwashed, including Northrup, that boys and girls cannot play sports together. The fact is, it happens all the time on the soccer field down the street and I definitely know I’ve seem some girls wresting some boys while flirting at the park. 

Critics may say that boys are physically shaped different than women and it’s not fair to put them head-to-head. Bullshit. Yeah, there might be different parts downstairs, but athletes that love their sport train so hard that their physicality’s are so similar that they will both be able competitively together. 

Imagine a day when kids try out for basketball, tennis, football, and even wrestling. There is no regard for gender and there are no stereotypes that are thrown in to degrade one group of individuals. That will be the day that good sports will play-out in high schools and situations they that in Iowa will become so archaic, that future generations will be shocked that we split people up by gender. Hmm does that sound familiar? Racial separation. 

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