Occasionally, if I'm engaged with someone in a spirited discussion, my interlocutor may try to score points by somehow expressing their perceived superiority. They might make a statement that they think will make them look stronger and me weaker. It's invariably another male that tries to pull off this type of trick (must be the testosterone) and there's nothing really wrong with this per se. We're all trying to score points in a debate, right? It could be something innocuous like my car is faster than yours, or I earn more money than you, or my child is really good at maths, or whatever else it might be. Depending on how spirited the discussion gets, things can on occasion get a bit ugly and the one-upmanship steps up a level, with insults being thrown out.
I like to think we live in an enlightened age and I genuinely struggle with some people that throw out what they think are insults by comparing me to a girl. These take many guises but a couple of simple examples I'll use for illustration here are the often used you hit like a girl or you run like a girl. I often chuckle to myself if I'm on the receiving end of one of these insults, since I actually don't take them as insults. Ok, so gender, of course, has its place in society and I'm perfectly comfortable being a man, but I really don't see there being anything wrong with being compared to a woman. Women are strong, resilient, intelligent and possess all of the qualities I could ever wish to possess anyway, so why wouldn't I aspire to that?
Everyone has a mother, right? Have you seen first hand what a mother goes through with labour and childbirth? I have. You really needn't look much further than that to see just how strong women are.
I think it's very telling when someone pulls a trick like comparing a man to a woman, or a girl, and implying that to be some sort of a put-down. It tells me not only that this person is living in the wrong century, but that they have an altogether unhealthy attitude towards women in the first place, because they are operating from the flawed assumption that women are somehow inferior to men. It isn't true and it just goes to highlight their ignorance of the world around them. The reason I chuckle when I'm confronted with this is because I immediately feel like I won the debate.
I'm fortunate to have two wonderful children - a boy and a girl as it happens. I try to raise them both in a way that is devoid of gender-stereotyping. We still live in a society where it's sadly sometimes necessary for me to say to my daughter things like you can do anything the boys can do. Having to say this feels like I'm implementing damage control. Wouldn't it be nice if that damage control weren't necessary to begin with? What's wrong with being a girl? Nothing at all!