The question that concerns Iris Marion Young in her essay, Throwing Like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment Motility and Spatiality, is the typically held belief that women act differently than men because of certain biological predispositions they have.
Needless to say, this is far from a convincing argument.
The form is too simplistic to persuade a cautionary reader. Nevertheless, this reasoning persists in society.
In Kelowna, BC, I often engage in playing frisbee with my friends and have definitely noticed that my female friends tend to be far worse than my male friends — although, by no means, exclusively. It is with amusement that I attempt to receive a pass from one particular female friend that never seems to, despite the closeness of the target, be able to create a stable pass. Others are, however, much better than I ever wish to be.
Young takes issue with the arbitrary “feminine essence” that requires women to “throw like a girl” which is obviously not empirically verified. To give another example in my personal life. I have attended European football matches with women that have far outperformed me and have women friends that perform competitively overseas and are far better with a football than I could ever wish to be. As I have mentioned before in my writing, there needs to be a sense of intricacy when analyzing behavior.
Really, how could there not be?
Human behavior is complex and it surprises me that we are content with simple explanations. Although it is very tempting to assume patterns of behavior and expect to see them everywhere — we should not give in.
What Should We Do, Then?
It is important to mention, however, that there are some underlying patterns of behavior in society and some tend to be associated with men/women more often. But we must recognize that these patterns only exist because they are accepted and then regulated.
Not everything should be malleable.
We should be open to accepting at least some customs, at least for the sake of respect, and only if we have justifiable enough reasons to do so. I find myself disagreeing with conserving values and customs more often than agreeing with them, but in order to be able to think properly about feminine essence, I believe it worthwhile to attempt to compromise between the understandings on the extreme opposites of the spectrum. I would not argue for this point, however.
Before you go…
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I write to keep you thinking and to keep me thankful and reflective. Cheers and until next time,