Sexism in school PE lessons

football christmas ornamentsThroughout year 7 to 9 I experienced sexism in PE lessons (physical education) at school.

I am a tomboy and always have been. As a result of this I have been bullied as I don't fit in with the normal expectations of a girl. PE lessons in school didn't help my confidence as we were made to do nothing but dance and rounders (both of which I find boring).

One day I asked my teacher, "why can't we play football, basketball, rugby and cricket like the boys?"

My teacher replied with this: "because those sports are traditionally boys sports so girls aren't allowed to do them."

This didn't help with my self esteem as they were implying the girls weren't as good as the boys which was why we weren't allowed to play them. I felt like I had to prove myself that I can do the same things as boys can.

I raised the issue of sexism multiple times to several teachers. I spoke to the headmaster, head of years, progress leaders and several other teachers I knew might be able to help.

After several months of patience I finally got justice. When I moved into year 10, they allowed for girls to do the same sports as boys and even mixed sets were introduced.

Sexism in PE isn't as much of a problem anymore although I still feel I have to prove myself on my new set as it is full of boys that think girls are pathetic at sports. My efforts have paid off and everything is much better and more equal for girls at my school.

7 Comments

  1. gretchen on March 16, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Elysia – thanks for sharing your story. This is a great example of being persistent! Thank you for not giving up and for paving the way for other girls to enjoy those same activities.

  2. Maya on March 2, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    I am in 6th grade. Today in PE we went to the fitness room to prepare for the tests coming up. My teacher said that if you want to burn fat, go to the cardio machines. He said if you want to gain muscle, use a weight machine. Naturally, all the boys went to the weights, and us girls went to the cardio ones and looked at our bodies in shame. I went to a weight machine and my teacher looked at me disapprovingly. I looked at him and said in my mind “screw you”. I am outraged at the sexism that goes on in that class.I just want to tell everyone that we all have the same potential. We all can be great, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.

  3. Not saying my name! on April 21, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    I am in 5th grade. A few weeks ago in gym class, my teacher had us play trench (a dodgeball game). It was girls vs. boys. First, he gave the girls ALL of the balls to start. Then, he gave us not one, not two, but THREE jailbreaks. By this time, my friend and I were so mad we weren’t participating. As if he hadn’t done enough, he then started playing on our team. He finally caught my friend and I, and made us tell him what was up. I said,”you gave us all the balls to start, you gave us 3 jailbreaks, and you helped us. Your just proving that you agree that boys are stronger and faster than girls. You are being so sexist.” He was astonished, but not too mad. He made the WHOLE class sit down and said,”I’m not even going to tell you what was just said to me, but I thought I was just being nice.” I thought, yeah right. I am still SO mad at him!

  4. Cinders on June 12, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    In my school girls are forced to do ribbon dancing instead of football and rugby. And my school gloats about equality. I’m doing a speech in class about it. Please give any stories you have. They are very helpful.

  5. Christopher Lee on October 24, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    This has something to do with this, but my school has separated the girls and the boys. We go out in an open field, so it’s not like people are making out or having sex!

  6. Lauren on December 8, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    This isn’t about sexism by a teacher, but rather by the male “jocks” in my class. We often play games involving passing to another member of your team (I’m in 7th grade btw) and it is often a problem about the male “jocks” not passing to anybody female. The teachers say it frequently to pass to everyone, but often times they won’t. Some of these people are great outside of gym class, but during gym they turn extremely sexist. I am not super athletic, but I still try. Today we were playing ultimate frisbee, and I was on a team with not a large amount of male “jocks” on it. During the beginning, both of the main boys playing would not pass to me. Quickly, one of them realized I knew what I was doing, and the other eventually caught on. I played so much, even though I dropped the frisbee sometimes and didn’t really know all of the rules. I even scored! I was so proud of myself, and I kept thinking “f*ck gender roles. F*ck the patriarchy, and whoever says boys are better than girls.”

  7. nikolas on January 25, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    This kind of thing has happened at every school i’ve been to (i’m a high school freshman). I know for a fact that I’m a dude and I’d be beat in a second in a race by literally any of the girls at my school. It’s stupid and it makes me so mad :/ Glad things got more equal tho!

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