Bowling and The Patriarchy


I’ve been bowing since I was eight years old.

It’s been awhile since I was on a league, so it’s more accurate to say bowling has been in my life for twenty or so years now.

I was good at bowling. “Good” by the standards of the average person who hasn’t been bowling for over twenty years. And maybe even “good” by some that have.

People who often didn’t like when I was good at bowling were men. Men who hated the idea of not being better than me at something like bowling. My college roommate’s boyfriend actually kicked me in the shin when I beat him.

There’s a new area in my office building that has a free pool and ping pong table. The only people I’ve seen utilize this space is men.

And I would be surprised if any women were to use either of these things that they would boast they were really good or be competitive about it. It is much “cuter” and “funnier” to be a woman and not know what you’re doing. Because it’s important for men to feel like they’re teaching you something, for them to know it all. It’s also just so EMBARRASSING to lose to a woman.

I am a competitive person. It’s not very attractive sometimes. Lately I’ve been wondering if I act this way because people underestimate me and if they do that because I’m female.

Maybe it’s lame and sad to feel any kind of pride at beating someone in something inconsequential. But maybe I need to in order to believe that I’m able or talented or creative or smart.

I guess I just wonder who I would have been had I been born a boy. If I wouldn’t have doubted myself so much growing up. If I would have been allowed to be good at something and be loud about it instead of feeling like I had to be modest.

If I had been allowed to walk through this world without the constant fear of every way you can turn a man against you, whether it’s at your job or at home or on the street. And now on Tinder or Twitter or a Facebook comment.

If only I hadn’t spent so many years of my prime trying to impress some dude, get some dude, keep some dude.

If only.


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