Sunday, May 7, 2017

women's derring-do

Since 1999, the world's elite big-wave surfers have battled it out at an event known as the Mount Everest of surf competitions - at Mavericks in California. Until this year, female surfers were banned from taking part. But a small group of determined women have fought their way in.
When I was a kid, I went to a boarding grade school where boys and girls shared equally in the various fads that were bound to erupt among youngsters. When there was a jacks fad, boys and girls equally took up jacks. Girls carried sheath knives in much the same way boys did -- you needed a knife to cut the twine around hay bales destined to feed the horses and boys and girls both tended to the horses. When there was a knitting fad, I too took up knitting. And when it came to downhill and slalom ski racing, girls were sometimes slower by the nature of their musculature, not because of their sex ... and god knows some of them beat the shit out of me on skis.

I maintain to this day a distaste for distinctions made solely on the basis of sex. I can't carry a baby and I doubt that I can be as pretty, but that's the nature of the universe, not some god-given rule of division. Women aren't better because they have breasts or because they have been tamped down in the course of various cultural events. If they can do it, I am welcome to try too. If I can do it, they are welcome to try too. Why not? There are women klutzes and men klutzes, women experts and men experts ... it's the "klutz" or "expert" that counts. I know women who imagine they can write because they love the written word ... and couldn't write their way out of a paper bag. Men too. Get it straight: It's the humanity, not the sex.

As to women's derring-do in big-wave country ... go, get 'em, darling: I haven't got the balls for that.

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