Thursday, February 17, 2011

Now You Can Experience the 1960s!

Mad Men and such, indeed! Or rather, you can find out what it feels like to be one of the "female firsts" in some new area:
An Iowa high school wrestler who was one of the favorites to win his weight class defaulted on his first-round state tournament match rather than face one of the first girls to ever qualify for the event.

Joel Northrup, a home-schooled sophomore who was 35-4 wrestling for Linn-Mar High this season, said in a statement that he doesn't feel it would be right for him to wrestle Cedar Falls freshman Cassy Herkelman. Herkelman, who was 20-13 entering the tournament, and fellow 112-pounder Ottumwa sophomore Megan Black, who was 25-13, made history by being the first girls to qualify for the state tournament. Black was pinned quickly in her opening round match.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times," wrote Northrup. "As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high school sports in Iowa."
I can even see Joel's point of view. He's not used to the idea and it would have all sorts of overtones that are...uncomfortable for him. Though Cassy seems to be fine with those.

I'd like to know what Joel's faith is, because I have read the same explanation from men who in the past refused to work with women in the military. They didn't believe it was the right place for women (kitchen would be that or the bedroom), and their god told them so.

Still, this is like the beginnings of women's entry into new jobs and hobbies in the 1960s and 1970s. Home-schooling might bring more of these experiences to us, because some of the home-schooled are educated in the values of strict gender hierarchies. Not that I know what the case is in Joel's family, of course.

I used to fight men all the time in karate. It didn't seem to bother them much to fight a girl but then we were of course playing within the rules and not getting unnecessarily violent. Good control and all that.