Being female and having “balls”

Being female and having “balls”


This clip of 7 year old skating dynamo Sky Brown sure makes me smile.

“When I’m skateboarding I feel like I can be me, and I’m free, and I can be strong and nobody can stop me!” Amen Sister.

In the clip opener Sky says “Just because you’re a girl doesn’t mean you can’t have balls!”. She’s empowered and urging other girls and women to be daring and brave.

She’s using a phrase that’s inherent in our culture and equates guts and grittiness with masculinity. Courage is knotted together with a man’s virility. His Nads. Bollocks. Nuts.

I can’t count how many times I’ve used this analogy myself. It’s something I never questioned and as a youngster I took it as a compliment if someone said I had balls for showing some mettle.

Yet it doesn’t sit as well with me anymore. As a woman I wonder why when a girl or woman shows game it has to be tied to manliness. Since when were only men bold?

I look around and see so much spirit and backbone in the women around me. Our society heaps judgments and standards on women that are not applied to men, and that demands we be strong.

I have single and childless thirty plus year old friends that cop offensive and nonsensical questions about why they are not partnered up and popping out sprogs.

As a mother I talk with other mums who share a sense of being held to a stereotype of what a mother should and should not do.  And we encounter resistance when we don’t fit this mould.

The sad fact is that many people don’t want to see women living in their strength. Women face ghastly violence and oppression the world over. Having their power extracted from them. In Australia alone, almost two women are murdered every week by their partner (or ex-partner.) It’s hard to fathom how entrenched this brutality against women is- holding the strength of men over that of women.

Connecting the seemingly harmless ways we speak to and about girls and women, to family violence might sound extreme. A long bow to draw indeed. But on some level it’s small things that add up to big things.

The narrative that women are weak and need to emulate men to show their strength…now that’s bullocks . Let’s start viewing girls and women as being inherently robust and hearty in our own right. Because we are. And we don’t need to be compared to a man’s ballsack when we show an act of braves.

Let’s be proud of what we do in all of our girly and womanly power!  Let’d do it like a girl. Let’s do it like a woman. And let’s be proud of that.

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