The Seattle Times has a new article up today about a girl playing high school football: A battle for respect, then in the trenches: For Newport’s Jenna Martz, football is feminism
Off the bat there is the obligatory territory marking, asking the question we all are dying to have answered. What kind of nail polish should football players paint their nails with?
Pro tip: When playing football, use shellac nail polish.
It took losing whole fingernails at practice before Newport senior Jenna Martz found a coating as tough and innovative as she is on the football field.
The article exemplifies the dichotomy of feminist territory marking, with the competing objectives to:
- Be (like) one of the guys (experience manly pride)
- Mark all spaces as feminine (extinguish manly pride)
Martz wants to be treated like one of the guys, which means that other players can’t talk smack to her since that makes her feel like crying:
“… I just want to play football, man,” Martz said, not wanting to cry then or now in reliving the moment. “Can’t we just hit like that? If I get knocked down, I’m going to get back up. But if you’re going to be talking smack like that, what is the point?”
Some of the incidences were anonymously reported to Newport administration. Those players are no longer on the team…
In addition to having any boys who talk smack kicked off the team, a bit of chivalry makes sure she is treated like a lady:
Now, if people start targeting me or they say something, I just tell my teammates and either they help me handle it, or they go handle it. Because you just don’t let that happen to a teammate — whether they’re a girl or boy.”
But make no mistake, this lady is one of the guys:
Brotherhood and family
But what about the “Brotherhood” chant?
“I say ‘Brotherhood,’” Martz admitted. “But when they talk about me, they say ‘sister.’ You take it a little bit at a time and my players, my coaches are really respectful about that.”
And as one of the guys, she is there to mark the space as feminine, to make sure there is no place where men can be proud to be men:
“It was a big change for everybody and a learning experience,” Martz said. “We have some signs in the locker room that say, ‘I leave a place a better player, a better man,’ and I usually shrug it off, but with other things the staff says ‘person’ or ‘men and women.’ I don’t necessarily go out of my way to change it, but just my presence and having them know that it’s important to me, they change it and they talk about it to make it all-inclusive.”
Interestingly, Martz isn’t the only trailblazer in the family. While Martz was breaking barriers in her quest to become one of the guys, her brother was doing the same in his quest to become one of the girls:
Around that time, their middle sibling was also in the process of transitioning from male to female and finding her identity.
H/T The Question