16 thoughts on “Throwing Like A Girl

  1. The data seem to indicate that girls are encouraged to participate in sports:

    “[Don Sabo, a longtime youth-sports researcher and a professor at D’Youville College in Buffalo] queried a research sample of 2,185 students in 2007 for the Women’s Sports Foundation and found that 75 percent of boys and 69 percent of girls from 8 to 17 took part in organized sports during the previous year — playing on at least one team or in one club…. Of all the kids in America, very few have not played sports. In the survey done by Sabo for the WSF, only 13 percent of boys and 18 percent of girls between 8 and 17 had never joined a team or club, had never shared the experience of getting a uniform, practicing with teammates and running onto the field or court to compete.”


  2. anon’, Stacey Goguen will probably have a better response than this, but let me remark that “playing on at least one team or in one club” does not seem to me to be evidence of encouraging. Further, my participation in girls’ basketball and softball certainly left me throwing like a girl. Heaven forbid that I should have gone to the corner lot to play hardball! My parents’ were already traumatized by my being smart and bookish.

  3. @annejjacobson: The data reflect contemporary phenomena.

    As someone deeply involved with competitive girls’ soccer, I can assure you of the commitment, skill, intensity, and encouragement on display. Many of these girls might still “throw like a girl” because they have been focused on soccer (from as early as age 8) and haven’t played (as running-oriented athletes, they often have little interest in) baseball or softball. Generally, competitive youth sports is in an era of early specialization.

    Girls’ soccer is a good indicator of encouraged participation because it’s a mainly suburban phenomenon — which isn’t possible without parental investment (time and, at club level, where most serious players are, substantial money). A lot of suburban girls have played some organized soccer.


  4. Nah, I don’t really have a response. I’m not that interested in talking about the somewhat simplified version of the claim on this cartoon, when there’s lots of more nuanced and interesting formulations that can be found with a basic google search.

    I just thought the cartoon might be funny to people who are already aware of those other formulations.

  5. Apparently girls raised in a society (an aboriginal Australian society) that have consistent rates of throwing practice across genders still face a substantial discrepancy in throwing velocity, even before puberty. After puberty the difference in throwing velocity and distance is massive:

    “The overhand throwing gap, beginning at 4 years of age, is three times the difference of any other motor task, and it just gets bigger across age. By 18, there’s hardly any overlap in the distribution: Nearly every boy by age 15 throws better than the best girl.”


    Of course, whether boys are better on average at throwing (even if its by nature) ought not have any impact whatsoever on the extent to which we encourage girls to participate in whatever sport they want.

  6. @Stacey Goguen: Apologies for introducing information you find uninteresting. My intention was not to distract or derail. News that girls (in the U.S.) evidently are now encouraged to participate in sports would seem welcome. That’s what I found through “a basic google search,” which is consistent with what I’ve encountered through direct experience.

  7. “Throwing like a girl” has almost nothing to do with velocity, particularly average velocity or top-end velocity.

  8. Reblogged this on Philter and commented:
    I wait for the day that somebody says “you throw like a girl” and the person addressed takes it as a compliment.

  9. Or maybe, people will just say “you throw well” and leave gender out of it altogether.

  10. If there’s one thing that inculcates in children competitive, winner-loser, us-or-them capitalistic values is sports like baseball (as depicted in the above cartoon).

    Wouldn’t it be better to leave such sports in the dustbin of history and dedicate ourselves and our children and our grandchildren to non-competitive physical disciplines (which are excellent forms of exercise) such as t’ai chi, yoga, multiple forms of dance and gymmastics?

    Paradoxically, the non-competive physical disciplines are traditionally seen as more
    “feminine”, but actually, patriarchal society left some of the best things in life to the girls and the wimps (I’m one.).

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