Competing Against Men?
Kudos goes to Kelly Kulick, who is the first woman to qualify for the Professional Bowlers Association Tour. She's a 29-year old from Union, N.J. who works in her father's auto-body shop.
According to the New York Times article about Kulick, published on June 15, some men in the PBA are upset at the idea of a woman playing on what has traditionally been a men's sport and a men's tour. The article goes on to quote Tommy Jones, a 27 year-old previous winner of the Tour, "I think every guy is scared to bowl a woman, because you don't want to be the first to lose to one."
This is obviously not the first time women have had to confront men's upsets when women show them up. Nevertheless, Kulick is a model for me of a woman going for her dreams in the face of sexism.
But why is it so important that women compete against men? Does it matter that a woman can "beat" a man? Or should we instead focus on "our personal best?"
I think it is important for women to compete against men sometimes. It's not that I want women to dominate or humiliate men. But competing against men in sports teaches a lesson about our personal power. It teaches us to not back down when men try to intimidate women. It teaches us about how to be brave in fighting the battles over important issues that affect all of us. It teaches us to learn to win, a goal that women sometimes don't feel comfortable with.
I want a women's perspective to be included where ever decisions are being made: In education, in the Jewish community, in local government, in international affairs-in every organization and institution that impacts our lives. Ultimately, women's influence will improve life for everyone, including men. I want more women to take on the nasty battles, instead of sitting on the sidelines and shaking our heads about how off-base male leaders can be.
The more women are willing to learn how to battle with men over important issues, and learn to ignore the temper tantrums and bullying men sometimes display when feeling threatened, the more victories we will experience in having our dreams come true.
Thanks Kelly, for inspiring us all.