Breaking the Social Norms

In high school, even though all sports are open to all students, some such as wrestling and weightlifting are traditionally male dominated. Both wrestling and weightlifting often use upper body strength, which makes a guy more likely to win, so it appeals more to men than women. The girl athletes who participate in these sports often receive different reactions compared to a boy participating.


Keilee Gawking

Myla Deford, an FPC girl wrestler, said, “I often receive the same reaction when someone finds out I’m on the wrestling team. Most of the time it is silent for a second and then the person looks me up and down and they ask me ‘really’? I am 5 foot, blonde hair, blue-eyed girl, I understand their reaction.”

Keilee Gawking, an FPC girls weightlifter, said, “If I tell someone I weight lift they’re going to be like ‘how’s that work for girls’ or ‘don’t get too bulky’, but it’s not about that.”

Girl wrestlers and weightlifters don’t necessarily receive a negative reaction, but more of a surprised one.


Myla Deford

“My first year wrestling I felt very anxious about being in a sport dominated by guys. The only memory I have of being discouraged about this sport was my very first day of practice a majority of the guys on the team were looking down their noses at me (They thought I would complain and whine about practices). That first day was the last day they would look down their noses at me,” Myla said.

To boys, girls may seem weaker which means they probably whine when things get too hard.

Myla continued, “Within five minutes of practice starting I had pinned a guy and another within ten minutes, when I say you could hear a pin drop when I pinned the kid is no exaggeration. After the team learned that I would not whine or complain and was willing to put the effort into the sport I was accepted into the wrestling family.”

In most cases, women who compete in a male dominated sport put out the same strength and initiative as her counterparts.