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Sexism in High School Sports

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

by Katherine Taylor

Throughout many sports, sexism is prominent, but where does it begin? As young children, many sports are co-ed as boys and girls don’t differ much in athletic ability. However, when kids hit high school, the school pushes genders in sports apart, arguing that boys seem faster or stronger.

The separation is most clearly seen in team names and mascots. Across the country, more feminine names are given to girls’ sports teams. Some high schools in Illinois were under scrutiny for their drastically different team names: the boys were the Dixon Dukes, but the girls were the Dixon Duchesses, and the Morrison Mustangs were alternatively the Follies. The differences can be less obvious, though. Point Loma High is one of many that has dubbed its female athletes “Ladies,” rather than sharing their mascot with the boys. For more on the “Lady Pointers,” see this article.

But the differences go further than the name. At Point Loma High specifically, there is a no-shirts-off policy during sports practice. However, the football team regularly plays games such as “shirts versus skins,” where wearing no shirt is required. Girls, though wearing a sports bra under their shirts for most athletic activities, would not be allowed to play such a game. I saw recently the girl’s soccer team in a scrimmage against themselves, the two teams wearing either jerseys or pinnies. Similarly, during the fall pep rally, the boys’ water polo wore their Speedos, but the girls’ water polo team is not allowed to wear their one piece suits that cover much more than the boys.

This segregation in high school carries on into our adult lives, and only becomes more serious. Separation at this level primes us for more detrimental differences in the future; we may get used to this discrimination by the time we have careers. If we can eliminate these differences in high school, women won’t be tolerant of inequality and can continue to fight for equal rights and privileges.


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