Words matter, words have power


Today I was watching the Little League World Series.  One of the players made a great play that resulted in a run, putting the team in the lead.  I was in the other room listening to the announcers.  One of the commentators complimented the player saying that this man was responsible for the putting Iowa on the score board.

While it was a great compliment.

But I was also struck, because in order to play in the Little League World series you are between the ages of 10-12.  However, there was no hesitation in calling this player a man.  I listened more closely and noticed the sportscasters would call them boys when they were referring to them as a team but when commenting on individual players they were either men or young men.

I found this contrasted some commentating I’ve heard for women’s sports, namely surfing.  Over the past year there has been a major shift and the surfers are referred to as women, ladies, athletes or surfers there are still some who see no issue with calling these athletes girls.

What really stands out is for surfing these women are professionals and with the Little League World Series, they are a ways off from professional status.

Admittedly there is a cultural difference in surfing and baseball.  But using language like young man or man gives validity to the career path.  Men have careers, boys have hobbies and past times.

Since I was younger, there has been a push to take charge of the word girl and make it a word of power.  However, there are still people who think it is nothing but cute how women are pushing to make the word girl powerful.  While all of this focus on making being a girl powerful, it is still an insult to call a man or boy a girl or accuse them of acting like a girl.  When the word girl is no longer thrown out as a way to put someone down, then we’ve made real progress.


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