Monday, February 21, 2011

Never hit a girl?

There is a piece up on American Thinker today about the high school wrestler who refused to fight a female opponent, forfeiting the match instead:

Their anticipated match was scheduled to take place this past Thursday, but Joel had other plans.  Stating that "wrestling is a combat sport (that) can get violent at times", Northrup came to the conclusion that "As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner." Sounds like a well-mannered kid, the type of guy you'd want to date your daughter, right? Well not everyone finds this gallant gesture praiseworthy.

The author of the AT article, Abraham Schwartz, goes on to discuss and quote from the criticism which has been poured upon young Mr. Northrup by, among others, ESPN writer Rick Reilly:

Enter Rick Reilly, the critically acclaimed, award winning columnist for ESPN. In his latest article  Reilly delves into the sixteen-year olds decision not to engage in violent sport with a girl.

Reilly writes "Does any wrong-headed decision suddenly become right when defended with religious conviction? In this age, don't we know better?'.
So Reilly isn't very impressed with Northrup's "wrong-headed decision" to decline fighting a girl.  He continues, "If the Northrups really wanted to "respect" women, they should've encouraged their son to face her."

This sentiment projected by Reilly is an indicator of how distorted the argument over gender equality has become. Since when is hitting a girl deemed ok, when did the forum of wrestling pardon such an act?

As you can see Mr. Schwartz is fully on Northrup's side in this matter.  His reason is summed up by these statements:

When a male teenager is told to wrestle a girl, to get into a secluded area with her and strive for one thing and one thing only; to hurt her, to bruise her, to cause her pain until it is clear that he has "won", well, that is the kind of win that should be respectfully declined. It is an accolade that defies respect, a trophy that has lost its luster.
If it is morally correct to advocate the beating of woman in a monitored setting, what makes one think that the feelings incurred during that "event" will wither away and die. What could make a person so sure that they won't carry over into real life, into relationships and friendships? Once a barrier is broken it is broken forever. An individual cannot pick and choose what human emotions will come out of such an occurrence.


No one is questioning the physical stability or self sufficiency of Cassy, Mr. Reilly. The issue that you fail to address is the effect it will have on Joel Northrup, and all those present. Just because a girl says "hit me" doesn't mean that one should oblige her. Cassy may be different than most girls but that doesn't change the fact that she is a girl. Hurting her physically would instill in Joel Northrup a predisposition of violence towards women.
And what about all the young children that would be privy to watching such a spectacle? Would they in their youthful innocence be able to differentiate between wrestling and real life, or would they walk away endowed with the harmful "knowledge" that men and women are to be treated in the same manner even when concerning using physical force?

Fighting a girl violated Joel Northrup's beliefs and so he declined to do so, forfeiting the match instead.  He was right to do so because as the Bible warns us it is a dangerous thing to violate one's conscience.  I support Mr. Northrup's decision to do what he thought to be right even though I don't agree with it.

In my view if a woman wishes to modify the social contract which dictates how men and women relate to each other that is her privilege as long as it is understood that the modified contract only applies to her and other females who choose to sign on to it.  And, most importantly, that she understands that she has given up every right to complain about the consequences of the new contract.  In other words if she wishes to engage in combat martial arts with men she has no right to bitch about getting her ass kicked.

What I really wanted to respond to, however, was not Mr. Northrup's decision but Mr. Schwartz's arguments in support of it.

To sum up Mr. Schwartz's position it would seem that he beleives that allowing boys and girls to battle each other physically even in a controled and refereed sports setting with strict rules to minimize the chance of serious injury would encourage the young men and any "innocent children" who view such a competition to believe that it was morally acceptable for men to savagely beat their wives and girlfriends.

I find this argument to be highly suspect.

Since Mr. Schwartz seems to believe that participating in athletic competition has the power to completely rewrite one's moral code then why does he sanction allowing men to engate in such sports with other men?  If Joel Northrup is in danger of wrestling a girl and emerging from the match with the conviction that it is OK to beat down any woman under any circumstance then why would he not feel the same way about fighting another man?

As for the "innocent children" who might witness such a match between male and female athletes if they are too young to grasp the difference between a refereed athletic competition and a real life then they should not be allowed to attend.  Just as they should not be allowed to watch boxing on television lest they also learn that punching other children in the face is an acceptable way to settle schoolyard differences.

I am not writing this to say that I think that it is a great idea to allow boys and girls to compete against one another in combat sports.  I just rebelled against Mr. Schwartz's defective reasoning.  If allowing Joel Northrup to wrestle a girl would transform him into a wife beater then allowing him to wrestle boys should also transform him into a violent brawler.  I don't think that Abraham Schwartz really believes that and push come to shove I don't think he really believes, deep down, that wrestling a girl would have turned Mr. Northrup into a future abuser of women.

I just think that the idea of the "wrongness" of men striking or doing any other kind of violence to women is so deeply ingrained into Mr. Schwartz that even allowing it to occur in something as innocuous as a high shcool wrestling match offends him to the core.  This offense caused him to dredge up a worst case horror senario which borders on hysteria and completely fails to stand up to logical examination.

There is an argument to be made for keeping boys and girls segregated in sports, especially violent sports like wrestling, but it isn't the one Abraham Schwartz made here.