Scoring for Liberty: Sports Are A Form of Body Shaming

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After much debate, I’m making a call right now: sports need to be banned from schools. In a world where so many children already feel ashamed of their bodies and have low self-esteem, requiring athletics in gym class is an act of violence that can permanently damage their self-worth.

Katie J.M. Baker from Jezebel explains how getting picked last in gym due to her body caused her to become a vindictive person:

“As a result of such perennial rejection, I never tried out for any sports teams or learned to do anything but grimly endure most forms of exercise, and, nearly two decades later, I still make up excuses when my friends invite me to join in even the most low-key and ‘fun’ athletic activities. There were deeper psychological repercussions, too: I grew into a rather bratty tween once it dawned on me that I could make people feel small with my words. (Just imagine if Napoleon grew up playing dodge ball.)”

Beyond the psychology behind being picked last in a team sport, athletics are constructed to be against overweight kids. They’re bigger targets and perceived as slow, so their classmates will target them first for tagging sports, or always be in situations where they feel that they’ve let down their team.

And if you’ve read this far into this article, congratulations. You’ve survived a potential SJW rant, and while this may seem like a hyperbolic situation, you would be surprised at the amount of keyboard warriors who will viciously defend a point that they believe to be truth beyond a doubt.

So, let’s deconstruct my opening bit of satire. While the proposed thesis was backed up with emotionally-laced narrative evidence (which is common among left-leaning arguments I find), the conclusion was not actually so far from the truth.

A study done by Brigham Young University education professor David Barney found that picking teams for P.E. class in private is better for students’ emotional states than having them publicly chosen by classmates, so it could very well be reasonable within the mind of someone with this mindset to conclude sports just shouldn’t be included in a school setting.

A psychology professor at the same university also found that kids who “[were] always the first kid to get pegged in dodge ball, or the one who was mocked for being ‘slow as molasses’” are less enthusiastic about fitness, and one participant stated that the teasing in P.E. “resulted in me becoming more fat and less able.”

So, our opponent has some solid sources behind their claim. This argument must be attacked at its conclusion in this case: the abolition of sports from schools.

Instead of demonizing those kids who enjoy gym at the sake of those who have been picked last consistently or teased, the school could change the structure of gym time and allow more opportunities to have singled-out students play independently or involve games where they can be successful.

Every other day could be dedicated to sports where the player challenges themselves, or the teacher could have a rotation of activities that allow the less athletic students to mingle with the athletes, while also allowing opportunity for independent personal fitness.

In my opinion, that’s what makes libertarianism so powerful; that we don’t want to restrict people in the name of fairness or dislike, but that the ideology calls for tolerance through finding solutions for unpleasant, non-aggressive acts that don’t restrict freedoms and allow people to be successful individuals.

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Luke Henderson

Since joining the Libertarian Party in 2016, Luke Henderson has been active in the liberty movement through journalism and political activism. Luke is an educator, composer of fine art and electronic music, and also contributes to Think Liberty, Antiwar.com and the Libertarian Coalition.

1 COMMENT

  1. That is the most pathetic shit I have ever read. Grow a damn spine, and realize you’re not always going to be good at everything. Sometimes you’re going to be downright shit! Deal with it. Life isn’t candy canes fairy floss. Jesus!

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