Most of us remember Mo’ne Davis. She took the world by storm as she led her Philadelphia team to the Little League World Series as a thirteen-year old in 2014. Mo’ne was a pitcher and she threw hard (as a lot of players do at that age). What impressed me was she also knew how to pitch—what pitch to throw when, the control she displayed, how to set up betters. etc. Perhaps most impressive was the poise she displayed both on and off the field. All in all, it was heady stuff for a thirteen-year old.
The disappointing part was how the cultural prophets (in this case mainly the media), used it to serve their agenda that men and women are functionally identical. As a result, rather than this being a great story about a young lady having the time of her life playing a sport she loved, they did their uttermost to co-opt her into a trailblazer for the women are identical to men coalition. Melissa Issacson of ESPN had this to say,
Mo’ne Davis’ teammates described her as “the mother” of the team, but she’ll be remembered for being fierce. For being a leader. And for showing legions of young girls everywhere that they can do anything boys can do. Only better.
That perspective isn’t helpful to anyone. Not only is it wrong, it’s harmful because it places an unrealistic expectation upon her and other girls who hear and take to heart the message that they can do anything boys can. I’m sorry, they can’t. And of course, boys can’t do many of the things that girls can do. Comparing them or expecting them to be able to compete athletically is foolish and frustrating. It raises the bar to a level they’re not made to reach. This truth shouldn’t be difficult for the media to comprehend since in all the adult sports they cover men and women compete in separate venues. The Olympic Games have been doing that for almost two thousand years!
And what happened to Mo’ne Davis? She is going to Hampton University on a softball (not baseball) scholarship. Why? The answer is that while Mo’ne was close to her physical peak as a thirteen-year old, the boys all got bigger, stronger and faster. That’s what happens. We can only hope that she has not allowed the unrealistic expectations of others affect her and she still plays with the joy and enthusiasm of her Little League years.
God created both men and women to image Him (Genesis 5:1-2). They are equal though they are wonderfully different. The fixation some have that unless men and women are doing identical things, they are not equal is silly (as is the corollary that anyone who thinks otherwise is intolerant, hateful and bigoted).
This post has absolutely nothing to say about equal pay for equal work, educational opportunities or important issues like that. It is simply a common sense plea to get people to embrace the simple and singular truth that basic biology teaches us and recognize that being equal does not mean being identical. No matter how loud or prominent the voices might be pushing this idea or horrified that we would disagree, it is not being insensitive to recognize that the emperor is wearing no clothes. And when this is done is frees us to appreciate women for who and what they are in their totality rather than just in ways they might be like men.
Being a woman is a wonderful thing!