Upland High School

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Taking Down Female Expectations On The Mat
Posted by: Stacy Little Published: 1/17/17

By Michelle Mercado and Gabriella Campo-Poe, The Plaid Staff Writers

    Even though wrestling has been traditionally identified as a “masculine” sport, some of our women on campus are proving that stereotype to be false. From tackling their best friend to the floor, to helping each other fix their hair afterwards, the Girls’ Wrestling team just goes to prove that women can really do it all and never fail to impress us.

    McKenna Hutchison, one of the captains of our Girls’ Wrestling team, is petite in stature but the illusion shatters, once she steps foot onto the mat. McKenna said, “People get surprised but intrigued. And I think that’s really cool because a girl who is in soccer may be really good at soccer. But that’s it. Just soccer. It’s really common for women to play. But with wrestling, people take a step back and start asking questions because of how shocked they’ve become. A lot of people are still really receptive about it, as well. Even when I was the only girl on the Boys’ Wrestling team. At competitions, the guys on other wrestling teams will be really receptive when they see me, even though they don’t understand the dynamic of it.”

    McKenna has become extremely respected in the wrestling community here and even at other schools, while competing. She continues to break boundaries and gender roles in her community. Hutchinson said, “The thing is, there’s no such thing as a ‘masculine’ sport. It’s just getting yourself out there
in the first place. That’s what’s hard. And, especially when there’s a Girls’ team of the ‘masculine sport.’ It’s a perfect time to join because you don't have the down looks of the other guys. But honestly, I wouldn't even worry about it. Everybody is so receptive nowadays. It’s not a guy sport. It’s your sport. It’s what you love.”

    Anatli Smalley is also one of the Girls’ Wrestling teams’ captains. She is determined, driven, strives to improve in wrestling, and never backs down from a challenge. Even though a lot of time and work are put into wrestling, Anatli still manages to make room for those she loves and said, “I spend a lot of time with my family when I get to because I do have to spend a lot of time in the wrestling room”. Just like any other teen, Anatli has many hobbies that occupy her time, away from wrestling and school work: Smalley said, “I surf, play basketball, soccer, volleyball ...and spend time...drawing and playing the piano.” When asked to give a message to girls who desire to participate in masculine-stereotyped sports, such as wrestling, Smalley said, “I wouldn’t call it a ‘masculine’ sport at all, actually. I think that when women come into the sport, a lot of times we’re a lot more powerful and aggressive than some of the boys are. I feel like it shouldn't matter whether you're a girl or a boy. Our bodies both move the same and we can both handle the stress that it gives mentally.” There seems to be a special bond between the girl wrestlers that Smalley described as, “super close. It goes beyond friendship with all of the girls because not only is it a verbal relationship but it’s a physical relationship.”

     Even today, the societal division, which has been maintained throughout the generations, of what men and women should participate in, continues to plague our society and our mindsets. The Girls’ Wrestling team shows us that no one should feel like he or she is prohibited from doing what he or she desires, due to gender stereotypes.The girls expressed that no woman should feel pressured or dominated by men, in anything that society has typically classified as “masculine.” Everyone person, no matter the gender, should be able to do what he or she loves, despite what society has traditionally said.