When I was about 8 years old, I entered into a foosball tournament that all the youth centers in nearby towns were competing in. It was a really big deal to me, because the winners got these huge shiny trophy cups. I really wanted to win, but unfortunately after about 8 games I was beaten in the final bracket by a girl who was a year younger than me.
I was obviously disappointed and got in the car with my dad at the end of the night to tell him how I came really close to winning. Before I could even finish talking about it, my father interrupted me to tell me that it was not surprising that I lost the tournament, because I was “in an environment of males” and because males were naturally more aggressive and competitive at everything, as a woman I would nearly always be doomed to lose. He said all this before I even got to the part where I actually lost to another girl, and a younger one at that.
Even at a young age, his explanation didn’t sit right with me. In fact, it made me pretty angry to think that even my own father, who was supposed to think I was smart and amazing, was just plainly admitting openly that I was not as good as some stupid boys.
It was one of the most infuriating events of my childhood, and even though it still pisses me off to look back on it, I have to say I credit it partially with introducing me to the idea of feminism and fueling my fire to be a high achiever.
(Also, I don’t think I’ve ever lost a game of foosball since. In fact, I get pretty unnecessarily ruthless.)