This past week an article in the New York Times caught my eye, “The Kicking Queen” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/sports/homecoming-queen-and-winning-field-goal-on-same-night.html?_r=2&hp

I get it. It’s a great story about a young woman who is the first woman to make the varsity football team in her hometown. She is a 4.0 grade point average student, treasurer of her class, and an outstanding leader to her peers. As a mother of two daughters I would be thrilled to have my daughters follow in her footsteps. I was proud of her, and I don’t even know her!

However, as I was reading through the article I felt mixed emotions about what her story represented for the progress of women. Yes, she was the first woman to make the varsity football team. But…why isn’t there a women’s football team? Not enough female participants, ok, I can accept that.

Then, I get to the part about her being named homecoming queen. How is it that we can have a young woman overcoming gender stereotypes to be the first woman on the varsity football team, and a successful participant at that, to then receiving some insulting award where she wears a tiara and walks arm in arm with the chosen king?

Doesn’t this seem counterproductive?

I feel like she is, or we are, as women, taking one step forward and two steps back.

She overcame so much only to show up on stage to take the arm of the king, in some foolish beauty and popularity contest. She even points out that if she were not playing in the football game, “she would have worn ‘a nice dress, a long dress, what the other girls had on.'”

As the mother of two daughters I can’t help but read this article and feel conflicted. I am happy for the young woman, but what kind of message are we sending our daughters by encouraging them to wear long dresses, make-up, tiaras, and hope that their peers consider them to the prettiest?

If you have a daughter and you’ve read this article, or an article similar to it, I would love to hear your thoughts? Am I being overly critical, or is this a valid concern?

It seems to me that this young woman has so much going for her, and is so confident in who she is and what she stands for, that she would be embarrassed to put on a silly tiara and prance around on some guys arm!