Picture it. You’re in gym class. Palms are sweaty. Knees Weak. Arms are heavy. You’re in the middle of your school fitness test, trying to do a push-up. Finally, you hear it. A sign from gym class god. Your teacher says “Girls can do the girl push-up.” You breathe a sigh of relief as you drop your knees to the ground.
The patriarchy has done some terrible things, but all girls can admit, the girl-push up is a gift. No, a blessing. Sure, you’ve been catcalled before. Boys speak over you in class. But getting to put your knees on the ground during gym class mandated pushups makes it all worth it. Being disenfranchised your whole life because of your gender doesn’t seem so bad when you don’t have to feel the burning in the arms that normal pushups bring.
I remember the first time I was told what a girl push up was. Being raised by hard-core democrats in the Northeast, I scoffed at them, thinking “Who in their right mind would choose to do that? To seem weak in front of Jake and Tyler from gym class?” Then I wised up, and realized girl-push ups were the greatest thing the patriarchy has brought us. Sure, as women we have to deal with things like the wage gap, catcalling, not being able to go out alone at night, always covering our drinks, and other parts of systemic sexism, but my knees don’t have to touch the ground in gym class so who’s the real winner here?
Last week, I was on the mats at FitRec doing a group workout with some girls. They proposed doing one-minute intervals of pushups and I (stupidly) agreed. We got down on the mats and they started doing REAL PUSH UPS?! I asked them what they had smoked beforehand, because no woman in her right mind would pass up on half assing a pushup. But they said they were doing real pushups because “girls can do whatever boys can do.” Well no shit Sherlock, but just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Think smarter not harder.
There are definitely some other good things to come from the patriarchy. For instance, my dad never asks me to mow the lawn. But a push up is certainly on the top 10 list of worst things you could ever do to your body, so if a girl-push up gets me out of it, it’s automatically top of the list in my book.
Ladies, it’s not what you can do for the patriarchy, it’s what the patriarchy can do for you.