On Saturday, Vanderbilt soccer player Sarah Fuller became the first woman to play in a football game at a Power-5 school, which include the most elite sports teams in the nation. Fuller kicked off to start the second half of the game in her only punt of the day.
Media outlets and celebrities alike ubiquitously decreed this to be a historic moment for the progress of women.
Failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted, “Thank you, Sarah, for helping to prove that women and girls belong on every playing field—quite literally.”
ESPN declared that Fuller had achieved “two-sport immortality.”
The Vanderbilt Football Twitter account wrote, “History made. Memories created. A nation inspired and captivated.” The account also called the event a “moment that we’ll remember for a long, long time.”
And The Guardian, announcing that Vanderbilt may continue to play Fuller after her debut, dubbed her a “trailblazing female kicker.”
Now, the Missouri Tigers ended up crushing Vanderbilt in a 41-0 stomping, and Vanderbilt’s head football coach was fired shortly after the game concluded, but for those proclaiming how historic Fuller’s kick was, these are minor details.
During her kick Fuller’s punt made it only about 27-yards before bouncing another three and being recovered by Missouri at the 35-yard line.
Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason defended the short kick, saying in an interview, “I thought she punched it exactly where she needed to punch it. Ball’s down at the 35-yard line. Let’s go.”
Mason said it was a “squib kick” which is designed to be shorter and lower, but harder for the opposing team to return downfield.
As anyone with a small bit of football knowledge will tell you, you don’t use a squib kick when you’re down 21-0 at the beginning of the second half. It is usually used towards the end of a half to run out the clock so the opposing team cannot run it back for a touchdown.
Nonetheless, is all the hype around Fuller’s kick really warranted?
Amanda Prestigiacomo, a writer for The Daily Wire, shared her thoughts on Fuller’s kick via Twitter.
“The beauty of our two sexes is the differences. Stop trying to erase them,” she wrote.
“Women don’t have to be like men or compete with men to be viewed as accomplished/equal. That’s degrading and insulting. We have different interests and strengths and different biology. Embrace, do not hide this.”
And Jordan Davidson writes in The Federalist that “Fuller’s kick was nothing but underwhelming.”
She adds, “Fuller’s expertise on her own type of field (soccer), however, is now overshadowed by empty words of affirmation and showy awards handed to her simply because of her sex… Labeling Fuller’s performance as spectacular is merely an exploitation of her gender by Vanderbilt, the SEC, ESPN, and anyone else who refused to simply call it what it was: mediocre at best.”
This leads us to an even more important realization.
Our culture often tells women they are important only when they’re doing things men do. Conversely, it shames masculinity and praises men for acting like women. In our “modern” culture, everything is upside down.
Just two weeks ago, liberals went wild when Harry Styles, a former member of the band One Direction, became the first male cover star for the fashion magazine Vogue. Pictured blowing up a balloon in front of a grassy field, his so-called historic move would not have been complete without the black and white dress he wore.
The message is clear: Men are at their best when they’re effeminate and indistinguishable from women.
The culture says that with Sarah Fuller, women are most empowered when they attempt to perform at the same physical level as men, but due to biology, aren’t able to.
And yet, men and women are distinct for a reason. Differences in biology, interests and goals should be celebrated, not feared.
Pope Saint John Paul II, one of preeminent defenders of the traditional family in the 20th century, wrote this in 1995 about the “feminine genius” of women:
“The creation of woman is thus marked from the outset by the principle of help: a help which is not one-sided but mutual. Woman complements man, just as man complements woman: men and women are complementary… When the Book of Genesis speaks of ‘help,’ it is not referring merely to acting, but also to being. Womanhood and manhood are complementary not only from the physical and psychological points of view, but also from the ontological. It is only through the duality of the ‘masculine’ and the ‘feminine’ that the ‘human’ finds full realization.”
Women are not just extraordinary or “historic” when they play with the men’s football team. They are extraordinary just by virtue of who they are created to be.
John Paul II concluded, “In all its expressions, womanhood is part of the essential heritage of mankind and of the Church herself.”
You can follow this author on Twitter @MettlerZachary
Photo from Denny Medley/REUTERS