"Do the players hit on you?"
There is one burning question that everyone wants to ask me about being the only female amongst 200 men on a daily basis. When someone finally gets the courage to ask me the question, it is invariably the same one. I'd love to tell you some dramatic story about how I had to work so hard to gain the players' respect and that there were many long nights of sobbing and carrying on (Insert sad music here). Unfotunately for the purposes of making this blog exciting....there was none of that. Not a single cat call or inappropriate look came in my direction.
How did I do it you ask??? "Did she have a security guard follow her around? ...Or did the organization threaten them with fines? ...Or, maybe it's because she's a lesbian...yes, that must be it. The players didn't hit on her because their efforts were futile!"
The answer is simple. I strove and still strive every day to be seen as a coach. Not as a man or a woman, but as a leader, teacher, athlete, strength professional, source of direction and a disciplinarian. None of those words have a female or male connotation. The secret to gaining respect as a female in a male dominated setting is achieving asexuality.
WHAT?!?! How dare you claim that it's best to get rid of your femininity to get the respect of males!!! (....I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR!!!) That's not what I'm saying, so all of you feminists out there beating your chest, just relaaaaax! I still wear nail polish to the field, it's just in the team colors. I still wear dresses and heels and make up, it's just away from the ball field.
When I am at work, I follow the staff dress code and try to go the extra mile to fit in with the staff. That entails men's sports clothing, a stop watch of some sort, men's sunglasses (No, I do not wear the latest Chanel aviators to the ball field), men's shoes, etc, etc. I don't feel that femininity means that I wear a pink stop watch around my neck and make sure that I have clothes that show my feminine shape.
Furthermore, if I want to be heard by the players, my clothing cannot be louder than my voice. My advice to you females out there getting into a sports profession where you will be working with mostly males is keep your femininity close to you, but remember that the masks that we wear, clothing, make up, jewlery, etc, should never distract from the message.