I've got a friend who, at the tender age of forty-ish, has joined up with the rock'em, sock'em roller derby. She skates like quicksilver around the track and rams into other women with her shoulder, whether her opponent is still in play or not. She gets sent to the box and then sniggers about it on Facebook the next day. She is my hero.
After seeing Drew Barrymore's awesome film Whip It, I considered joining our local derby. I was attracted to the camaraderie and general sassiness it represented. The goofiness was also a plus. I imagined the fun of being part of a team, the thrills of speed, the rewards of skating like a demon in front of a roaring crowd... Then I imagined knee surgery and decided against it.
Not my friend. She is fearless. Daily she writes of her aches and pains with plucky cheerfulness. And her recently posted pics of herself as she cruises around the track, her eyes on the back of a toothsome girl with a blonde ponytail, teeth gritted, eyes ablaze with fury --she's downright scary. And, oh yeah: She took her down.
People like to think that girls don't have that "killer instinct." We belong on the sidelines of battle, ready to tend the wounds and wipe the sweaty brows of our brave fighting men. I myself have no interest in soldiering, but I think the assumption we often make about the docility of women might be a little off. In fact, some of the meanest, most aggressive, black hearted people I know have been women.
So let's hear it for the general bitchiness of our sex. Women are tough. Women are scary. Women are mean. Do not cross us. Or we'll shoulder-check you in the kidneys and gloat at you from the penalty box.