For the Women Who Do Both

| September 17, 2018

For many girls, being voted homecoming queen would be the highlight of their senior year, but when Mississippi high school senior Kaylee Foster got the crown, her night was just getting started.

Foster was crowned homecoming queen Friday, September 7, and after taking a few pictures, she switched out her tiara for a football helmet. At the end of a tied fourth quarter, Foster kicked the game-winning field goal, finalizing her second win of the night.

Tiaras and touchdowns have little in common, but Foster has managed to navigate her high school years without sacrificing either of her passions.

In the 21st century, we often focus on increasing the number of women participating in traditionally male-dominated activities. Now, women have more opportunities than ever to advance into fields where their female ancestors would have been denied access, including sports, medicine and technology.

These advances are incredible, and as I woman I am so thankful to live in a world where I can vote, have a career and make my own life choices. Yet because of this push, women who choose to exert their right to participate in “masculine” fields can feel confined to a single path.

But the real focus should be on giving women the opportunity to do both, rather than making them choose between the two.

Kaylee Foster is an incredible example of a woman who can wear the crown and make the kick. She pursued the sport she loves without sacrificing the more traditionally “feminine” side of herself.

It can be hard to know what to pursue. For many women, this decision can be polarizing: either go for the “new” opportunities or stick with the traditional ones. But it should really be about increasing a woman’s rights rather than forcing her to pick just one path. This is no game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, where you pick one thing and hope you’ve made the right choice.

At that football game Friday night, a little girl was heard saying Foster is “the kind of girl I want to be,” according to the Washington Post. Now more than ever, it is critical for young girls to have role models to look up to. In a world constantly inundated with mixed messages, it is so important to show positive examples of women pursuing what they love in multiple areas of their lives.

Women can be “the kind of girl” who is a football star, a homecoming queen, a scientist, a mother and so many other things. Foster’s story is about opportunity, and how pursuing what you love does not limit who you are able to be. No either/or clause exists here, because choosing one thing to pursue does not mean everything else is now off-limits.

Let this be an encouragement. Life is not about picking a “side” or choosing one path. It is about chasing what you love, even if the things you love do not traditionally coincide. Women do not have to choose between the girly-girl and the tomboy.

Be the kind of girl who pursues what she loves regardless of expectations. Be the kind of girl who embraces her inner girly-girl and tomboy. And be the kind of girl that other girls can look to when they wonder who they should be.