I am white. I am upper middle class. I am a woman ‘of a certain age’. The first two things put me in a protective bubble. The third puts me in the corner. I can be ignored.
I was 13 or 14 when I first learned the power of not counting. Another girl and I joined a town soccer team. Back when high schools aged teams were just starting to be mixed. After the first practice, my friend never showed up again. I stuck it out. It was really awkward. I was uncomfortable. I hated practice drills. But I really liked playing soccer games. I was a halfback. I knew what the rules were and where I was supposed to be (so rare for me at that age) .
One game I went offsides. Not on purpose, but it happened. One of the boys on the other team pointed this out to the ref. The ref: She’s a girl, she probably doesn’t know the rules.
I was never a great, or even good, soccer player. I understood that part of sports was pushing the rules. But my soccer playing changed. I was a girl , I didn’t count and I could flout the rules.
It wasn’t the only time.
So that overweight, sometimes awkward, grey-haired woman over there? Might be more dangerous than you think.