There's a widespread notion that little girls have it pretty tough.... the deck is stacked against them. Words like 'bossy' or calling them 'pretty' are enough to crumble their childhood desires to be an industry leader in, say, banking. I was at the State Fair in Milwaukee today and my 6 year old son was on this trampoline with a bungee harness on him. Next to us was a little performance floor where this lady had a dog performing tricks in front of a small set of bleachers (like 6 rows deep) with a maybe a bit over 100 people watching on. My son wanted to go their next. While he was bouncing in the air I overheard this lady say "who thinks the boy can throw a frisbee better than a girl?!" which was greeted by a mild roar of boos.... and then she followed with "who thinks this girl can throw a frisbee better than him!?" which was greeted by a fairly loud cheer of "YEAH!!!". I had no more context than that so I didn't really care. I didn't see how old the boy or girl were... heck, maybe they were part of some bigger show with the dog doing tricks and the boy being a foil to it and the girl being the hero. I didn't know enough and I didn't really care at that moment. My son gets done with his bouncing and we head over to the dog trick floor. The two kids had finished throwing the frisbee to the dog and the lady who was hosting it said "let's hear who wants to cheer for the boy".... a low murmur of boos and some laughing. Then, "who thinks the girl did better??!" and a loud roar of approval. I look to see and it's just some random boy and girl. The boy was no more than 4 years.... the girl looked to be maybe 6 at best. He was standing there with his head bowed looking embarrassed. It still hadn't really sunken in yet. The performance floor had a small picket white fence around it (maybe 3 feet high) and children were allowed to go up to the fence, while parents and adults had to sit on the bleachers. The lady starts the show over having the dog jump through some little hoops.... but then she brings out 2 frisbees and says "is there a little boy and a little girl who would like to throw a frisbee for (whatever the dog's name was)". So again she has a 4-5 year old boy and a girl (5-6 years of age) and now it's dawning on me that this is just part of the skit she does. She starts the same way "who thinks a boy can throw a frisbee better than a girl?".... not a fucking peep so I yell out "YEAH!" and she replies "wow... uhhhh…. that's a first. Well you at least got one" (she says this to the little boy). Then with the girl and a loud cheer for her. Goes through the whole routine of having them throwing a frisbee to the dog to see which frisbee the dog can catch (boy or girl)….. the dog doesn't catch it any time it's thrown. The lady makes a few joking comment about how it's purposely dropping the girl's throws because it's a boy dog. Then she does the whole "let's cheer on who did better"..... the little boy looks kind of stunned at having to face the audience. Then he gets booed, he drops his head, runs to the fence to have his mom pick him up over it. Then the girl gets cheered on. This isn't new. When I saw this playing out I know that I've seen scenarios like this before and have rarely gave it a moments thought. Initially I was just glad it wasn't my son who got called out there to get booed by a crowd because I know it would have bothered him quite a bit. But this was so commonplace that no one in the stands (aside from me) thought there was anything amiss with this. While we're told how detrimental it is to a little girl's mental wellbeing to say "bossy" or call them "pretty" and a whole litany of words that phrases that are verboten.