Monday, September 10, 2007

Inequality in Women’s Athletics

Since passage of Title IX in 1972, women have enjoyed equal access to high school and college sports opportunities as their male counterparts: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." Okay, fair enough, women weren’t achieving symmetry with men in the number scholarships available, the choice of sporting programs was less, and they didn’t hit the television waves much. That is all changed today.

Today, women compete in lacrosse, field hockey, swimming, golf, basketball, tennis and softball. They play just about every sport except football and baseball. And who knows, that may even change down the road over time. Title IX has had its ups and downs over time, but it seems to be a good thing and has leveled the playing field. The playing field may be level, but the fields are still different. These differences confound Gadabout.

Why do woman only play 3 sets in tennis, while men endure 5? Is this because woman are weaker than men and don’t have the endurance to play 5 sets? Where is the equality?

Why are there red tees in golf? Red Tees are for woman. Red Tees are closer to the Green. Are woman so weak that a 50 yard advantage is required over men?

Woman play “softball” and men play “hardball.” Softball is played on a smaller field and uses a bigger ball. Why is this? Yes, it is fun to watch the hotties play for the National Title, but it is still softball.

I suppose that there are other examples of unequal playing fields, but my point is made. Woman demand equality, but they openly insist on advantages over men with the playing fields and rules. Equal? Not yet. Women need to try a bit harder in the future before high-five-in their “sisters.”


Anonymous said...

The women get a 15 minute head start for the RnR Half Marathon so they can finish at the same time as the men.

The basketball that women use is smaller and lighter than the one that men use.

Anonymous said...

Gadabout, I've played a lot of sports and I don't know any serious female athletes who "openly insist on advantages over men with the playing fields and rules." It's no secret that on average women are smaller than men and this generally translates into less strength. These differences account for most of the differences in rules you point out. Some rules are outdated, like the shorter tennis matches, but longstanding traditions are tough to change. There are plenty of people out there (men and women) who advocate increasing the womens' matches to 5 sets. I don't know about golf (which I think only loosely qualifies as a sport) but in most sports, when women and men meet on the same field, they play by the same rules. The "elite" women may start earlier for the RnR half marathon so they cross the line around the same time as their male counterparts, but their times are measured the same.
I could go on, but I should get back to work. Let me just finish by reminding you, Gadabout, of your dismal record against me in tennis!

Anonymous said...

Only because you admit that your opinions are "shallow and biased" will I go easy on you on this one. Women who have sought to participate in sports historically have been blocked by "the man". Men are the ones who then make concessions to let women play, but with rule and equipment changes and in leagues with only women.

In most sports the object is to propel one's body or some object. Men, due to genetics and natural god-determined hormonal influences, on the average are taller and have more muscle msss than women. Now I'm no engineer like the almighty gad, but don't longer limbs, i.e. lever arms, result in ability to generate greater force? Even with running, a person with longer legs covers more ground with each stride than a shorter person. Therefore the shorter person has to make more strides (work harder) to cover the same distance.

There are many women who have been able to compete with men. Unfortunately most girls when they want to play sports with the boys are discouraged by the coaches, their parents, etc. and usually give up. One of the greatest athletes of all time "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias (look her up on wikipedia) could outdrive all but only 8 male golfers of her time per Byron Nelson!!! and if you don't know who he is then just quit reading right now.

Growing up in the midwest there were stories on the news every summer of some girl who wanted to play baseball, not softball, and of course the little league gods would get in an uproar. Their argument was always that they didn't want the girl to get hurt playing with the boys. B.S. They didn't want little johnny to be "humiliated" when little chickie T struck him out, or better yet planted a line drive in his family jewels. The little league would then offer to start a girls baseball league, then a few days later state that not enough girls were interested so in never happened.

Many times in my own life was I given excuses as to why I couldn't play with the boys. I used to race on bikes against the boys in the neighborhood, and routinely won. Their dads complained to my parents, always with the "concern" that they didn't want me to get hurt. So my dad told me I couldn't race against the boys anymore. Unfortunately the girls in the hood didn't want to race, so I snuck and raced against the boys until my dad caght me and grounded me.

In 7th grade my friend Traci and I played playground hockey with the 8th grade boys. One day Sr. Regina our teacher told us we couldn't play with them anymore because we might get hurt. We told her we hadn't got hurt, and went through the litany of the 8th grade boys we had injured playing hockey. Being an ex-jock herself she finally told us that the 8th grade boys said we played too rough so they didn't want us palying.

On of my best friends from H.S. Tammy (R.I.P sista and high fives always) even as a sophomore could throw a football with a tighter spiral, longer, and more accurate than ANY of the boys on the Varsity team and would have played football in a heartbeat if they had let her.

Many times when we women are denied equal sporting opportunities we get some satisfaction in coaching or influencing men. The great major league catcher Tony Pena (Pirates, Cardinals, and others) frequently said that his mom taught him how to catch. This summer when visiting my 10 year old nephew, Jonny gusto, he told his baseball coach that I was his aunt who taught him how to be a catcher. The overwieight ignorant slob scoffed "Who'd you hire to teach him to catch", lucky for him my nephew was there, my nephew told him again that I had taught him, the coach just laughed and walked away. I might add for that game my nephew allowed no passsed balls and threw out 2 runners trying to steal 2nd, and hit a home run over the center field fence (but I did not teach him how to hit--that he comes by naturally).

To address the first anonymous poster: I bet that men decided to have women start the run to motivate the men to keep going. And as far as the basketball thing, that has only come about over the last 25 years or so and I'm not sure whose decision that was, but when I learned to play we used the same ball for boys or girls.

So I don't see women screaming for special concessions in athletics, just let us play!! We've let boys be cheerleaders, now let us girls play football and baseball or whatever we want. And one last thing boys, when we do beat you, don't embarrass yourself further by throwing around the "L" or "D" words. Most of us who like and play sports aren't and unless you're trying to get us into bed why does it matter?

Gadabout Jack said...

Okay, I guess I stirred the pot up a bit here. Good points all around.

Anonymous said...

BTW Gad, when I play golf I play from the red tees, probably as much because red is the color of my favorite baseball team--The St.Louis Cardinals. I always tell the guys I play with I don't care what tees they play from. But they never play from the reds. Could it be they need to keep an excuse handy if I beat them?

Women are slowly bresking the gender barriers in other professions, so hopefully sports won't be far behind. I'd also like to point out that it's not women who refuse combat in the military, it's the men making the rules holding us back! What are you boys afraid of? And because men historically have controlled the media and publishing I bet you Mr. military aviator don't even know who Jackie Cochran is and that IS a shame.

Anonymous said...

When I went through the obstacle course in flight school I had to climb a wall. The females didn't because too many couldn't and thus would not be able to be pilots/NFOs. Now this is a small example, but equality does not exist and is pushed by both genders.
My small town allows girls to play football and nobody seems to care. If they get hurt, that's their problem, just like any boy playing.
My wife was an excellent division I college athlete and ran a marathon faster than I ever will. The body size argument doesn't necessarily hold water because a smaller person has less mass to move and thus has less work to do (or expend) while moving that mass.
Overall, I hate this argument because there are too many bad examples of behavior floating around out there.


wheels_sends said...

my 15 yr old fastpitch-playing daughter would object loudly to the comparison made between baseball and softball. sorry, no comparison. finch and osterman would likely strike out 80% of pro baseball players from 43 feet.

how do i get TAFRN into bed?