Selwyn Duke
"Sexism" at the Olympics? How's this: Why do women's sports even exist?
By Selwyn Duke
August 22, 2016

My, my, there those feminists go, complaining again. This time the whining concerns supposedly "sexist" Olympics coverage. Their problem?

Many journalists are, we're told, using different language when talking about female athletes than when speaking of male ones. Oh, the humanity!

There's the guy who credited a female swimmer's husband/coach for her success, the talk about a six-foot-three-inch South Korean woman volleyball player's difficulty finding a boyfriend, and a reporter who called an equestrian rider "blondie." Putting aside the female teacher who once called me blondie when I was 13, let's have a reality check. Do you really think sports commentators don't look for storylines, often infused with frivolity, relating to male athletes? And insofar as the treatment is different, so what? As even über-liberal Bill Maher once observed (I'm paraphrasing), "We have two standards because there are two sexes." But speaking of standards and differences, let's get to a quintessential feminist complaint in a recent (very) Lost Angeles Times piece about "sexist Olympics coverage."

Citing a Cambridge University Press study, writer Julie Makinen tells us, "The research, which analyzed multibillion-word databases of written and spoken English language, found that in general, men are referenced twice as often as women, but when the topic is sports, the ratio is about 3 to 1." Male athletes earn more money as well, which also irks the feminists.

Of course, this is much like complaining about how heavyweight boxers get more press than lightweights or, speaking of lightweights, like kvetching about Barack Obama getting more exposure than a state legislator from Lakeview. Has Makinen ever heard of "market forces"?

Yet there's a simple reason why men are referenced in sports three times as much as women – and if I don't say it, no one will.

Women's sports aren't exactly a quality product.

Oh, female athletes look great compared to a weekend warrior or a feminist scribe's writing. But how much coverage should they get? And if unequal press and pay are your bugaboo, here's a cause for you: high-school boy athletes get far less coverage than the women, and no pay at all. Is that fair?

Oh, there's no comparison? That's true, as the following illustrates:
  • In May, the Australian women's soccer team, the Matildas – ranked five in the world – played an under-15 boys team.

    The women lost – 7-0.

  • Lest you think this a fluke, the U.S. Women's National Team (ranked number one in the world) lost 8-2 to the under-17 U.S. boys' team in 2012. And these things actually happen all the time, everywhere, as the women regularly scrimmage with quality boys – and lose.

  • The world's best women's hockey team, the Canadian Women's Olympic Team, played in the Alberta AAA Midget Hockey League (boys 15-17) during the 2013-2014 season. They finished dead last.

  • The mile record for 15-year-old boys is faster than the women's world record.
Other examples abound, but the point has been made.

Now, given the above results, it's ironic that soccer's U.S. Women's National Team actually filed a wage-discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Can the boys file a complaint, too?

As for skill levels, there's a heck of a lot of daylight between boys whose voices recently cracked and top-tier men's competition. How many rungs down on the ladder are the women, really?

So with this perspective, let me rephrase my earlier question: how much coverage (and money) should a 10th-rate sporting realm get? (Is this Farxism {feminist Marxism}: from each according to his abilities, to each according to her moaning and groaning?) Answer: forget comparisons with the men.

It would be far more appropriate if women athletes got the coverage and pay of the 15-year-old boys.

Speaking of which, why is it that people watch women's sports, anyway (to the extent they do), instead of, let's say, watching superior high-school boys' competitions? Shouldn't better athletes draw bigger audiences than lesser ones?

Women's sports have the success they do largely because of political correctness. This has three basic effects:
  • There's a general feeling that since men have a vibrant professional athletics arena, it's only fair if the women do, too; this leads to institutional impetus to create, perpetuate, and subsidize (e.g., the WNBA) professional women's sporting opportunities.

  • Decades of feminism and politically correct portrayals of the sexes have led people to believe that female athletes are far better than they actually are. Do you really think women's sports would enjoy even their current limited commercial success if the average person knew their athletes paled in comparison to high-level high-school boys?

  • Owing to the above, professional women's sports are now institutionalized and, at least for some people, have become "a thing to watch." It's as with actors or singers. Commercial success requires not that you be the best (or second, third, or seventh best) – only that you have a market. This, of course, also explains the careers of most politicians and journalists.
Any complaint about sex inequality in sports should be met with one simple response: if the women want the men's press or purses, there's an easy way to get them.

Compete in – and succeed – in the men's arena. You'll be the talk of the town.

Isn't it a little odd, though, complaining about unequal treatment while supporting a system that's inherently unequal; namely, having separate and protected tours, leagues, and teams for women? It's a bit like forming a basketball league exclusively for short Jewish guys and then bellyaching that they don't command the salaries of the NBA stars. As The Federalist's Denise McAllister wrote last year, "If we're going to have equal pay, then we need to have equal play."

Instead, people just play at Equality™. Second-rate pay for a tenth-rate arena may not be "fair," but not in the way feminists think. And if they still don't agree, I know some 15-year-old boys they can talk to about that.

© Selwyn Duke


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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