One thing is clear after reading the takeaways/questions from the Bridgeman reading: Guys, do not become athletic directors. Here are a few of the pull quotes from the men’s side of the sports aisle:
“Until women’s sports create a substantial fan base, I can’t see there being any changes in professional women’s sports.”
If the likes of ESPN are providing LESS coverage of women’s sports, and it was already paltry, how can “women’s sports create a substantial fan base?” It’s a chicken-and-egg proposition. If women’s coaches continue to dwindle in number, if salaries continue to be lopsided along gender (and racial) lines, if the number of women’s pro sports role models continues to number, oh, about five, this is asking the impossible. Isn’t it incumbent on society, including the media that reflect it, to expand opportunity? To expand that fan base, or at least to give it a fair chance at growing?
“I don’t think that not showing women’s sports is unfair; it is more of a demographic choice from media companies.”
As an economic argument, maybe. But purely economic arguments kept slavery alive, as well, which might be provocative, but not unreasonable to say. Women’s events such as the World Cup, figure skating as we read, and the surprise that women’s events outsold men’s during the Atlanta Olympics, and by a comfortable margin. There is demand out there. Think about what is televised, what does get its own network, the miniscule numbers these networks garner on the cable dial, and then consider what a legitimate commitment to covering and broadcasting women’s sports might look like and generate in terms of share and ad dollars. Some of these channels are in the low single digits, advertising little more than themselves.
“I don’t think women are treated unfairly in sports.”
- the money spent on the men’s side
- the opportunities for male coaches
- the pay on the men’s side
- the illusory “equality” demanded by Title IX
- the DECLINE in coverage of women’s sports
- the kinds and numbers of opportunities in jobs and industries in and around sports of either gender
It seems patently unfair, even unethical or immoral.
“I understand the fact that women want to be equal to men.”
I’m not sure that you do. They don’t necessarily want to be the same as men, equal in any sort of apples-to-apples comparison, but rather treated equally. This means equal opportunity, equal access, equal resourcing, meaningful equality. Women athletes in this country have none of these things, and they aren’t even close. And who is responsible? The men who run the athletic programs, the networks, the leagues.
Men’s sports are on “a completely different level of competition.”
No, they really aren’t. The competitiveness is the same. The quality and skill “levels” are the same. Different, of course, but not inferior in any way. But maybe I misunderstand “level” here.
“Women will always be in the shadows of men’s sports.”
Wow. If men continue to control access, you might be right. So step aside. Martin Luther King, Jr. had the imaginative power to see a better America. He had the vision, the intelligence and the courage to imagine meaningful equality as promised by this nation’s founding documents. Where is that vision, intelligence and courage with regards to women’s athletics? Don’t my daughters deserve to have the same quality and kind of hopes and dreams of, say, an 8-year-old Derek Jeter or 8-year-old LeBron? They do. So who will re-make this athletic world such that those dreams can lead to a life flourishing in a world of women’s sports?
“We have come a long way . . . but not close to where most women would like it to be.”
And what about you men? Don’t you care? I care. I care for my daughters, and for yours some day.
Men’s sports are simply “more entertaining than women’s sports,” “just what people want to watch.”
Bullshit. It’s about the money. I’ve cited cases where women’s sports out-perform men’s. More entertaining? Have you ever been to a Div. I women’s soccer match among Top 5 teams? I’ll take that over Hawks-Rockets ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. I’ve watched an awful lot of truly dreadful men’s competition over the years, and of course women’s, too. But there is NOTHING genetic or in any other category that precludes women’s athletics being as entertaining if not more entertaining than anything on the men’s side.
Well, gotta go get my daughter . . . FROM SOCCER PRACTICE. I’ll resume this later, but this should give us enough to chew on in class tomorrow.