Well, after watching bits and pieces of the World Track and Field competition in Edmonton, I've started to wonder what you all think about sports and gender.
World records for women are consistently lower than those made by men. Should we just accept that women's bodies are, on average, smaller and weaker? Or is it unfair that women and men are judged by different standards? Should men and women ever play on the same team in professional or amateur-competitive sports? Or is this one place where gender segregation is necessary?
As a female that plays hockey competitively, I think that the gender segregation is a good thing. Just last week we had a player/parents meeting with the coach and he emphasised that shooting in girls hockey is what is lacking a lot. If you look at guys hockey, all those guys have amazingly hard shots due to all their muscle mass and weight and all that fun stuff (cuz the real hard shot come from shifting your weight into the shot).
Plus, in general, once guys hit puberty it is so much easier for them to gain muscle and weight (or lose weight, if that's the case) whereas girls really have to work hard to get muscle (and I'm darn proud of mine!).
Just a quick note on differences in girls and guys hockey ... I've heard so many comments that girls hockey is boring to watch (from my brother, oddly enough) because there's no checking. Last winter I went to see a guys high school hockey game and I don't think anyone skated more than 20 feet without getting checked. For some reason, that doesn't seem like a good game to me where the flow is being interrupted by checking.
In general the answer to your questions is yes. To put it statistically, there is a meaningful difference in the average athletic performance of the genders. However, both genders have a large standard deviation in performance. Assuming that both are normal (bell shaped) distributions, the extreme high end for males will be higher than the extreme high end for women. However that does not mean that an idnvidual woman can not out perform a given individual man (ie Venus Williams could wipe my butt all over the tennis court, however it is highly unlikely that she would be consistently able to beat Pete Sampras, Bobby Riggs was 56 years old when Billie Jean King beat him in their famous match, and the year before he was able to beat Margaret Court who was also one of the top female tennis stars of that era). I think that women should be allowed to compete on what ever team they are capable of playing on. However, that doesn't mean that we should do away with womens teams, since if say a school only had one basketball team, open to both sexes, very very few women would be able to play (there would be some but they would be very exceptional athletes). Put another way, the WNBA is fine, and the NBA should be open to women, but don't charge it with discrimination if most teams remain all male. Also don't get upset if more people want to watch the NBA than the WNBA, and as a result players there make more than players in the WNBA. In some sports, the womans game is as popular as the mens game (ie tennis) and as a result the amount the players make is roughly equal. personally I think that for most people, the person you ultimatly are competing with the most is yourself, trying to always improve and capture your personal best.
Posts: 475 | From: ohio | Registered: May 2001
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I think that gender segregation isn't necessary here, but any form of affirmative action would be a mistake. In short, women should play with men when they're physically capable of doing so. Anything else could be put the women in some danger.
But, honestly, the ability of the athletes isn't usually what turns me on to sports. I like competitive sports. I'd rather watch a high school football game where the athletes are enjoying themselves, and the game is close, than watch a Super Bowl where the athletes are just trying to make the next morning's edition of Sportscenter.
Similarly, I'd rather watch women's or college basketball, where egos don't get in the way of the game, than watch the NBA, and see multi-millionaires complaining about this or that.
------------------ "...we're all thinking the same thing/let's not settle for satisfaction/we are women and men of action/let's stop clapping let's start doing/a dream for the teens and in-betweens and twenties yet unseen" -Braid
Duz, i basically agree with you. The most exciting sporting event I have ever seen was the state semi-finals for 6 and 7 year old girls in soccer. Tied at the end of regulation, it went to a 5 min sudden death overtime with no goalies, still tied, it went for another sudden death overtime, before finally being settled in a shoot out. Of course the fact that my little girl was on the field had a big role in makeing it so exiciting for me. But both sides played their hearts out and it was insipring to watch. The fact that her team eventual won made it great (they went on to lose in the finals).
Posts: 475 | From: ohio | Registered: May 2001
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I think it really depends on who is playing and at what level they're playing at and what sport they're playing. When I was a kiddo I had to play on boy's soccer teams because of my older brother, and I really sucked, and it was an okay experience. But I probably would have sucked even if I was playing on an all girls team. I did eventually play on an all-girls team when I was 13 and it was much much better. But one day we had to play a team of 15 y/o's that were these amazon warriors and it was horrible. We would have been better of playing boys, quite frankly.
I was on a swim team for a long time too, and a lot of my times were just as good or faster than boy's times, but I didn't get to compete against them, because I was a chick. I'm sure that the gap in our times would have been much bigger if we had been competing at an Olympic level.
So...what I'm trying to say is that within every sport theres an advantage for one of the genders. Synchro is a predominatly female sport because girls tend to be more flexible and our lines are prettier in the water, it looks better, therfore you get more points for performance. Then again it's easier for men to do shot put because they can gain upper-body muscle mass easier than females can.
So within every sport there are criteria, and of course it's different for each individual. I think it would be great if there were also a co-ed league that you could join if you wanted to, as well as males and female.
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This person is a natural product. The slight variations in color and texture enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws or defects.
Good point, Bobo. I think dividing sports classes by weight or height instead of gender could be one way to address the situation...
Posts: 582 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Aug 2000
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She notes that a woman recently qualified to become the first woman to play in a Professional Golfers' Assocation Tour event. Playing would make big-time waves, and she's still considering it.
She also makes an interesting argument that men shouldn't be allowed to play on women's teams and in women's events, until women have reached sports equality with men - funding-wise, exposure-wise and physically.
------------------ "Love is blind, and I don't blame her/'cause lately I ain't been too much to see/I'd ask a girl home, but I'd have to pay her..." -Old '97s Ray Charles
For those of you who don't bother to read the article, Hayley's going to play on Saturday with a second-division men's team in Finland. This will be the first time that any woman has played professional hockey with a men's team, goaltenders excepted. This is significant, because there is no major women's league in the world that plays with body contact, so Hayley's going to be the first woman to *really* mix it up with the boys on the ice.
She's got guts.
Here's another article about Hayley, but what's interesting about this article is the sidebar at the bottom of it, where the physical advantages and disadvantages that she'll have, compared to the men, are broken down at the bottom.
------------------ "Just remember you'll only be the boss so long as you pay mywage!" -Elvis Costello, Cheap Reward
quote:Originally posted by Rizzo: Should we just accept that women's bodies are, on average, smaller and weaker?
I disagree with the idea that women not being so good at these sports means they are physically weaker. They just have different physical strength. If you think about it, a lot of sports are based on the kind of activities that males would have in our evolutionary past (chasing prey, killing each other, stuff like that), so it stands to reason that men would excel at these sports. Also, these sports were mostly designed by men, for men to play, so they were probably invented with activities that men are good at in mind.
I don't think women are physically weaker, but have different strenght. We tend to live longer, which shows our hardiness and resistance to disease, which is a kind of strength. Also, we can give birth. I can't think of any of these male dominated sports that require that much effort or strength.
Golf's premier female player will play a PGA (men's) tournament in May. Annika Sorenstam will play the Colonial tournament in Fort Worth, Texas. Opinion seems to be split down the middle on how she'll do. Some commentators are expecting that she'll place respectably among the field, which will include some of the best male golfers in the world. Others still, say that she risks performing very badly, and in the process, losing all sorts of respect for women's golf in general.
I'm not a close enough follower of professional golf to have an opinion on that, but I know that come May, I'll be watching the leaderboard.
(I'll also be hoping that she absolutely embarrasses some of those arrogant, spoon-fed, hard right-wingers that play on the PGA Tour.)
------------------ You can twist his body 'til it faces backwards/Those plastic features/You could make somebody a pretty little wife/But don't let anybody tell you how to live your life. -Elvis Costello, Tear Off Your Own Head (It's a Doll Revolution)
Living is not the same thing as playing sports (regardless of what the Nike commercials say). And while women's strengths are different from men's, many of those strengths are not isolated on the sports pitch (unless Relay Parturition is a new event on ESPN2).
In most sports, things like running speed and lifting strength matter. And while I've increased my ability to bench press from 65lbs to 80lbs, that still pales in comparison to the dude next to me at the gym who is benching twice my weight in iron. And while I can run a 9 minute mile, there are folks who easily do it in 4. Guess what! A lot of those people happen to be male.
So as Rizzo asked, " Should we just accept that women's bodies are, on average, smaller and weaker?" Yes, I think so, and as such women will probably have a harder time opeting in sports at the same level as men. But at the same time, acceptance is not the same thing as resignation. Women have strengths that men don't have (like flexibility -- with the exception of a few male gymnast friends, it's common with my guy friends to struggle with touching their toes); I don't think smaller and weaker is necessarily a shortcoming.
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Posts: 12677 | From: Los Angeles, CA ... somewhere off the 10 | Registered: Jul 2000
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quote:Originally posted by Gumdrop Girl: And while I can run a 9 minute mile, there are folks who easily do it in 4.
Thank you, thank you.
quote:Originally posted by Dzuunmod: Others still, say that she risks performing very badly, and in the process, losing all sorts of respect for women's golf in general.
That sure seems harsh, doesn't it? I can't really see that happening. I'm not a golfer, but I've seen some highlight clips of Sorenstam and she seems pretty stellar. And even if she doesn't do so well, what the heck? She qualified for a men's event and has every right to be right up there. Coming from someone who has no chance of ever doing the same thing, I'd say that's a huge honor no matter how well she does.
quote:And while I've increased my ability to bench press from 65lbs to 80lbs, that still pales in comparison to the dude next to me at the gym who is benching twice my weight in iron.
However, you could with a little training likely easily outdo him with leg presses, because while his body is likely naturally inclined to have greater upper body strength, yours is inclined to have greater lower body strength.
Smaller? Maybe. Weaker? I don't buy that. Men and women have different bodies, different centers of gravity, and different general areas of strength. I'm not comfortable -- speaking physiologically or socially -- saying weaker, because I just don't find that to be so.
"On January 29 and 30th, President Bush’s Commission on Opportunity in Athletics will vote on sweeping and debilitating changes to Title IX’s regulations on women and girls in athletics. The Commission for Opportunity in Athletics is stacked with Title IX opponents and stands ready to eliminate Title IX’s long-standing measures of equality. The “reforms” the Commission is considering would permit educational institutions to treat women athletes like second-class citizens. Women and girls stand to lose between 148,000 and 1.4 million opportunities to participate in sports and between $75 and $188 million in scholarship dollars. The Commission has also suggested requiring women and girls to prove their interest in sports in order to be given opportunities to participate. "
So, it seems that Annika did okay, but not great this past weekend when she played golf against the men. Analysis here, not to mention a million other places on the web.
She played just well enough that it's hard for the male supremacists of the sports pages and call-in shows to take shots at her, but she didn't overwhelm anyone, to be sure.
In a field of 110 men and 1 woman, she finished in a tie for 96th. She didn't win any money, but there are certainly 11 golfers that she finished ahead of who you would think have some respect for her now.
She says that she's not a feminist, and her playing in the tourney wasn't a feminist act. She also says that she won't do it again - it was a one-time thing.
I think that within 10 years, there will be a female tournament winner on the PGA Tour.
------------------ ...and we raise the white flag, so they can paint it red and blue! -Joel Plaskett, True Patriot Love
I'm bumping this to note that it looks as though certain transexuals are going to be allowed to participate in the Athens Olympics in 2004.
Male-to-female transexuals will be permitted to participate in women's events as long as they are a year removed from their gender reassignment surgery, and vice versa.
Any thoughts on this? I think this is pretty interesting. Of course, transexuals who haven't had surgery yet, if they wish to participate, will have to do so in events for the sex they had at birth, and I can't really argue with that.
One thing I'm wondering about though, is that testosterone is a banned substance - so for men who become women, this could pose a problem, no? Most of the competitors will likely have significantly lower levels of the hormone, won't they? Won't the MTFs have an advantage, then?
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