By remaining silent on women’s slam tennis — where the women get equal pay (prize money) for unequal work — feminists expose dishonesty about the gender wage gap.
Being silent on tennis prize money also puts feminists at odds with their view that women are as capable of handling combat as men are.
By Jerry A. Boggs
Ideological feminists say they believe in the idea of the sexes receiving equal pay for equal work. If they truly believed this, they would, it seems to me, at least make a show of arguing that in major tennis tournaments, the female players should do one of two things:
- Receive less prize money than the men because the women perform unequal work (they play only the best of three sets compared to the men’s best of five, receiving 100 percent of men’s pay for just 66 percent of men’s work).
- Or play the same number of sets as the men do — perform equal work for their equal pay.
How can tennis players who play fewer games be considered equally entertaining? Are baseball and football players who play fewer games as entertaining as those who play all season long? If someone is entertaining, wouldn’t you want to see more of that person and not less?
Instead, feminists say nothing about this gender inequality except to insist that female players have equal “entertainment value,” some claiming they have more entertainment value. When I unscientifically tested out the entertainment value among my friends, most of them, female friends included, said they prefer to watch tennis played by men, as they do with many other sports such as basketball, football, and baseball. Some suggested that a lot of the female tennis players’ entertainment value is derived from the beauty/glamor power possessed by such players as the attractive Maria Sharapova. (Attractive women’s beauty power means that while most people may prefer to watch males in sports contests, they prefer to watch females in beauty contests.) The “entertainment value” may also stem from the belief of some people that women’s tennis is more exciting because their performance expectations of female players is lower. When these people observe a female player playing well, they are perhaps surprised and excited — they experience the “wow” factor — because this level of expertise was not expected. (Today’s top female contenders, if they could journey back to the early ’80s, would trounce most if not all of the top male players, who hit the ball with only three-quarters of the force used by the women today.)
“Making the Women’s Game Exciting Again.” -on the cover of Tennis magazine, May 2010
By citing only the “entertainment value,” ideological feminists reveal that they believe also in equal pay for unequal work. That’s no different, really, from believing in unequal pay for equal work. While feminists claim to oppose working women’s unequal pay for equal work, their less-than-serious attention to the sexes’ tennis prize money endorses the concept of more work for equal pay for male tennis players. It also illustrates how these feminists, even as they complain that men undervalue women’s work, can undervalue men’s work.
“…[T]he women, who play three-set matches to the men’s best-of-five encounters, make more money per game than the men, and at last year’s tournament the top 10 women earned 4 per cent more prize money than the top 10 men, as they felt more able to play in the doubles and mixed doubles events, as well.” -Tim Phillips, the chairman of the All England Club, according to Australia’s The Age. [Emphasis by Male Matters] He should have known better than to take on “the ladies,” who have behind them the full force of feminists, the media, and just about everyone else. He should know that it’s not a matter of equality or what’s fair, but of what feminists believe they will get for women if they complain.
“We know what happened to Nalbandian [after his 5-setter]. He was toast.” -Darren Cahill, TV commentator at the 2011 Australian Open
By remaining mostly silent on the tennis-pay issue, feminists are also at odds with their belief that women are as capable of handling combat as men are. (Many women are indeed as capable. For the record, I believe the military should present a single standard for physical fitness tests, and send all who cut it to the combat front. If only one woman for every 20 men meets the physical qualifications, so be it; send her. The men will respect her instead of resent her for being in the military as a member of a privileged class allowed in under a lowered standard and allowed to compete with the men on equal terms for higher rank while avoiding equal risk.
If feminists believe women can cope as well as men with the incredible rigor demanded by combat fighting, then they are forced to believe female tennis players can handle the far less rigor of tennis on a par with the male players, and that the women can play the best of five sets, just like the men. By failing to argue this position in the media as they do all their other equality issues, they open themselves up to yet another charge of stacking the deck for women, of wanting women to have their cake and eat it too, of creating gender double standards, of deliberately alienating the sexes….
But then again, ideological feminists can be as deaf and unyielding as the men they have long blamed for obstructing progress for women. They seem unable even to hear such charges of unfairness, let alone respond to them.
Yet suppose the genders were reversed in the tennis pay issue. Suppose the male players received the same prize money for playing fewer sets than the women (imagine that!), and hence had enough energy left to play doubles and mixed doubles and earn even more prize money, as the women do now (as Venus and Serena Williams, for example, do in the slams). Feminists undoubtedly would regain their hearing in a millisecond and thunder their protests until the females either received more money or played fewer sets.
See — it’s easy, when you think about it, to flush out ideological feminists’ true mission: never mind equality; just demand what’s best for women. In tennis, demand that women get paid the same as the men for doing only 66 percent of the work.
See the related “U.S. Open Male Tennis Players Receive Unequal Treatment.”
Photo Credits: Maria Sharapova, Sports Illustrated; Roger Federer, TennisInDepth.com; Samantha Stosur, LiveTennisGuide.com