A November 2012 comment regarding Title IX by “Robber748″ in response to “Women’s athletics given stage to shine at Western:”
I would like to comment on your column “Women’s Athletics Given Stage to Shine at Western” in the November 6th Western Front. I found it very one-sided. I would like to express another side.
You seem quite concerned about women. But that concern does not seem to cross over to men. What about the men at Western who would like to play football? Or volleyball? Or baseball? Do you care about them at all? Are you being sexist? Is it chivalry? Chivalry has no place in a world with equality of the sexes.
I think we can all agree, whether we like it or not, that men are generally raised to be strong, independent, and not to complain—to be macho. Women, not so much. Women are much more likely to complain—about anything. And since the squeaky wheel gets the grease, women are much more likely to get more “grease” than men. I think this has happened regarding Title IX. Women have singled out sports for complaints of unfairness. And as a result, they have received more benefits than they deserve—resulting in unfairness to men. After all, athletics are about the only extra-curricular activities where men outnumber women. Why single out the prominent activity with more men? Most other activities have more female participants than male. No one complains about predominantly-female activities, not even men. Fairness should be the basis of Title IX, not who complains more.
Title IX is largely enforced in athletics with proportionality. For example, if a school’s student population is 55 percent female, then 55 percent of its athletes must correspondingly be female. This sounds fair, except for one fact—women, generally, are not as interested in sports as men. Schools have had trouble recruiting female athletes. As a result, schools have found that to satisfy proportionality, they must cancel men’s sports teams because of women’s lack of interest. (For example, UCLA dropped its men’s swimming and diving programs—programs responsible for 22 Olympic medals.) Can you imagine this happening to activities where women have more interest? Imagine that the Art Club, or Debate Club, or Dance Club, or Drama Club have to eliminate several girls or women because not enough boys or men join.
Women bragged about the fact that American women received more medals than the men at the London Olympics. I would argue that this indicates that Title IX has gone too far. Men’s athletics programs are suffering and Title IX is hurting the competitiveness of American men in international competition.
One proposal to minimize this problem of lack of interest of women in sports was to include cheerleading as a sport. But women’s groups rejected this proposal. This makes me wonder about the real motivation of women’s groups concerning Title IX. Perhaps they are more interested in hurting men than being fair.
Title IX is not restricted to sports or extra-curricular activities. But keeping with the theme that “women complain more,” Title IX is starting to show up, unfairly, in the academic arena. For example, the National Women’s Law Center has complained that Vocational Education is biased against women. They contend that men are steered to the higher paying occupations like plumbing, and electronics while women go to lower paying occupations like cosmetology and daycare. I would argue that this again is more a matter of interest than discrimination. Men and women are free to choose whatever vocational education they would like.
Women’s activists also complain about the lack of women in engineering, math, and science. They have encouraged programs to help girls and women in these areas. Yet, there are no corresponding programs to increase male participation in nursing, psychology, etc. Once again, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. This hypocrisy is even worse when you consider that 57 percent of college students these days are female. Oddly, I have not heard women complain about this imbalance. Well, I take that back. Some women have complained about the lack of men in colleges because it restricts their dating possibilities.
And why are there so many Women’s Studies Programs? What does Title IX say about these? Nothing, really. Even though men have very little interest in Women’s Studies classes, the programs are perfectly acceptable because men are allowed to attend, even though few do.
This points out the problem with Title IX. It seems to me there are two ways to comply: “separate but equal,” and “equal access.” Women’s Studies, vocational education, science classes, and non-athletic extra-curricular activities are “equal access”—both men and women can participate in one program. Athletics is “separate but equal”—separate programs for women and men. I believe the problems with Title IX could be solved by switching athletics to “equal access.” Just as “separate but equal” did not work for race, it also does not work for gender. So, instead of separate women’s and men’s basketball teams, schools should just have one team made up of the best players, male or female. This would end questions about proportionality, men’s competitiveness in the Olympics, and whether cheerleading is a sport. (Unfortunately, I do not think it will solve the gender imbalance in complaining.)
I imagine women’s activists will not accept “equal access” athletics. But I think it makes sense. “Separate but equal” teams were probably the way to go in the 1970s. Men and women bumping into each other and competing were not acceptable back then. Plus girls did not grow up playing sports and were just not athletic. But girls have had 40 years to play and gain expertise in sports. And boys and girls competing against each other is not so foreign now. Movies, TV, and commercials constantly show women besting men in everything. Is it all a lie? I think we are ready for “equal access” athletics.
If women complain that few women will be able to make the team, well, welcome to the club. They can do what men do that are not good enough—play intramurals. I do not understand the idea of separate teams anyway. Sure, women are generally not as athletic as men (Olympic records show men are generally about 10 percent better than women) but we do not form separate teams for other less-capable groups. We do not form separate basketball leagues for people under 5’8″. There are no baseball teams for cross-eyed players with poor depth perception. We do not have an Olympic marathon just for smokers. Or 4-man bobsled competitions for claustrophobic people. There are no sumo wrestling leagues for people under 150 pounds. We do not have boxing matches for boxers who have slow twitch muscles. Why do we make exceptions for women? It is sexist.
Though Title IX is perfectly fine legislation, its enforcement is biased.