Coming next week: Special series on women and sports


So what’s this racquet all about?

There is an excellent answer to this question that I do plan to reveal here very soon. It will be a very personal reply to one of the most important aspects of my life, and it’s one that I’ve also had the privilege to explore as a journalist.

If you haven’t read much of this blog before, you’ll see that the issue of women’s sports, and how they have grown in my lifetime, takes up a lot of my attention.

For those of you who have read, you’ll be familiar with some of the material that I’ve posted here. I hope not to sound too repetitive over the next two weeks as I lay out a special series I’ve been preparing for quite a few months.

I will take a critical look at the women’s sports movement as it enters its fourth decade since the passage of Title IX. My dissident views on its more recent effects are rather frank, and here’s a recent sampling of that.

But I also have grave concerns about many of the cultural and sociological arguments that are being made by women (and a few men) in the name of female athletes, but that hardly reflect the experiences of the vast majority of girls and women in sports. Sadly, these so-called “experts” are called on by major media outlets far too often, with far too little scrutiny.

I think these views do much to prevent broadening the mainstream appeal of women’s sports, though I’m sure the targets of my critique won’t see it that way.

But I want to do more than just point out the problems I see. I’ll share a few ideas on reworking Title IX and creating a realistic framework for how women’s sports can continue to grow, without utopian illusions of “sameness.”

Oh, and this will be done without trashing men or American football, whining about media coverage or using a single word of feminist or Marxist academic jargon. If it seems impossible to believe, well, ya just gotta believe!

To borrow a phrase from The Sisterhood, I want to “take back” women’s sports from the ideologues and activists who have hijacked them for nefarious purposes.

"It's not groupthink, it's exercise!"

"It's not groupthink, it's exercise!"

In the next frontier of women’s sports, it will be imperative to look beyond our own borders, where often women have a hard time just getting in the game.

We don’t really have those issues any longer in the United States, but sometimes I think that defining “equality” when it comes to sports has been a big part of the contentiousness.

So that’s where I will start this journey on Monday. I’m going to be making quite a bit of a racket to get to the story behind the racquet you see pictured above.

As for the Stalinettes doing jumping jacks, well, they should get worked up into a really hot lather because they’ve richly deserved this for a very long time.

In the meantime, snack on these links, many of which have informed and directed me as I worked on this series. I hope they whet your appetite for more.

Bad sports, or when sisterhood doesn’t feel so powerful (July 23, 2010)

A chastening time for women’s sports? (Aug. 23, 2010)

A Whitman’s sampler and athletes in the buff (Oct. 6, 2010)

The wasted cultural obsessions of women’s sports (Nov. 7, 2010)

The women who can’t enjoy the UConn women’s streak (Dec. 18, 2010)

If you read nothing else about the Women’s Final Four (April 2, 2011)

Never mind the gender gap in sports (May 25, 2011)

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