Best of 2011: Issues in women’s sports

This week I’m bringing back some of my favorite posts from the year, and especially those that generated some good conversation. Issue pieces in sports always seem to do the trick, and these were no different.

In June I posted a 10-part series I called “Women’s Sports Without Illusions,” a critical examination of the movement and where it stands as Title IX turned 39.

For years I have found much of the dogma coming out of the gender equity establishment to be indignant and tone deaf to the world that women athletes live in today. It’s as if activists refuse to leave the 1970s, which thankfully have ended. We might have gone from disco to hip-hop, but I’m more concerned about the cultural grievances that many of these so-called “experts” hold that are out of step with the reality on the ground.

Especially when the slow progress for women in sports over the decades can’t always be chalked up to men.

I offered some starting points for revising the Title IX sports regulations that are outdated, and not surprisingly they drew most of the reader comments.

Also not surprisingly, most of the readers were men, and not women who side with the Title IX diehards. This blog is part of the Women Talk Sports network that includes the Title IX Blog and two sex-and-gender standbys, After Atalanta and One Sport Voice. There was virtually no reaction. We’re talking about people who don’t like their ideas challenged, some to the extent that they don’t permit comments on their blogs at all.

What’s more troubling are the grudges that some hold against football and how they rail against portrayals of women athletes in magazines and elsewhere that the athletes themselves see very differently.

These cultural grievances form the spine of an expanded writing project, based on this series, that I will complete in early 2012. It’s less about Title IX and the controversies over compliance with the law and more about the future of women’s sports, and how such absolutist views disrespect the individual choices of girls and women and are out of step with the mainstream.

I’ll have more details about that project shortly. All I’ll say for now is that if you’ve got a problem with the Women’s Tennis Association’s “Strong is Beautiful” presentation, then take it up with Billie Jean.

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One Comment

  1. Bern
    Posted December 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Wendy,

    Looking forward to your 2012 projects. If they are anything like what you produced in 2011 they’ll be amazing.

    Just so you know you’re not rowing the boat alone we’ll be pushing the following initiatives in 2012:

    - ACL injury levels in women’s athletes. In particular we’ll be addressing the unfair treatment of Mike Sokolov’s classic, Warrior Girls by the Tucker Center in 2008. It is our belief that there is a well documented, decades long campaign by gender feminists in the academy to ignore injury frequency and severity in order to support their gender constructionist ideology in girls and women’s sports. This has resulted in shockingly high levels of ACL injury in women athletes. To this day there is still no agreed upon standard exercise program to mitigate this risk to female athletes. Most people, other than the parents of women with blown out knees, have no idea of what is going on behind the scenes. We plan to educate them so they understand the risk and measures they can take before their knees those that they love are ruined.

    - Along with other organizations we’ll be advocating for the inclusion of Competitive Cheerleading as a NCAA scholarship sport.

    You continue to produce uniquely incisive and candid takes on what is really going on in women’s sports. It comes as little surprise that it has not yet gained the acceptance it deserves but we feel certain you are an important contributor of those that are laying the groundwork for important structural changes going forward that will truly benefit women’s sports and their participants.

    Thanks for your efforts in 2011 and have a Happy New Year!!

    Bern

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