When the sport you love doesn't love you back.
If Gibbons’ “dresses” comment was just one isolated incident, it wouldn’t deserve a second thought, but that’s not the situation we face. We are not talking about one off-color remark or even a handful of off-color remarks. We are talking about a sport-wide culture which permits casual sexism and reinforces over and over and over again to its female fans that their involvement in the sport is not as valid as that of their male counterparts.
WWJD? Well, he definitely wouldn't let a woman tell him what to do. At least, that's the theological position one institution of Christian learning has taken. And this isn't the first time the perhaps ironically named St. Mary's Academy has taken a "positive stand" on principle. Another take on the story here. (Via Boing Boing.)
The brilliant Cecily Kidd put together a few URLs discussing Title IX and the funding disparity between male and female sports. "[M]ale athletes receive $133 million more in athletic scholarships than female athletes." In one of the few sports where men and women compete (against each other) on the same field and with the same (or similar) equipment: motor sports, where men are no more rewarded for being muscular or women penalized for any female physical attributes; women have not only competed, but won against men. Shirley Muldowney has won four Top Fuel championships, Angelle Savoie has won two Pro Stock Bike championships, Jutta Kleinschmidt won the Paris-Dakar rally, Shawna Robinson won the poll with a track record in 1994 Busch race at Atlanta, Sarah Fisher is the most popular driver in IRL and the cute and lovable Danica Patrick recently won at the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race at Long Beach. So why can't these women get a steady sponsorship deal and a regular ride as a driver? Why do they always have to be 'something more'?
Weak leg? A female kicker is suing Duke University because she was cut from the team. She says it was because she's a woman, the coach says she wasn't as versatile as other kickers on his roster. With colleges passing illiterates through based on football skill, I'm skeptical that a coach would make a roster decision based on sex.
Women in sports judged on looks more than ability. That's all well and good, but her remedy of "genuine equality in sports at all levels" rings hollow with me.