Well here I am stunned…

From http://www.criticalbench.com/female_athlete_triad_risk.htm

So unsurprisingly enough, college athletics are apparently rather ragingly sexist! Who would have guessed??? An article in the NYT yesterday exposed many of the ways that colleges manipulate numbers to make it appear that they have an equal number of men and women on their athletics teams so as not to be in violation of Title IX, and get federal funding, when in fact the numbers are pretty disparate. Chloe over at feministing covers it quite well.

While this is a bad enough story in and of itself, it seems to me that much of our society today seems dedicated to telling people that women and men are equal, when in fact they are not. Much of our society seems dedicated to telling people that feminism is crazy and unnecessary these days. It’s tricksy because far too many people believe it. On my college campus the word “feminist” is almost off limits because people think it makes them seem radical or man-hating or lesbian. I find it bizarre that we don’t go to any lengths to understand what is factually going on around us in terms of gender, but instead limit ourselves to hearing the empty rhetoric that people say when they’re trying to be PC in order to gauge where our society is. It seems to me that a lot of people who really do have problems with the gender norms must be really terrified of the work and courage it takes to honestly stand up and SAY something about these types of things: for example in the college athletics article, no young women were cited as saying they were unhappy that they had been listed as on a team when they were not in fact.


This is one of the reasons I’m a proponent of being a rather obnoxious feminist. Not in a feminazi, manhating kind of way, but rather in the way where I’m actually comfortable announcing my presence and encouraging others to speak or think about gender issues, especially in a setting where they are largely ignored.

Huzzah outspoken feminism! Now if only we could get our strong young lady athletes to act more like the one swimming cited in the article and SPEAK OUT when they want and need resources on campus.


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Olivia is a giant pile of nerd who tends to freak out about linguistic prescriptivism, gender roles, and discrimination against the mentally ill. By day she writes things for the Autism Society of Minnesota, and by night she writes things everywhere else. Check out her ongoing screeds against jerkbrains at www.taikonenfea.wordpress.com

1 Comment

  1. April 27, 2011 at 12:55 am —

    I’m on a college athletics program, and I’ve sat down and had a conversation with my coach about Title IX requirements. I’m one of the male bodies that’s looking at the axe from my team if we run into roster limitations from Title IX.

    The article glosses over the fact that some sports just need more players than others. For example, I’m sure you’ve seen a huge football team take the field — they have an entire offensive line, defensive line, second strings, third strings… Lots of warm bodies. Lots of warm, predominantly-male bodies taking up lots of Title IX spots. My university has football and baseball teams for men with no female counterparts, and women’s soccer, volleyball, and swimming with no male counterparts, all in Division I. Sadly, football skews the numbers so much that the rest of us get screwed.

    What are we supposed to do when it takes more players to field a football team than it does to field a swim team? I’m all for as much equality as we can get, but a head count in the athletic program is probably not the best way to pull that off. Number of varsity sports, maybe… head counts just don’t seem to get the whole picture.

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