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Sep 27 2006

Girls Sports: At Last, A Repository For Mediocre Boys

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This photo of the Faster family patriarch demonstrating the combined soporific effects of the Walll Street Journal and my lime green recliner has nothing to do with today’s post. In fact, there isn’t a post today. What there is, is, a link to a news item, followed by a question.

The news item, here, reports on a situation in Winnipeg wherein a couple of schoolboys, reacting to a ruling allowing two girls to try out for a boys’ hockey team, want to invoke this ‘gender equity’ dealio in order to try out for a girls’ basketball team.

The question: Well, what about it?

97 comments

  1. ::Wendy::

    Teams should be made up of people with diverse skills sets, by genderising them they are restricting the pool of skill sets. Let the teams be made of the most skilled people for the roles.

  2. alphabitch

    At first glance it sounds like a bunch of junior-varsity MRA types who want to just mess around with things. Sort of whiny ‘but what about the poor males?’ bullshit, mixed in with a hostile little touch of ‘OK bitch you want gender equity here you go.’

    Which of course stinks.

    I think that if there is only a team for one gender and not the other, anyone who wants to try out should be eligible, regardless of gender. But when there are already gender-segregated teams with opportunities for all to participate if they make the cut, it’s sure trickier. I’m thinking that if these two girls have been playing all along on boys’ teams, it’s entirely possible that they — and the team! — will be better off if allowed to try out for the boys’ team. And if they make the cut, hell yeah! let them play!

    But then you’re on a slippery slope and you can’t get off it unless you admit that this is only in part about gender equity. It’s mainly about offering young athletes the most challenging opportunity to develop their skills and to compete to the best of their ability.

    The girls are asking for a more challenging opportunity, the boys, in a sense, are asking for less. Ideally, of course, there would be a J.V. or intramural team to allow those who are less skilled or competitive but who love the game to participate at a level appropriate to their skills.

    But that’s not always possible.

  3. alphabitch

    PS and OT: I’m totally digging those shelves behind the green chair; are they sturdy enough to hold books or is that mostly videotapes, etc.?

  4. njcullen

    That article smacks to me of teaching us all (females that is) a lesson. If girls infiltrate the boys teams then second string boys will do their duty and take over girls teams. That being said, it seems to me (as the anti-jock with no sports experience whatsoever) that womens/girls sport is in its infancy and more about sport than say boys sports which is more about advertising and fantasy. For instance, my son has yet to try any sport without imagining himself as a future star (so far, not bloody likely) my daughter never thinks of sport as a fame thing (piano lessons are the fame thing because she’s going to be a rock star…) Aside from the fact that my children appear to be obsessed by the idea of fame my point is this: girls working their arses off in sport are much, much less likely to become stars so perhaps at that point the game becomes about the team, not the star. I suspect there’s a fair number of boys who could learn something from that. Still, I think don’t think that boys playing on poorly funded, poorly attended girls games makes for gender equity. If those boys really want to explore gender equity perhaps they should take a year off school get a full time job and run a household around the constraints of their new jobs (which would have shitty pay with the added benefit of allowing them a little more exploration of gender equity).

  5. grrr kitty

    That’s a good idea, njcullen. And let them wear pantyhose, high heels, a bra and a creeping slip while doing it.

    Add this to my list of Things I Wanna See Just Once.

  6. Pony

    What everyone else has said. And a little history for the bloggees. Women can’t play basketball?

    http://www.collectionscanada.ca/women/002026-229-e.html

  7. t. comfyshoes

    I’m torn about the whole thing.

    On the one hand, I don’t like gender segregation. And the whole thing where it’s tacitly admitted that the girls team sucks compared to the boys really pisses me off. I think it would be great if kids in sports could be split not by their genitalia but by their skill/commitment. That is, have an elite/competitive league for those types of kids, and a fun/social/getting some exercise league for everybody else.

    On the other hand, girls in sports – especially stereotypically manly sports like hockey or rugby or football, but in other sports too – often need safe space to be able to participate fully. (And we all know what’s to blame that girls aren’t safe/comfortable to play sports around boys)

    And on top of that, there are some sports where women could be very talented but not be able to make it far in a co-ed environment because they just aren’t large enough. To play in the NHL, for example, you pretty much have to be around 6′ and 200lb. There just aren’t very many women that size. And if there aren’t professional women’s sports, a really excellent woman player who is only 5’5″ and 150lb won’t have anywhere to express her talent, and we won’t get to be inspired by seeing her play.

    I really don’t know what the solution is, but I don’t think it’s letting boys who are crappy players be on the girls team.

    And about these particular boys, all I can say is, what a bunch of wankers.

    Oh, and the latest on the girls in question: they tried out for the boys team but were cut, supposedly because with all the time they’ve spent in court and so forth, they haven’t had time to practice and their skills have gone downhill.

  8. Jodie

    I hate all competitive sports.

    Having said that, I enjoy being part of a team. I loved marching band. Everyone should be in marching band. Plenty of exercise, plenty of music, no male/female segregation, everyone works together, and no one cares what any individual band member looks like.

    I blame the patriarchy that everything has to be about winning or losing and none of it is about actual playing.

    Although, come to think of it, one of the most fun sports my kids played was an all ages/all genders youth basketball team that was offered by the Y two years in a row. “All ages” translated to ages 6-18 with both genders participating, and teams were drawn at random by age, so that each team had the same proportion of older to younger kids, and most kids didn’t know the other kids on the team. Not only that, but many of the kids didn’t have a clue about basketball. They had some practices to learn the game, and then games were played every weekend for 2 months. It made for some bizarre games (nothing like some 6 year old darting in between two big kids and stealing the ball away). Because there were so many young kids, the older ones really worked hard to be careful not to hurt anyone. No one was all that invested in winning, and they all enjoyed playing…and those of us who got to watch were in stitches every week.

  9. TP

    If I had to play on a team, I would want to play on the girl’s team. I’m scared of boys. They used to beat me up all the time. I was only beat up once by a girl.

    Gender equity is nothing but a charade for creating fear of feminism, though. It’s more about extending male privilege than equality.

  10. ykcir

    I think it’s a misnomer to call men’s (or boys’) teams “men’s” (or “boys’”) teams. They should be called something like “open” teams, with women’s (or “girls’”) teams reserved for the gender that, in a statistical sense, is physically smaller. The situation in golf illustrates this. Now it’s almost routine for women to enter tournaments on the men’s tour. Soon, a woman will win one.

  11. tamaraster

    OK, I admit I’m not as advanced a patriarchy-blamer as some.

    The advantage of having female teams for sports (which I like – sports, that is) is that women really are not as strong, tall, large, etc., as men. The best female athlete in any field will never beat the best male athlete in that field. (There are probably sports for which this isn’t true, but I think it’s true for most sports.) As far as I know, this is about biology and not patriarchy. (It could turn out that I’m wrong about that. It’s just my best guess.)

    If sports at all schools were mixed-gender, would any women make it into (mixed-gender) professional sports leagues? It’s hard to say, but so very few players make it that I doubt it. I think there would be still be female-only leagues for pro sports.

    The solution of having varsity and junior varsity mixed-gender teams would probably work, at least at the high school level, where some girls would doubtless make it onto the varsity teams. But you end up with kind of a choice when it comes to championships and so on – is it better for your high school to have the State Champion Girls’ Basketball Team or the State Champion Junior Varsity Basketball Team? One suggests that women have their own league (one which isn’t doing to be taken nearly as seriously, of course) and the other that most girl athletes, who probably won’t make the varsity team, are forever “junior” to the “real team.” It could be seen as the same, but the difference is, if patriarchy lessens, the difference between the two options would grow, and having female-only teams would be better.

    As a practical matter, having the male team be mixed-gender and the female team female-only sounds like a good idea to me. But I’m not sure how you can justify the sex discrimination unless you resort to stupid ideas like that boys are so fearsome and deadly that our poor little girls won’t be safe if they have to play together.

    I don’t blame the boys in this drama. I’m sure some would simply like to play sports and yet don’t qualify for the boys’ teams at their schools, which is a sad situation. And partly my feelings are colored by memories of boys in my own high school protesting the no-shorts policy by wearing skirts for months (the idea being that girls could wear skirts, which are cooler, but boys could not wear shorts). It was a successful protest that led to shorts being permitted (for everyone). I know it’s irrational to equate the two.

    Sorry for the “high school essay” quality of this comment.

  12. Pony

    Hey Jodie thanks for that post. You’ve opened my eyes. I have always thought marching bands were kinda dorky at the least and very militaristic at worst. We don’t do marching bands in Canada, maybe one or two somewhere. We do pipe bands hoo haw which are usually mixed except for that big guy with the big drum. I’m waiting to see that one with a woman then I’ll know we’ve arrived. Pipe bands do everything here, inlcluding the recent opening of a library.

    *Of course I know the history of pipe bands. Still, men in skirts and all; I allow some latitude there.

  13. Hawise

    My sense of the article was that the boys wanted to enter girls teams where no male equivalent existed at their school- curling et al. Where only one team is available then it should be co-ed. Where two teams exist then I feel the opposite gender player needs to present a very good reason to break the rules. The girls in this case claimed to have played at a higher level than their female counterparts and felt that the boys team would be more of a challenge. The fact that they dedicated all their energies to the court case and wouldn’t play at a “lesser” level in the interim meant that they were out of practice when they finally won the court case.
    I used to play co-ed sports in high school. The boys stopped complaining when they realized that I was stronger than most of them. I may not have enjoyed sports but that didn’t stop me from bowling them out of my way to make a goal. And yes, at the very top of competitive sports, biology wins unless the individual is very dedicated. The girls were very dedicated to a competition but it wasn’t hockey.

  14. langsuyar

    So, what really gets me is the -highlighted- quote saying if the crappy boys try out for the girls team it will push girls off the team. Like, the crappy boys are -naturally- better than the best girls so, ipso facto, the girls’ teams would become boys’ teams.

    Wait a cotton picking minute!

    The boys too crappy to make it on their own team would be BETTER than the girls? WTF? Do these douchebags not watch women’s basketball? Its practically a different sport! These wankers in training have been playing boy’s basketball and would have that skill set (obviously, though, not much of it). That assumption just blows my mind! Those boys would have a hell of a time getting on to the girl’s team! Just because they are male doesn’t mean they’d dominate the tryouts, especially in women’s basketball. Physical dominance is not the only thing coaches look for in team sports. They want individuals who fit the team plan, who will fit the plays, who will have a solid role and understand it. This is why WNBA is a world apart from NBA; its not about showboating.

    That being said, I feel that if there are no teams of seperate gender available then anyone should be able to try out for the one that is. The coach will then be able to decide on which players fit the direction they want the team to go, which is of course a reflection of the types of compition they will face–which comes down to coaching and playing styles.

    If there are both gender teams available and the boys can’t cut it on their own, they should suck it up and go play in a community intramural. I think it is obvious in the article that everyone involved thinks girls don’t play as well as boys (or why would they be desired to be the team of last resort for crappy boys?) and regardless of the gains made in the realm of women’s sport, no boy in his right mind would be willing to take the ridicule of being on a -girls- team no matter how much he “loves the game”. This move is clearly about giving the bitches what they deserve– “We’ll force them off their own teams!” Which goes right back to the fallacious assumption that any boys trying out would automatically be better than any girls…

    And, as the recent research into single gender classrooms is showing, girls do better when they don’t have to deal with stupid bullshit from boys, thus allowing them to fully develop their skills, and uh.. so gender seperate sports is still a good idea.

    I’m pretty sure thats where I was going with that.

  15. norbizness

    As long as they don’t show it on the TEE-vee.

  16. B. Dagger Lee

    In the States, Title IX addresses this with some pragmatic slack built into it; it’s been a surprisingly well-written, well-administered law, throughout the years, as far as I know, although recent years have seen BUSHCO trying to revise it. I was one of the girl jocks who benefited immeasurably from it.

    I’ve played on sports teams with men, they’re irritating and they stink, so no thanks. But y’all are fooling yourselves if you don’t think that they’re stronger and faster in general.

    But the main thing that perplexes me about the article: in Canada girls play basketball with a smaller ball? Is that an error in the article? What the fuck?

    yrs, B.D.L.

  17. Pony

    I think it’s an error. I believe (this is a non-jock talkin’) the original and still, Canadian basketball is smaller. Canada invented bktball ya know? Sniff.

  18. Sam

    But y’all are fooling yourselves if you don’t think that they’re stronger and faster in general.

    Yes, but who shall we blame for determining stronger and faster are more desireable for sports playing than stamina and teamwork, two qualities it could be argued women demonstrate an aptitude for that men lack in comparison?

    Women excel at long distance swimming and hold many world records for long distance swims, but a masculinized culture that values short-term strength over long-term endurance doesn’t find as much value in slow-and-steady-wins accomplishments.

  19. Sarchasm

    I play a couple of sports (ultimate frisbee and curling) and in some situations – mainly in frisbee – no matter what my level of dedication and fitness, I’m going to be outplayed by a guy who’s less in shape and less practiced. I’m pretty physically active and fit, but I’m in the vicinity of 5’3″ and if I sprint flat out I’m still going to get beat by a guy who’s 6’3″ 95% of the time.

    That said, there are things I can do well that a lot of guys can’t. Because I’m small and quick, I’m great at faking out someone who’s marking me, which means I can beat them to the disc a lot of the time. I can also throw under the arm of someone who’s guarding me pretty easily, aided by the fact that I’m fairly flexible and can fold way out onto one leg to get around.

    Does this mean I’m going to get the disc pretty often when I play in a co-ed league? Not necessarily. There are still a lot of dudes who assume that “guys can throw better/farther/harder” so they’ll look off me, wide open and all alone, in order to try to make a pass to another dude. Hey, fella? If guys are so much better at disc, how come YOU suck so much?

    tl;dr – One thing preventing women from playing at the men’s level is men being jackasses. (As if you needed to be told.)

  20. Luckynkl

    But y’all are fooling yourselves if you don’t think that they’re stronger and faster in general

    Actually, no. Tho half their size and weight, I was stronger, faster, more agile, more coordinated and about a gazillion times smarter than 95% of my male peers.

    Why? Well, besides getting the luck of the cards in the gene pool, I was more importantly conditioned since infancy and through my developmental years in developing physical speed, strength, agility, coordination and attitude.

    THAT is the major difference between the sexes. The conditioning. Girls generally tend to get a very late start. Through their developmental years, the family tends to dress girls in yucky pink clothing that restricts and hinders movement, discourages physicalness, aggression and attitude, as well as body weight gain and building muscle, and puts more emphasis on looks and femininity. The opposite is done with boys. The pressure is tremendous to conform to gender roles, through rewards and punishment. In other words, boys are condtioned and developed mentally, physically and emotionally to be predators and girls are conditioned and developed to be prey.

    If we look at pioneer photos, we often see that the women are often times bigger and more muscular than their husbands, and look as tho they could break him in two. By conditioning women to be smaller and weigh about as much as a paperweight, which results also in loss of energy, muscle and strength, it makes men appear bigger, faster and stronger. Which would be the whole point.

    Adult males do tend to be on average 7 inches larger than females. I contend that this is the result of breeding. Men have bred women to be smaller. Think about it. Is it the norm for men to seek female partners larger than themselves?

    Males also tend to have larger cardio/vascular systems. Muscles need oxygen to work.

    Women’s legs fit into the pelvis at an angle. No doubt to accomodate childbirth. A male’s legs do not fit into the pelvis in such a manner. To test this, have both a male and a female stand flat against a wall with their feet a couple of inches apart, place a chair about a foot or so in front of them, and have them bend at the waist and try to pick the chair up. A female will be able to pick up the chair easily. A male will be unable to do so. If you want to have fun, don’t tell a guy why he won’t be able to pick up that chair, no matter how big and strong he is, while any female can. It will be amusing to watch the confused look on his face as he begins to wonder if he’s a 90 lb weakling.

    Hmmmm, what a great way to tell the difference between the boys and the girls at the gate at Michfest. No more passing as the opposite sex!

    But anyways, the different way the legs fit into the pelvis affect the way women and men walk and run as well as which splits they will find more easy to accommodate.

    In short, there are real biological differences between males and females. I just named a few. For fun, I’ll throw in the fact that female brains are larger and weigh more than males. And women have extra layers of fat which enable them to survive starvation and exposure to the elements much better than males. But which also renders them more susceptible to the effects of alcohol and make it much harder for women to lose weight. Basically, food and drink goes in and out of a male, but female bodies store it.

    So differences do exist and it’s kind of ridiculous to pretend they don’t. The differences are slight but with conditioning, these differences can become huge. And this conditioning has been used to give males advantage. Right down to what we value and what we don’t.

    Do I think boys should be allowed to play on girls teams? No. The reason why Title IX was instituted was because girls were not given equal resources and opportunity. Boys have never suffered from any such thing. The whole idea was to give girls a chance to close the inequality gap, not give boys even more opportunity and advantage. It’s ridiculous to pretend we’re all equal now when we’re anything but.

    So what happens when equality is rendered to unequals? The gap of inequality becomes even greater.

    In short, until we’re all equal, don’t even go there. The scales must first be zeroed out.

  21. stekatz

    Lest we forget, there are the lessons taught to us long ago in the early 70′s by The Brady Bunch.

    Peter’s foray into the Sunflower Girls just to spite Marcia ended with him running away in disgust after reciting, “I am a little Sunflower/Sunny, brave and true/From tiny bud to blossom/I do good deeds for you.” He just couldn’t hang with divine feminine and caved. Greg’s plan to show up Marcia was an utter failure.

    Marcia, on the other hand, joined the Frontier Scouts on their campout for her merit badge and KICKED ASS. This despite the fact that Greg did everything he could to make it more difficult.

    So the lesson, dear Blamers, is that, if life imitates art, those hockey girls will shine and the whiney boys will flame out.

    And WNBA rules. I’ll take the surgical strike precision of a well co-ordinated team effort over fancy pants slam dunks any day of the week.

  22. tamaraster

    Luckynkl wrote, “For fun, I’ll throw in the fact that female brains are larger and weigh more than males.”

    Actually, men’s brains are about 10% larger than women’s brains, but my understanding is that this reflects the size difference between men and women. Larger body = larger brain to accomplish the same tasks.

  23. Pony

    All roadblocks thrown in the way of girls and women being good at sports aside, I was stopped cold at 12. I won all races against my peers and in my age category up until then. I was the school girls track star. Within 6 months of my 11th birthday I sprouted 32 DDs. I could NOT run, the movement and the weight totally threw me off. There was really nowhere else to go with my athletic ability but receational hiking and scrambling, in my community. There were no poos, or I might have done that. My sporting life ended. Others in my family had similar ability (track stars leading to other sports) and are highly ranked amateur to professional athletes now. Do they acknowledge their aunt, a girl, had the same physical ability and genes, and with the same coaching and structure to fit into could have done the same? No. Of course not.

  24. Sam

    “And women have extra layers of fat”

    It’s been a long peeve of mine that we’re conditioned to say women have an extra layer of fat instead of saying men are naturally fat deficient. As Luckynkl points out, it’s a beneficial, healthy part of women’s bodies that gets pathologized as an “extra” layer because men are the standard from which all Others deviate.

  25. Pony

    Except that, sigh, most men are not fat deficient, Sam. Look around. It’s just not a negative for them as much as it is for us. They can still armchair participate, and vicariously be the guy who scored the goal. Women can never vicariously be that.

  26. Luckynkl

    Actually, men’s brains are about 10% larger than women’s brains, but my understanding is that this reflects the size difference between men and women. Larger body = larger brain to accomplish the same tasks.

    Wrong.

    From forensics I know that this is one of the ways forensic scientists are able to distinguish a male cadaver from a female one. I actually saw it demonstrated.

    We’ve known for centuries that female brains are larger. But professionals were forbidden from saying so upon the threat of their very careers.

    So when you go to look this stuff up, what will be talked about is capacity (in other words, potential), not actual size and weight. Slick, no? If they say otherwise, they are simply mixing up the two or downright lying.

  27. Luckynkl

    It’s been a long peeve of mine that we’re conditioned to say women have an extra layer of fat instead of saying men are naturally fat deficient. As Luckynkl points out, it’s a beneficial, healthy part of women’s bodies that gets pathologized as an “extra” layer because men are the standard from which all Others deviate.

    Very true. I recognize that. Women are in fact the standard that men seek to deviate from. Then men reverse it all.

    Being women are biologically complete, and men are not, in order to achieve manhood, a man has to be identified as “not woman.” So men assign themselves traits that are opposite of those assigned and associated with women. In other words, men disconnect and distance themselves from anything remotely human.

  28. stingray

    Long ago and far away I once was young and sporty, specifically with a basketball. While I’m not clear on which side of this argument I stand, I do know that the regulation size of a basketball varies in women’s and men’s leagues. The women’s regulation standard is about 29 inches- the men’s is 30. It translates to a 3 ounce difference in weight and is the standard for women’s teams from high school to professional level. The regulation variance is not limited to that of gender, the major differences lie between the college and professional level. Lane size, the three point line mark, and the time a quarter will run are all rules that are most challenging at the NBA/WNBA level and every other league rules vary to accommodate ability at that particular level.

    Rules, rules. I’m bored.

  29. acm

    similarly, men’s volleyball uses a higher net than does women’s (I think co-ed tends to use the higher one too, but can’t recall). different strategies result. almost different sports.

  30. Jezebella

    Maybe they could let the boys try out if they promise to play in a sports corset and a pink rock-climbing “sport skirt”?

    I’m with Hawise: if there’s only one team, everybody should be eligible. If there are two, no boys on the girls’ team. If the boys’ team gets more action, more money, more support, more ANYTHING than the girls’ team, then girls who can make the cut should be allowed on the team.

    Maybe they could have weight divisions, or height/weight divisions in kids’ sports, as they do in wrestling? Adult men averagely are bigger than adult women, but through the puberty years, boys and girls grow & develop at different times & rates.

  31. Jezebella

    alphabitch, those look like dwr’s sapien bookcases, which I too have been coveting for some time. http://www.dwr.com

  32. smartblkwoman

    If women can play on the all male team then men, regardless of their ability level, should be able to try out for the all female teams.

    I think that true equality would be the creation of two teams that allow both men and women to play. One team would be considered the varsity team-for those of exceptional ability. Everyone who doesn’t make the first team can try out for the second team.

  33. KTal

    No. Boys have no business there. If they want to play basketball, they try out for the boy’s team. If they aren’t good enough for the cut, they can make their own second-rate boys team or girls and boys team.

    They should not under any circumstances be allowed to invade what was setup as an avenue way for girls to participate in competitive sports on their own merits and without having to compete with boys. Period.

    That hockey is open to girls is only because no one wants to organize and make available a girl’s hockey team, or wrestling team, or football team for fear that all marriagable females will become brainwashed by evil butch-dykes waiting to swallow the world and leave males’ thirst for sex on demand, power by taking and unpaid maid service unsatiated one girl at a time. Oh what a terrible world that would be.

    In a social system where girls must march to the beat of the boys and men at every turn and in which working in tangent with other females is never taught (they’d follow the butch-dyke in leagues and then where would the world be?), girls MUST absolutely have their own space, free of invasion by males.

    Now, I do also think it a shame that many public schools do not make intramural sports (non organized) more available so mediocre kids can also get exercise and learn the skills of cooperation and enjoy some team acheivement.

    Girls and boys. Together. No uniforms, no practices, no play-offs. No scholarships.

  34. jami

    i’m all for re-desegregating sports. women win marathons. i have no doubt that women can hit little balls with sticks (what sport? take your pick) as effectively as men, given the same access to coaching, training, and encouragement from birth (did any of you gals have baseball gloves on your pajamas when you were a month old? no? thought not). games like basketball and football where size matters might be an issue. but we have the speed, the strength, the stamina, and the brains to excel at the majority of sports i can think of.

    dividing things up by fun versus competitive, rather than girls versus boys, would have kept me in organized sports longer.

  35. Ms Kate

    I filled in as a JV placekicker on my high school football team. The AD liked to tap the varsity girl’s soccer goalies for that role when needed.

    We’ve had a couple of go-arounds with girls playing hockey here in Massachusetts. One school district was concerned that a girl who was 5’10″ tall and weighed 160 lbs was going to get hurt playing with the boys – until the judge called bullshit on that.

    The average male on the team was 2 inches shorter and twenty pounds lighter. Based on studies of injury and risk in collisions in youth sports, she statistically represented a substantial risk of hurting the boys (injuries scale to relative size of players).

    When girls wrestle, they are weight classed like everybody else and most do fine. Rather than gender stratify, most sports would benefit from size class stratification. Lightweight basketball, middle weight basketball, heavy weight basketball. Not only safer, but more interesting.

  36. Ms Kate

    Oh, and if those boys want to be involved in the girl’s basketball team, I’m sure they could use a score keeper or water boy or trainer’s assistant.

  37. Ron Sullivan

    I think it would be interesting to see what would happen if a couple of generations of women got the same training and funding for sports as men did. I think it would be even more interesting if a couple of generations of women were encouraged to invent sports, the way men have.

    When I’m feeling all stereotypish, I wonder who invented curling, a sport played with brooms and a funny-looking flatiron. Sideways!Really, though, imagine inventing something as silly as baseball and having people take it seriously.

  38. clairecarolina

    There was a guy in my first high school that loved the bejeezus out of lacrosse. We only had a girl’s team, and he started to try out for it but caved to harassment and quit before the cut.

    At my middle school (in a different school system) the soccer team was co-ed. At the middle school level, girls are usually bigger and stronger than boys. We had a really freakin’ good soccer team, not one good team and one wimpy pink team (as happened after the genders split in high school). Also, the boys on the coed soccer team _got over themselves_. It wasn’t just that they didn’t treat us like walking cleavage; they would _listen to us_. In _science class_. It was brilliant.

  39. slade

    The sport that I find so exquisite is women’s gymnastics. Boys want to be on a women’s team….be on that. What I’d give to see a boy on the Balance Beam! And I don’t see why the boys can’t dance while doing a Floor Exercise. Or maybe the boys would like to participate in Rhythmic Gymnastics….with the balls or the streamers. Yea, I want to see that too.

  40. Luckynkl

    You’re right on the money, KTal. Touche. What many here don’t seem to realize is that men and women are already desegregated. Why it may not be so obvious to so many is because whenever men and women embark on a jont venture together, men feel entitled to take over. And what’s more, women will yield and let them. We can see that happening right before our eyes here.

    Women are, in fact, the only oppressed group that is not allowed to segregate from their oppressor and have their own space. Women have no community, no state, no country. They’re even expected and forced to share their homes, their rooms and even their beds and their bodies with their oppressor.

    So that is why KTal is right on the money when she says that men should not be allowed to invade women’s space under any circumstance. Space that feminists have long struggled for, fought for and which has been hard earned. To do so will put women right back to square one. Men will not only continue to have their men’s teams, but will have the women’s teams as well. Without space of our own, women can never be liberated or free. Men simply aren’t going to let that happen under their watch.

    Now how ’bout playing for the girls team for a nice change of pace and stop making it so easy for the boys to take over your hard earned space and your court? Or would you rather be home doing dishes and fetching him a beer and dressing into something sexy for him? If you give up your space, then get use to it. Cuz that’s where you’ll be. Except, of course, for one or two token women. So men can pretend women can do it too and it’s all fair and equal now.

  41. Twisty

    You blamers are all brilliant geniuses. Now I’ll drag the level of discourse down by throwing in my POV.

    It will probably come as no surprise that I am against the incursion into girls basketball of boys who couldn’t make the varsity cut. The reason I am against it is that, in a patriarchal system, ‘gender equity’ is an illusion. That is, school sports teams do not exist in a vacuum; they, like everything else on the planet, are all infected with the ideology of male privilege.

    If nobody were at a huge disadvantage on accounta their low status as members of the sex class, then, sure, arrange sports however you want, by weight, or IQ, or size of the big toe. But until then, let’s give those kids a chance to feel, at least for a few hours a week, like they did when they were 8, before anyone told them they were too ugly or too delicate or too stupid. I.e. human. Which is how boys get to feel all the time.

  42. sailorman

    I fully agree: no boys on girls’ teams, unless it’s the only team. (because after all there are really no “girls’ sports”, only “girls’ teams”)

    I don’t support girls on boys’ teams though, with the same one-team caveat above. If a girl gets on the boys team, that is one less boy who is eligible to play on that team. I don’t preference boys here, largely because I support title 9 (e.g. have available team for both genders) and the “one team” exception (e.g. coed teams until there are both boys and girls’ teams).

    BTW: The womens’ basketball is indeed slightly smaller. I assume it’s to reflect the fact that womens’ hands are slightly smaller and/or that women tend to dribble from a lower height. Basketball to my knowedge is one of the only (if not THE only) sports like that. soccer, lacrosse, golf, tennis, volleyball… they all use the same size equipment.

  43. Mar Iguana

    I’m all for equality of opportunity but literally becoming equal to men would require woman to become soooo much less than they are. Kind of like trying to stuff an elephant into a teacup. Equality? Keep it. Remember liberation? We were called women’s libbers, not women’s equalityers. But, that’s precisely what wigged out even the most liberal and progressive of the boys; when they realized liberation showed their world up for the boring sham that it is, revealing what cowards they really are.

    That women are now smaller than men has vastly more to do with thousands of years of animal HUSBANDry than biology. Ever heard of Bev Francis? Probably not. Pound for pound, she was at one time the strongest human being in the world of body building.

    http://ironman.prosolutions.tv/gallery/gallery.cfm?galleryID=13

    Ms Francis blew Gloria Steinam’s concepts of women’s physical potential so away she wrote an entire chapter about her, The Politics of Muscle, in her book, “Moving Beyond Words.” The documentary, “Pumping Iron II,” about the 1983 Ceasars World Cup of Bodybuilding, shows how Francis was shafted since, although she out-performed her competitors, she repulsed them and the judges and everyone else because of her unfeminine appearance, causing her to lose the competition.

    In the ’60s when I was in high school, there was only GAA, Girls’ Athletic Association. We had a sweater and patches just like the varsity boys. Oooooh. I excelled in all the team sports (solo sports like track and tennis bored me silly) and despite my height, all 5’3″ of me made the basketball team since, although I was crappy at making baskets, I could steal and deliver that round ball to the girls who could shoot. I could throw a softball farther than all but two boys in the entire school. In volleyball, I could consistently deliver a serve anywhere on the other side I saw a weakness. In soccer I, well, yadda yadda yadda. My point is, athletic scholarships for girls was not even a concept and I was absolutely thrilled when Title IX arrived. I would hate to see girl’s athletics subverted by these wah wah boys who cannot stand the thought of woman only spaces. Unfair to boys? So what?

    And, yes, women do have better brains in more ways than mere size. Consider the boys’ ability to vicariously think they are “winners” when their team wins. If a woman excels, she is an aberration; if she fails, all women are failures.

    The boys’ capacity for delusion never ceases to amaze me. The stronger women get, the more they love sports.

  44. Kenny

    Sailorman, if you agree with Twisty (or with a number of other posts–but your’s follows Twisty’s directly), then you can’t really maintain that men should be able to join women’s teams just because those same man don’t have access to a comparable men’s team. If there’s no men’s team (e.g. for volleyball), then the men are just out of luck. Otherwise, you violate the principal that women’s teams should be maintained for women as a bulwark against a patriarchal social context.

    As to your second point, I think you’re also wrong there. You’re saying that women shouldn’t be allowed on men’s teams unless they don’t have their own comparable opportunity in the same sport. This, for example, would keep Michelle Wie out of “men’s” golf. But the point is exactly that women should be allowed to compete with men if they choose to, but should also have the opportunity to play on their own teams. As it stands in the culture currently, men’s sports are dominant to women’s sports just as men are dominant to women. Women should be allowed to compete with men in the dominant arena regardless of whether they have their own arena. In the present context, to hold otherwise is to believe in women’s sports as a kind of ghetto which talented women aren’t allowed to leave.

    The solution is pretty clear: women who live in a sexist society should be able to compete where they like. At the same time, spaces should be open for women to compete amongst one another, and away from the dominant male culture.

  45. B. Dagger Lee

    Stingray and others, regarding the size of the patriarchy’s slightly larger balls–I had no fucking idea, thanks. And still, what the fuck?

  46. norbizness

    Twisty: I don’t know what little league boys sports team you’re talking about it, but it certainly didn’t sound like any I ever participated in, what with psychopathic parents and coaches screaming at underperforming children and getting in scraps with opposing team’s parents and referees.

  47. t. comfyshoes

    OK another thing that I just found out, that is kindof off topic now – apparently in women’s hockey, there’s no contact. WTF? No wonder those girls wanted on the boys’ team. What kind of patriarchal lameness is that? Ooh, women are soo delicate and fragile, we can’t let them go around crashing into eachother. Feh.

  48. CafeSiren

    On the subject of little league — why is it that even the kids in T-ball teams are sex-segregated? Is someone going to tell us that four year-old boys have greater muscle mass and strength than four year-old girls. Nuh-uh. It’s training for the sex-differentiated world they will grow up in.

    Got a question along these lines for the blamers out there: are elementary school kids still required to line up (to go to the cafeteria, for example) in sex-segregated lines? Anyone know what this practice is/was all about?

  49. tamaraster

    As a kid, I lined up in sex-segregated lines in Catholic School in 1st and 2nd grade, but once I started going to public school (in 1982, in the deep south), we weren’t segregated by sex. Also I’ve never heard of segregated T-Ball leagues. It seems like I’ve known a lot of parents whose daughters are on t-ball teams with boys.

  50. Jodie

    Norbizness, sadly enough, I observed just that behavior beginning with some of my 4-year-old’s baseball games. We were in the “noncompetitive” non-score-keeping group — I hate to think what the competitive teams were like.

    It wasn’t all the parents. But there were enough bad ones to ruin it for my sensitive kid, who’d agonize over those children who were being reamed out by their parents and/or coaches.

  51. Brooklynite

    (Apologies if someone’s mentioned this before — I don’t think so, but may have missed it.)

    According to the article, the province-wide policy had “required athletes to play on teams of their own gender if teams for both genders exist at a school.” So if there was only one team, boys and girls were both eligible to play on it.

    The recent court decision permitted girls to play on their school’s boys’ hockey team, even though there was a girls’ team as well. And it’s that decision that boys are using to push to try out for the girls’ teams.

    I definitely see the argument for letting Michelle Wie play in men’s pro tournaments. And I agree that if the boys’ team is better funded or better equipped than the girls’, fairness demands either that the two teams be equalized or that girls be permitted to play on the boys’ team. Beyond that, I’m not as sure.

    I’d be interested to see the decision from the judge who forced the boys’ team to let the girls try out — I wonder whether she addressed the question of boys trying out for girls teams, too.

  52. sailorman

    Kenny Sep 28th, 2006 at 8:05 am

    Sailorman, if you agree with Twisty (or with a number of other posts–but your’s follows Twisty’s directly), then you can’t really maintain that men should be able to join women’s teams just because those same man don’t have access to a comparable men’s team. If there’s no men’s team (e.g. for volleyball), then the men are just out of luck. Otherwise, you violate the principal that women’s teams should be maintained for women as a bulwark against a patriarchal social context.

    Well, I don’t entirely buy into that. I don’t think women (well girls, actually; we’re talking about high school here) “need protection from those evil men”.

    Functionally speaking, I suppose I’d modify my statement a bit:

    So long as there isn’t some sort of overall governing body with different RULES for girls and boys, men should be allowed to join the girls’ team if it’s the only one.

    That means no for volleyball, for example–the net heights are quite different. But it means yes for curling.

    I would support a “no genders across lines” rule as well. I don’t think either argument is especially superior though I lean somewhat towards inclusion. I just wouldn’t support a policy which was applied only to girls and not to boys, in EITHER direction (exclusive or inclusive).

    As to your second point, I think you’re also wrong there. You’re saying that women shouldn’t be allowed on men’s teams unless they don’t have their own comparable opportunity in the same sport. This, for example, would keep Michelle Wie out of “men’s” golf.

    My statement is made in the context of SCHOOL, which carries with it the credible balancing of title 9. Pro sports are entirely different. Any woman who wants to enter the NBA or PGA is welcome to do so IMO so long as she can get in. I think it’s a big mistake to confuse the school and non-school sports realms.

    But the point is exactly that women should be allowed to compete with men if they choose to, but should also have the opportunity to play on their own teams.

    And that is what I’m disagreeing with. I do not think it’s a morally sound position.

    As it stands in the culture currently, men’s sports are dominant to women’s sports just as men are dominant to women.

    Not in school it isn’t. That’s what title 9 is FOR. There’s little I can do to whether girls will happen to be ineterested in playing football. But if they want it, the football team is legally theirs for the asking.

    Women should be allowed to compete with men in the dominant arena regardless of whether they have their own arena. In the present context, to hold otherwise is to believe in women’s sports as a kind of ghetto which talented women aren’t allowed to leave.

    I think of this as a rights issue.

    Children have a right to be treated equally unless there is some compelling reason not to do so. Allowing girls to play on boys’ teams but not the reverse is going to selectively benefit girls over boys. I don’t see that there is nearly enough justification for this in the school setting to have it make sense.

    In the post-school “real world” of pro sports it all changes. nobody has a “right” to play pro sports. Let the best people play.

  53. sailorman

    damn. Twisty, can you fix my blockquotes? Sorry.

  54. Pony

    “..nobody has a “right” to play pro sports. Let the best people play.”

    How do you imagine they get to be “the best”.

    For the poster concerned about women’s hockey not allowing checking: The best, fastest hockey is with the least contact, anytime. But I’m also thinking the less we follow the male model the better off we are, in life and game:

    “According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 8,000 people were treated for hockey related injuries in Ontario hospital emergency rooms in the 2002-2003 {hockey} season. Based on this rate, more than 25,000 people were injured across the country. In 93 cases of the 8,000, the casualty was admitted to hospital, 15 directly to critical care units.”

  55. saltyC

    Yeah Twisty can you wash Sailorman’s socks and do his shopping too?

  56. sailorman

    salty: ??

    Pony Sep 28th, 2006 at 10:09 am

    “..nobody has a “right” to play pro sports. Let the best people play.”

    How do you imagine they get to be “the best”.

    Genetics and practice.

    But what does getting to be “the best” have to do with it? I mean, if the goal is “get more women to play professional sports” that’s a laudable goal, but does that goal justify discrimination at the school level? After all, pros are, what, 0.01% (guessing) of all athletes? Seems like an odd group on which to base a school policy.

    Anyway to actually answer: lots of it is genetics. These days it’s hard to succeed in a physically demanding sport purely by practice because the pool of people is so large that even the set of “folks who practice all the time” is huge. I played soccer in high school–fairly well–and club in college. Even if I practiced 6 hours a day, I could never have played div 1 soccer much less pro. I’m too slow, and I always will be–I was born that way. I could never have been a pro football player, boxer, tennis player, lacrosse player, or runner. Never.

    Also the quality of one’s joints and tendons and how resistant they are to damage plays a huge role (less these days to to surgery, but still a huge role) and that, too, is unaffected by desire, practice, or the will to succeed.

    Most of the rest of it is practice.

    If I were to suggest a good place to start fighting gender segregation in school sports: Start with the ones where gender makes no functional difference. Take sailing, for example: I’ve been beaten by and sailed with some incredible sailors during my entire 25+ years racing sailboats. Plenty of them were women. Sex is irrelevant to sailing success except in very specific classes which demand a limited (very high or low) weight to be fast. Yet there are separate womens’ and mens’ sailing tournaments (or, more accurately, womens’ and open). It’s an insult to the women–of all the possible areas where they need absolutely no “protection” based on their sex, sailing has got to be up there.

  57. Pony

    Again: how do they get to be the best.

    “Sex is irrelevant to sailing success”

    No it isn’t. I’ll let you figure it out.

  58. t. comfyshoes

    Pony – I agree with you that the best hockey is finesse hockey, not grinder hockey. And that less, or even no, hitting would be great in men’s hockey as well.

    At the same time though, I don’t understand why women/girls have to be sheltered from it but not men/boys.

  59. t. comfyshoes

    OK I do understand and I think it’s stupid.

  60. speedbudget

    Having been the only girl on a boys’ soccer team in high school, I must say it’s no picnic. I don’t imagine boys joining a girls’ team would get the same kind of sexual harassment I got. Anyway, I have a real problem with boys joining a girls’ team when there already is a team of the same sport for the boys just because they want a varsity letter. Girls have enough trouble being taken seriously in sport to begin with, and having boys join the girls’ team because it will be easy to letter is disrespectful in the largest terms. There was a guy in my state who did join the girls’ field hockey team, but there is no boys’ field hockey team so more power to him. On another note, I would like to see more male cheerleaders. I never saw one in any of the high school teams in my state. Never saw one, really, until college. I don’t know why it’s socially okay in college and not in high school, unless the guys simply join as a way to meet women. Not sure about that one.

  61. Luckynkl

    Well, I don’t entirely buy into that. I don’t think women (well girls, actually; we’re talking about high school here) “need protection from those evil men”.

    So says the fox in the henhouse. You don’t need any protection from meeeee. **chuckle**

  62. speedbudget

    Again, speaking from experience, girls DO ned protection from “those evil men.” Men being the coaches, of course. I was referred to by not one but two coaches as a “bitch,” and I was lambasted for having the audacity to talk while on line waiting to complete a drill. Girls function differently from boys, and it was hard for me to function at my fullest potential becuase I was so worried about embarassing myself in front of the boys. When I was on the girls’ basketball team, however, different story. The coach treated us with respect and I felt comfortable to branch out and try. I wasn’t worried about what the boys were thinking of me, how I looked while running, whether my sports bra was actively containing my rather large breasts, I didn’t have to hear the opposite team members making sexually disparaging remarks about me while standing right next to their coach, when I was injured it was taken seriously (on the soccer team, my injuries were treated as a joke. Even when I was actively bleeding or physically unable to stand). Girls need a safe, patriarchy-free place in which to physically excel.

  63. amaz0n

    On the subject of men’s basketballs being larger than women’s basketballs, it has everything to do with hand size. The balls don’t weigh less, they’re just slightly smaller, because women’s hands are on average slightly smaller. It makes plenty of sense to me; basketballs, after all, were originally designed for men’s hands, not for the whole population. There’s nothing wrong with acknowleging that and fixing it, by creating two basketball sizes.

  64. sailorman

    Ya know, I can see the advantages which are gained being able to be in a sex-segregated environment during one’s teenage years. (I don’t think the advantages accrue only to girls, though). I can also see that there is imbalance–duh–but in this particular case, it doesn’t seem to justify the methods. The exiestence of patriarchy justifies some but not all actions to balance its effect. This one IMO is slightly over the line.

    Pony, do you you sail competitively?

  65. Ron Sullivan

    Sailorman, that wasn’t a luffed sail; that whap-whoosh was Pony’s point sailing right over your head.

    Do I really have to talk about class and sex privileges and their funny habit of overlapping in the oddest of patterns?

  66. Pony

    Smaller basketballs: smaller lots of things. I found it very hard working as a professional photographer using cameras shaped to the hand, the easier to hold. If your hand was a male hand, that is.

    To the sailor who can’t figure out shit: I’ve never been in a sailboat in my life.

  67. Ron Sullivan

    Lordy, Twisty, I just scrolled up to that photo again. My dear old dad used to fall asleep like that but without the newspaper over his head. He also had a habit of sleeping with his eyes open, and in that position they were rolled way back in his head. Used to give people a fright until he snored again.

    Chez Twisty, the place for weird nostalgic moments.

  68. sailorman

    wow, Pony, the only reason I don’t agree with you is that I’m STUPID? Nice ad hom.

    No, Ron, you don’t have to give me the privilege lecture. And hopefully I don’t have to give you the “common is not universal” lecture, or the “benefits vs. burdens” lectures in return… or do I? And re the sailing reference: I’ve been doing it almost my entire life. It’s my experience and understanding based on decades of knowledge (knowledge that Pony, bless his/her soul, doesn’t have a fucking clue about) that sailing is significantly DIFFERENT from the many other competitive sports in which I and my friends compete, at least i/r/t gender issues.

    As I said in my post, it’s not that I’m making some random claim that things are “equal”. It’s just that these problems and how to fix them involve a balancing act. Here, I think it goes a bit over the line.

  69. Burrow Klown

    Curling was invented in Scotland, I do believe.

    I’m all for allowing girls to play in boys sports where there are no girls teams for the sport (e.g. American football, wrestling, etc), and not vice-versa. Well maybe. If a guy really wanted to play badminton. (I almost used an ellipsis!) But the whole idea of boys playing on the girls basketball team is ludicrous.

    As a female boxer I spar with men all the time, because I am one of 3 women boxers at my gym. The whole guys are faster, stronger, blah, blah, blah is bullshit. If a guy beats me, I train harder. I’m doing pretty well beating most of them because I train harder then they do, which is a side effect of wanting to be taken seriously in an almost all male gym. I bet Lucia Riker could kick most guys asses in the ring. She’s amazing.

  70. the patriarch

    “But until then, let’s give those kids a chance to feel, at least for a few hours a week, like they did when they were 8, before anyone told them they were too ugly or too delicate or too stupid. I.e. human. Which is how boys get to feel all the time.”

    Fuck, I must have gone to the wrong schools. At the ones I attended, my skinny, trumpet-playing, book-reading ass was laughed at by the boys AND the girls. The bookish girls seemed to get along OK, sometimes terrorized by the popular girls. The athletic girls got on very nicely, as did, of course, the athletic boys.

    My point is that only a very narrow segment of boys get validated all the time.

  71. Pony

    The point here Sailorman isn’t how much you know about sailing (or anything else for that matter) but what you know about equality and feminism. You’re still dead in the water.

  72. Pony

    the patriarch: the reason you took a shit-kicking is how much what you were, looked like, liked to do, came to close to what girls like to do. It’s still about females being second class citizens.

  73. Jezebella

    “the patriarch,” you have just firmly crossed over into whining “but what about the men/boys?” territory. Bugger off.

  74. KTal

    “. Women have no community, no state, no country. They’re even expected and forced to share their homes, their rooms and even their beds and their bodies with their oppressor.”

    Word.

    If you don’t get that Sailorman, what do you get? But then, most men do seem to have a hard time getting it at all, but why should they when they get everything else handed to them? Getting it about the lessers isn’t something someone needs to get, is it?

    I once read in some essay on girls and competitiveness that a casual observation was made at a beach where boys were engaged in a game of something, maybe volleyball or something. Other boys would come up and join in when a spot opened up. No one said anyting, just kept playing and the new player was enjoined without comment.

    THe girls stood at the sidelines. THey said that they wanted to play, but were waiting to be invited in. Waiting for permission. Boys didn’t bother to give permission because their peers don’t ask, so why invite? But girls are taught from very early on to be nice, wait your turn and wait for the boys or others in charge to give the permission. The boys assume their rightful place on their own, the girls make no assumptions as they don’t feel a rightful place and see themselves as ‘unwelcome’ anywhere where first they know they are let in.

    Girls are told from about 8 years old on up and some even earlier, that they are different, they are inferior, made of glass, fragile, breakable and not washable. Ever gone to a toy store lately Sailorman? I have. I’ve seen in the ‘girl’s’ section reams and reams of ironing boards, little toy brooms, toy ovens and baby dolls lined up waiting to be purchased for little housewives/mothers in training.
    Oh and let’s not forget Barbie, her imitators and now her other side of the track bad girls in brown plastic, “Brat Girls”, who dress like a slightly tamed version of ‘Lil Kim. Nothing like an opportunity to change hair styles and outfits to prepare a girl for real womanhood in the real world eh?

    What’s in the boy’s aisle? Trucks, cars, war machines, guns, puzzles, role playing for policeman, fireman, construction workers. Training for careers? Sports gear, science sets, Legos and robotics, erector-sets and of course, lets not forget video games, reams and reams of male centric video games.

    Sure, some of the aisles are gender neutral, sort of, but the displays make the lines pretty clear. Even look at bicycles. Boy’s get racing stripes, cool faster looking super-sonic rides while girls are saddled with pink, curved frame (why do they still make these for god’s sake?), flowery basketed, girlie-girl prissie named two wheel submission mobiles.

    Girls and women are inundated with a culture that tells them from the time they can speak that their role is to serve, obey, make babies and make everyone neat, clean, fed and happy.

    And now those like you want to prattle on and on about how there should be equality in girl’s sports. Ok, I’ll give you your friggin’ equality.

    I want all the girl’s teams to have full funding, to have replicate offerings in college and have pro sports as well. Equality? Well then, I want to see girls feeling comfortable to play basketball on the park courts across the country without having to worry about being hit on, harrassed or plainly told to go home and get out of the way.

    Yeah, equality. When equality hits the real world and gives girls a chance on the total playing field, then I’ll say sure, they should yeid their space at the school field. Until then forget it.

  75. Alecto

    A little late, but oh well:

    Basketball to my knowedge is one of the only (if not THE only) sports like that. soccer, lacrosse, golf, tennis, volleyball… they all use the same size equipment.

    Nah, lacrosse has different equipment; i.e., no padding for girls ’cause it’s non-contact, and they wear skirts. And the pockets of the sticks are shallower. The non-contact part was the reason I stayed with track instead of switching to LAX when our school finally got a women’s team.

    Like women’s hockey, it is a subtler game (my sister likes to crow that her male counterparts always drop the ball when they try to cradle with her stick), but I like brutal sports. Too bad there aren’t any for women, at least not on par with men’s.

  76. slade

    Take that, Popeye. Thanks, KTal.

    Oh, and spinach boy….why did you make such a point of referring to women as ‘girls’ in high school, while referring to the high school boys as men?

    I believe Twisty offers introductory Consciousness Raising Courses from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on Friday evenings…I believe you qualify. Tuition is negotiable, I think. There is a mandatory Placement Test though…the ATBP and it requires a passing grade of 667.

  77. Burrow Klown

    You want brutal sports try water polo. Or football (soccer). Or rugby. I love blood sports as well, and those are what I played as a teen and now I only play water polo and box. These sports are out there for women (or men).

  78. Carpenter

    the difference of course is that girls sports, even if they exist, are usually underfunded and not designed to push girls to their full physical potential. Girls hav loewer physical fitness standard al the wat through school, they play sports with different rules(shorter rounds in boxing, non contact), the have worse equipment and no prospects for making a career out of it as adults-at least not one that pays even in the most watched womens sports. But at least the sports exist at all. So a woman cutting into a mens sports is a huge step up, a man cutting into a womans sport is men taking away a spot for women who already have it pretty bad, wo already arent being pushed hard enough, and who already cant make any money going pro.

  79. Carpenter

    also,
    whats with these assertion that women got sex selected to be smaller than men? I dont know if that holds up, wouldnt small women have small children, both male and female, the hierght gene isnt sex chromosome specfic…. I buy that women are socially conditioned to be less muscley, and try to look as small as possible, and have less dense bones becuase of lack of excercise/heavy lifting, but I dont know if sexually selecting only women to be small makes sense genetically.

  80. amaz0n

    I have a lot to say about this, but I’m going to try and keep it short. Here goes.

    I was a sports reporter until about six months ago, when I transferred to another department. (And if you want to talk about a male-dominated field, ye gods. The horror stories I could tell.) In any case, I work at a small-town newspaper, which meant that I covered high school sports almost exclusively for the two-and-a-half years that I spent in that department. And, despite the fact that I have very little interest in sports as a whole, I found the whole thing very educational, particularly when it came to the politics surrounding girls sports vs. boys sports.

    As many people have thus far pointed out, sports are a valuable tool for girls to learn skills that they might not otherwise have learned in a culture that teaches them to be small, quiet and non-aggressive. A good example of this is girls soccer. At the beginning of the season, most of the girls on any given team that I watched ran with a weird leaning-back, arms-straight, small-stride posture instead of the normal aggressive-looking stance that most people assume while running in such situations. They deliberately avoided getting in each other’s space, wouldn’t fight for the ball, and didn’t yell. As the season went on, they slowly shed these tendencies and adopted the aggressive playing tactics required for soccer.

    Boys don’t have these challenges, because they aren’t taught from the womb on that they need to be small, quiet and docile. Their skills might not be sharp at the beginning of the season, but most of them don’t need to literally re-learn how to run and shout.

    I guess the point of that was that women’s sports and men’s sports, at least on a high-school level, are ultimately teaching kids different things, because boys and girls have a different set of challenges if they are going to be successful at any given sport. In a non-patriarchal world, this wouldn’t be true. But, for now, I think it’s a huge mistake to deny girls the opportunity to learn those skills without having to deal with boys trying to run the show.

    On the other hand, the “boys and girls have a different set of challenges” thing is also physical, and it’s foolish to ignore that aspect of it. Someone upthread was talking about how much different women’s basketball is from men’s basketball. I have found this to be true, even at a high school level. However, I don’t think it’s because girls aren’t given to “showboating,” fancy shooting, etc., because I honestly believe that aspect of basketball is what makes it so fun to watch (YMMV, of course) and a good many female basketball players do like to do those things. It’s different because, when you get down to it, the basket is about six more inches above the head of the average girl than it is above the average boy. That changes the way the game is played, because it changes the way you shoot the ball, particularly at short range. I guarantee that if the basket was raised six to eight inches for boys basketball, the game would ultimately be more team oriented and involve less showboating simply because the ability of boys to dunk and make close-range shots would be dramatically reduced.

  81. Burrow Klown

    I’m happy that Lucis Rijker is making a living out of being a professional boxer. It definitely is a step in the right direction. And what did you mean by no contact? I got a nice shiner from the last time I fought a woman that will beg to differ with you.

  82. Burrow Klown

    speaking of which, if you want to see how differently women are treated in the boxing world you should check out the documentary Shadow Boxers. I wonder how many reporters ask male boxers what their wives think of their choice of sport.

  83. sailorman

    alecto: sorry, was talking about ball size–lax balls are the same as you surely know. Obviously the contact rules are different tho.

    KTal Sep 28th, 2006 at 7:51 pm
    Girls are told from about 8 years old on up and some even earlier, that they are different, they are inferior, made of glass, fragile, breakable and not washable. Ever gone to a toy store lately Sailorman? I have. I’ve seen in the ‘girl’s’ section reams and reams of ironing boards, little toy brooms, toy ovens and baby dolls lined up waiting to be purchased for little housewives/mothers in training.
    Oh and let’s not forget Barbie, her imitators and now her other side of the track bad girls in brown plastic, “Brat Girls”, who dress like a slightly tamed version of ‘Lil Kim. Nothing like an opportunity to change hair styles and outfits to prepare a girl for real womanhood in the real world eh?

    Yes. It is fucking revolting. Do you KNOW how hard it it to find good toys for my 2 girls that aren’t pink, shiny, and all about femininity? I keep “losing” our Cinderalla and Belle books but our inlaws keep replacing them. Though I’ve managed to find a preschool with no commercial stuff allowed (and enforced!) so they’ve yet to see a Barbie doll.

    ktal–you and Pony are making the unfortunately common ad hom error of claiming that anyone who disagrees with you is a patriarchal idiot. This doesn’t especially distress me given the circumstances, but it’s not a very compelling argument.

  84. Luckynkl

    whats with these assertion that women got sex selected to be smaller than men? I dont know if that holds up, wouldnt small women have small children, both male and female, the hierght gene isnt sex chromosome specfic…. I buy that women are socially conditioned to be less muscley, and try to look as small as possible, and have less dense bones becuase of lack of excercise/heavy lifting, but I dont know if sexually selecting only women to be small makes sense genetically.

    Sure it does. It has to do with dominant and recessive genes.

    The average height for a woman is 5’4″. The average height for a man is 5’11″. So let’s play genetics. I’ll demonstrate with my own family. I’ll skip my brothers to avoid confusion. But it plays out no differently with them.

    Both my grandmothers were 5’1″. My mother was 4’7″. My father was 6′. So how did this play out genetically? Well the X chromosome both my parents carry are going to be for less than average height in females. Which means I don’t get to have a snowball’s chance in hell of being tall. And I didn’t. I am 5′ even.

    Now I go on to have children. I have 4 daughters. Their father is 6′ tall, just like my father was. The women in his family are taller. Which means my daughters could take on the traits of the women in my family or in his family. Either way, the females on either side are not taller than the average man.

    My genes turned out to be dominant. All my daughters stand 5’1″, the exact height of both my grandmothers, with the exception of one, who stands 5’4″ — the exact height of their father’s shortest sister.

    Do you see the pattern here? Tho both my father, and my kids’ fathers stood 6′ tall, and the women in his family are taller, height did not all average out. You tend to take after one parent, grandparent or close relative and inherit that trait. In this case, height.

    Now if men, who are on average, 5’11″ tall, prefer smaller women, then 6’5″ females are not going to be the preferred selection for men to reproduce with. As a result, 6’5″ women and their genes for height, are going to get scarce.

    If the average woman stands 5’4″, we can now begin to see that men, on average, selected women 7″ shorter than themselves to breed with.

    Capisce?

  85. Carpenter

    we really should ask a geneticist. I mean my mother is 4 10, everyone in her family are short , on both sides. he women are 5 feet, the men around 5 4. My father is 6 feet tall. Half of his family are average, 5-11 men 5-6 women and the other half ars short eastern europeans, everyone is about 5-6. My brothers and I all ended up in the middle, Though we are short we outdo my mohers family and fall short of my dads. am 5-3 my brother is 5-6 the other brother is 5-8.

    Anyway this is all anecdatal. Are genes for height even on the sex chromosomes? I mean color blindness is a sex chromosome linked thing but is height? I mean I dont think every old trait can be selected for in one sex only.

    I thought mamals could genetically inherit size as some kind of parental everage, like they might inherit skin pigmentation. And that the height difference was mostly a function of hormones. Like for humans XY males who are androgen insensitive look like females and are samller than androgen sensiive males.

    Anyway ‘d be interested to learn more, Where’s PZ Myers.

  86. Luckynkl

    Well yes, there are more factors involved in height than just genetics. Lack of food and nutrition for example can alter growth. And yes, the pituatary gland, overactive or underactive affects growth.

  87. KTal

    “ktal–you and Pony are making the unfortunately common ad hom error of claiming that anyone who disagrees with you is a patriarchal idiot. This doesn’t especially distress me given the circumstances, but it’s not a very compelling argument.”

    Well, Sailor/Popeye, its not ad hominem, you’ve earned the ire fair and square. I just went on a little trip back in time and picked me some plums. Let’s have a lookee:

    “So long as there isn’t some sort of overall governing body with different RULES for girls and boys, men should be allowed to join the girls’ team if it’s the only one.”

    Well, there is a governing body with different RULES for girls and boys, its called the Patriarchy, that dominant social system that demands that girls play to a different set of rules, learn to be the loser and learn that their role is to nurture the winner — who by the way, isn’t them. Cheerleading anyone? So considering that, boys don’t belong on girl’s teams as girls are indoctrinated to defer and boys are indoctrinated to take, the actual ways in which the deferrence and the taking vary too greatly for me to extrapolate right here. Anyway, point is, all the deferring and taking sure does seem to throw the idea of ‘fair’ and ‘compeition’ among girls and boys right out the window doesn’t it?

    “Not in school it isn’t. That’s what title 9 is FOR. There’s little I can do to whether girls will happen to be ineterested in playing football. But if they want it, the football team is legally theirs for the asking.”

    Well, again, seems we have to go back to Point One. In a social system where girls are told that they have to behave in certain ways and want certain things and also express disinterest in other certain things, lest they be deemed unworthy of love, acceptance or possibly deserving of a good pants’ warming, I don’t believe we’ll see girls EXPRESSING a desire to play football.

    Since any oppressive system keeps the desires of the oppressed oppressed, then no one is gonna know them, save for a few who may feel they have nothing to lose anyway by going against the grain and going public. But usually they only serve as fodder with which to keep the others in line. See? She’s an ugly butch-dyke who likes football and no one loves her.

    “The exiestence of patriarchy justifies some but not all actions to balance its effect. This one IMO is slightly over the line.”

    I’d like to know exactly where you got the ability and/or the authority to deem exactly what actions fall under ‘some’ and what actions fall outside of this presumably narrow chasm you’ve carved out of your generous mind.

    “I mean, if the goal is “get more women to play professional sports” that’s a laudable goal, but does that goal justify discrimination at the school level? After all, pros are, what, 0.01% (guessing) of all athletes? Seems like an odd group on which to base a school policy.”

    Well, let us back up and look at the whole. Since discrimination against women is the backbone of the patriarchical social system we live in, then any efforts to acquire justice would naturally require the rebalancing of the existing imbalance, which I guess would cause those who see the tilted world level to complain that something seems a bit askew if such re-balancing were to occur. To those seeking justice, adjustment may be metered by the extent of complaints from the priviledged class; a mere dull murmur may require a little more to the left.

    “If I were to suggest a good place to start fighting gender segregation in school sports: Start with the ones where gender makes no functional difference. Take sailing, for example…”

    Now Sailor/Popeye, I think that’s a mighty fine idea and I would support you taking that up with any and all schoolboards across the country. Although funding might be called up as an issue, I am confident that there exist in our social system, many a sailing patriarch just aching with all his soul to open his wallet and fund sucha wunnerful opportunity to participate in an experiment on the value of non-gender sport sailing at the high school level.

    And since gender inequality seems to get deeper the farther down the socio-economic spectrum one ventures, I think the best places to start are Harlem and East St. Louis. Hell, old patriarchs ain’t got forever, so let’s cut right to the bone.

    They do sail on the ole’ Miss you know and could in fact go all the way down to the gulf. And you know how close Harlem is to the sea!

    Fine idea old chap!

  88. KTal

    oh, and the comment about pro sports: “After all, pros are, what, 0.01% (guessing) of all athletes? Seems like an odd group on which to base a school policy.”

    Fact is, school sports benefits all participants in that it develops the ability to learn teamwork, individual strengths, how to be aggressive, how to be competitive and yet still be a ‘sport’ about it — a skill well developed among males and very useful in the working world, also not to mention the benefits of regular exercise and the opportunity for socialization that has nothing to do with sexualization or satisfying any other arbitrary, discriminatory rules girls must otherwise follow.

    Actually, the quest for pro-sports placement embodies another niche carved out by the dominant group for another oppressed group to fall into. When the need for entertainers for the dominant group arises, the choosers just merely reach into the crammed bucket of ‘the chosen’ and pick out a few to dance for them. Some will either climb out, starve or eat eachother, but there is always a line cued up for the chance to get in and grab at the elusive pot o’ gold.

    Same rules in as the patriarchy, in fact, functions very well within the patriarchy. Just that women make up 52% of the population last I knew, so their complicity with the system is paramount to its survival.

  89. Ms Kate

    The average height for a woman is 5′4″. The average height for a man is 5′11″.

    Nope. It’s more like 5’4″ for women, 5’9″ for men according to the CDC in 2002: http://www.fda.gov/fdac/departs/2005/105_note.html (scroll down a bit)

  90. Luckynkl

    I did some research on average height about 3 or 4 years ago. Those were the statistics then.

    Now I know the Y chromosome is progressively degenerating, but I don’t think it’s dengenerating quite that fast.

    But I did notice an interesting phenomenon. Whenever I, or any other woman for that matter, quotes a statistic, people rush out to prove her wrong. But when men qhote a statistic, people usually just take it as fact. What’s up with that?

    That was the case 3 or 4 years ago when I did the research. People rushed out to prove me wrong back then as well. What we found is some sites concurred and some didn’t.

    **shrug**

    But back to the subject as hand, in particular, Sailorboy, I just wanted to say, hat’s off to you again, KTal. Hammer. Nail. Bang.

  91. DaeM

    I don’t believe it’s always wrong, in principle, to have separate teams for boys and girls. As others have said, there is a difference in how boys and girls are raised, and there can be physical differences in strength and size. Sadly, I think many girls have it so ingrained in them that they are weaker than guys that they might not participate in sports unless they can do it with other girls.

    For as long as the patriarchy has existed, we as women have been taught, often subconsciously, that it’s simply a man’s world and that if we enter into that world, we won’t be able to live up to the big, strong men and those men will end up having to carry us. If a girl honestly believes, even subconsciously, that she can’t live up to the boys and excel on their level, things like joining the boy’s hockey team can feel downright irresponsible, which I think is very sad. All-female teams can provide a more comfortable environment, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Some girls aren’t going to gain confidence overnight, and it’s better to let them ease into it than to abandon them.

    However, in a case like this, you have to think about the girls’ motives in going out for an all-male team. What would compel a girl to do that? Perhaps she doesn’t feel comfortable or challenged on the girl’s team, or the girl’s team isn’t taken as seriously. Or, perhaps a girl’s team doesn’t exist. Perhaps she feels she’s being segregated because of her gender. I think concerns like this are valid. Unfortunately, despite Title IX and other advances in women’s atheletics, there are still many people, mostly men, who just don’t take women’s sports seriously. Women are still expected to be quiet and non-agressive, and sports usually take some level of agressive behavior. That’s why I think some people (once again, mostly men) find female atheletes intimidating. But girls deserve just as much of an opportunity as guys.

    Which leads me to the motives of guys who try out for girl’s teams. What do they stand to gain from it? Most sports are already male-dominated, so they have the upper hand by default. Nobody can claim men, as a gender, have been particularly oppressed over the years, either. And if there’s one area where men have definitely not been oppressed in, I’d say sports qualify. So, the only motive I can think of, aside from spite or perhaps a strive for what they feel would be equality, would be what some of the boys in the article admitted to: they feel the girl’s team is easier. Well, they’re honest, which is good. However, do we really want girl’s sports to be considered easier than male sports?

  92. auguste

    even the kids in T-ball teams are sex-segregated

    That’s not true in a lot of cases, at least in Portland. And good.

    Being women are biologically complete, and men are not…

    What does this mean, exactly?

  93. auguste

    Being women are biologically complete, and men are not

    What does this mean, exactly?

    Whenever I, or any other woman for that matter, quotes a statistic, people rush out to prove her wrong…

    Who knew you were a woman? If anything, your ‘handle’ reads like “Lucky Uncle.”

    As for me, I look to challenge statistics which are foreign or counterintuitive or which contradict more accepted results. I’m guessing that’s the reason Ms Kate dared to disagree.

    Also, CafeSiren, in Portland at least most t-ball teams – as well as preschool and kindergarten-era soccer teams – are not boy-girl split, and haven’t been since at least the time I was on them which is (shudder, cough) 26 years ago.

    If I remember right, my soccer team wasn’t even segregated in middle school, although the club teams were.

  94. KTal

    “…they feel the girl’s team is easier. Well, they’re honest, which is good. However, do we really want girl’s sports to be considered easier than male sports?”

    Just that statement in and of itself is an expression of the diminishment of women and the idea that they cease to exist outside of the realm of men. So what if the women’s sports are easier than the men’s? I’d doubt their claims, but to argue the issue only gives power and credence to their efforts to claim that men hold the bar for acheivement and also, that men are superior.

    In fact, the claim is made and you assume it true? Everyone assumes the claim true because women are in fact inferior right? Why is this claim given one ounce of credence? Or is it because it is males making this claim and we should all stop and listen and think on it. I’ll puke on it thank you.

    (Yes, I hear you about what you say Lucky about when women say something. Try dealing with a bunch of lumox subcontractors, all men, with little ladies at home washing their socks. Now they have to recognize that I run the show here, or go away with empty pockets. They do have a hard time hearing at first, but they learn.)

    If they wish to have an ‘easier’ team then their alternative should be to start their own second level, lower level, junior-junior varisty, hell I don’t give a hoot what its called or why, but they still have no right to make claim to women’s territory!

    That anyone even puts finger to chin and thinks on it for one minute as if somehow the claim for access deserves credence, only is a Too-Too-Tool of the Patriarchy!!

    Oh and thanks Lucky for your agreeing with me.

  95. Pony

    the answer to the problem:

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/story/2006/09/28/tech-finger-length.html

  96. ginmar

    Has no one read Mariah Burton Nelson’s “The Stronger Women Get, The More Men Like Football”?

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