Title IX’s presence within the athletic community has benefitted thousands of women and has created numerous opportunities on and off the field. As a result of Title IX’s implementation, forty-two years ago, women have received athletic scholarships to
top-tier universities that they might not have attended without the financial help. Also, it is not only female athletes who are attending college that benefit from Title IX’s presence, but also an increase in salary for coaches and staff of those women’s teams have resulted as well. However, Title IX has not fully corrected the inequality between men and women in the athletic community, and has a long way to go before getting close. Professor Mika Lavaque-Manty highlights a handful of the roadblocks that pose major challenges for women achieving full equality in sports in his book, The Playing Fields of Eton.
The chapter titled, “Being a Woman and Other Disabilities,” Professor Lavaque-Manty uses the example of someone with a disability and compares it to being a woman. In the title, Lavaque-Manty insinuates that being a woman in the sports world is quite similar to having a disability. As much as I agree that there is an inequality, the argument regarding male vs. female stereotypes in the does not sit well with me.
It is often argued, and rightly so, that men are typically bigger, faster, and stronger than the average female. Then, there is the preconceived notion that because this difference in performance exists, women are looked down upon and not given the same chances as the men do. I argue that these stereotypes exist within society not because they aim to portray the fact that men are “better” than women, but more simply that men are typically stronger, tougher, and more competitive than women. I am not, by any means, saying that men are better than women, but given the track record of athletic achievements, it is a reoccurring theme that men record higher numbers (in an athletic context) than women. I do not agree with the notion that women are inferior to men. I fully support the expansion of women’s athletics in all sports, age groups, and locations around the world. I also support Title IX and its purpose to create more opportunities for female athletes. However, I think it is an unfair argument to make the claim that the reason female athletes are not given the same chances as male athletes is because they are not as fast, strong, and quick as the males.
Another point I would like to add is that if those who argue that women are not given the same opportunities as men due to the stereotypical physical abilities, then why don’t women compete against men in the competitive field? If we were to try this
system out for a week and let females play on the same court, field, and arenas as the men, I have a suspicion that the males would probably dominate over the women. Once again, I am not arguing that the men would perform better because men are always superior to women, but rather because men typically jump higher, run faster, and are stronger all while being more aggressive in doing so than the female athletes. For example, in the game of basketball, how often does a woman dunk a basketball? Not often at all. The basket heights in both the NBA and WNBA are the same height, but why haven’t more women been able to dunk? It is clearly not because men are restricting their ability, but simply because they are not able to jump as high. I would stand behind thousands of other men that support and love to see more women dunk a basketball, sore
a touchdown in the NFL, or hit a grand-slam for the New York Yankees, but as of now, that doesn’t seem to be a possibility; once again, not because men are preventing female athletes to reach these feats, but because it is statistically proven that men will perform better against women in the same space.
After reading Professor Lavaque-Manty’s chapter, I felt the need to express my thoughts on the subject and the line a draw between reasonable and unreasonable arguments within the subject. With this being said, I do support the growth and progression female athletes are making in terms of opportunities, and I do think that Title IX is helping the growth exponentially.