Recently I participated in the intramural flag football co-ed league and I was astonished by the outrageous rules that existed in order to make sure girls get involved in the play. It made me think of Mika Lavaque-Manty’s chapter in The Playing Fields of Eton, entitled, “Being a Woman and Other Disabilities.” The chapter goes into the topic of gender norms in sports and also examines the world of sports now that Title IX exists. I think the idea that girls and guys can play the same sports equally is preposterous. I’m sure I am going to get backlash for this and it may seem irrational, but I have facts to back this idea up.
Take, for example, Missy Franklin, the gold medal winner in the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the 100m backstroke. She won the gold medal with a time of 58.33 and beat her own national record. If sports were equal and everyone competed together regardless of gender, Franklin would have lost to the man who came in dead last in the 100m backstroke by nearly five seconds, which is an extremely substantial amount of time considering the separation between eighth place and first place in the event for the men was about 1.5 seconds. I totally believe that all women should have the same opportunity to play sports that men do, but in separate leagues. The idea of co-ed sports just does not work because males statistically play sports at a higher level than their female counterparts because of biological reasons of higher level of testosterone and muscle mass. In 1985, “The Journal of Applied Physiology” released a study that showed that men have 72.6 pounds of muscle compared to women who have 46.2 pounds of muscle with 40 percent more muscle mass in the upper body and 33 percent more muscle mass in the lower body. Men have a significant advantage in competing in these sports and I think it is unfair to group women and men together for competitive events.
Going back to the IM football league and the ridiculous aforementioned rules. It is required that every other play a girl is involved, which is called a “close play.” If a male to male pass occurs it is an Illegal Male Reception, which results in a loss of 5 yards as well as a loss in down. This is not gender equality in the slightest. This is altering the rules of a game in order to give the perception that everyone involved is equal. In a way these rules are biased against male players because in a given play it limits who a quarterback can throw to and then the opposing team can just double cover every single girl making it so much more difficult for them to make the catch. At a certain point, when there are this many rules that need to be implemented in order to keep the game fair for everyone involved (both male and female), are the players all really playing equally?