(This post is a response to the blog “I am man, I am better” by leah10302018 http://politicaltheory005.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/i-am-man-i-am-better/)
As a kid growing up my father, whose parents were holocaust survivors, always told me “life’s not fair”. Whenever my older brother got a cooler toy and I would start complaining I always heard that same dreaded line, “Josh, life’s not fair”.
I was not surprised as I walked into the Crisler Center on a dreary Ann Arbor night to a modest crowd. It was the second Women’s home game of the season against Detroit. It was an average game and Michigan squeaked out a 76-57 victory. Women’s basketball does not usually get much attention and does not have the same following as men’s sports; which was exhibited by the half empty Crisler Center crowd.
This past winter while visiting the university, I attended a Purdue, Michigan Men’s basketball game at the Crisler Center. The line was outrageously long. However, even while waiting in line outside the stadium, you could feel the electricity in the air. The men’s sports especially basketball and football brings in millions of dollars in revenue, with the football team alone earning $82 million in the 2012- 2013 season. Is it fair that more time and money is spent on the more popular men’s sports? Is it fair that more people would rather attend men’s sporting events than women’s?
The author of the article “I am man, I am Better” believes that no, this is not fair. She argues that because the women’s team is very “talented” that they should have a “following”. She says “why is it that they aren’t talented enough to have a following. This is an issue of gender norms, why is it that men get support for athletics and women don’t. My professor says in Being a Woman and Other Disabilities when referring to a women’s basketball game “you don’t see any spectators.” She argues that this is an issue of Gender norms. However, I believe that women do not have as much of a “following” because people are not nearly as interested in women’s sports as they are in men’s sports. People want to watch the best players play at the highest level. They do not want to watch a second tier event. No one goes to a sporting event to see the benchwarmers play the whole game while the star sits on the bench. Men’s sports are played at a higher level and this is the sole reason for spectators being present at men’s sports.
Professor Mika also argues in his book, “throwing like a girl” that “although Title IX changed things significantly…no women’s sport is what universities call a “revenue sport… [and] has been a slow and bumpy
road to more inclusion”. And in “I am man, I am Better” the author argues “Women’s tickets aren’t nearly as expensive as men’s are.” This is because the world is run by money and these facts shows that people are willing to spend money and take time out of their day to go to events that they want to go to. I believe that this is not gender inequality or “unfair treatment” rather it is just showing that people are willing to spend more on men’s events and the University is willing to make money off of that fact. At the end of the day people are going to what they want to do and a sport such as women’s basketball cannot be forced into earning revenue and prices cannot be made the same just to make things equal. That is not how life works.
In “I am man, I am Better”, the author also states “Women are working just as hard as men to get half of the achievements, half of the support and half of pay. That’s where the problem is, having fans is an issue but not as big of an issue as not being equally paid for the same amount of work that come with the same risks. With the minimum salary in the WNBA being approximately 30,000 dollars a year how exactly are women supposed to make a sustainable living doing the same exact thing men are.” People are paid on how much demand there is for what they are doing. For example, there is very low demand for an unskilled profession like working as a cashier in McDonalds, therefore there pay is very low. However, an oncologist has to go through years of school and there is a lot of demand for that job therefore he has a high salary. It does not have anything to do with how hard someone works. The McDonald’s worker could be working incredibly hard yet he’d still be making that same low salary. The world is not an equal place. And as my wise father says “life’s not fair.”