Althouse has a post on Title IX and the new phenomenon of men being in the minority on college campuses. When colleges add or emphasize sports teams to attract more male students, they can be accused of violating Title IX, not providing equal athletic opportunities for women. There are many interesting comments. This was mine. Call me retro, if you will — and I’m a woman deeply involved in a traditionally male martial art, which may be the best thing that ever happened to me.
Sports have different meanings for men and women. I think men’s love of them is more visceral. Team sports particularly are the last refuge of testosterone; they really are ritualized tribal warfare. In this age when not even soldiering is any longer exclusively male, you could say that school and professional athletes “carry the balls for us all.” As such they serve an important purpose, I think — a purpose comparable to what, say, clothes and makeup and sexy shoes serve for women. The refuges where we keep our primal gender alive, you could say, in an age of considerable androgyny and equality. I enjoy the latter, with the caveat that I think we need the former.
Sports are important for women in a different way. It’s less vital. I’ve thought about this a lot because of studying karate, noticing how the conditioning and breaking-through-limits part of it was important to both sexes but the fighting was specially for men, and they were for it. Women want to fight full contact now, just as they are getting into boxing. Fine if they want to show their human courage, skill, and competitiveness, but it’s not the same and never will be. Our bodies aren’t really built and fueled for fighting, men’s are.
It’s the “fighting” part of sports that is male and always will be, and should be. Why can’t we acknowledge and embrace this, while still providing opportunities for those women who really want to revel in the skill, stamina and competition of team sports?
(P.S. I’m well aware that these are generalizations and that there are exceptions. Not all men’s bodies are made for fighting, some women’s are, and there are more than two genders anyway. IMO, none of that invalidates my point.)