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die hard is a xmas movie | by maryann johanson

Battle of the Sexes movie review: totally ace

Battle of the Sexes green light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
An essential history lesson with a smart smack of relevance for today (because feminism always has to be relitigated). It’s also warm, funny, and hugely entertaining.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): I’m desperate for movies about women
I’m “biast” (con): not a sports fan at all
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

That saying about those not remembering the past being condemned to repeat it? Of course it’s true… but sometimes it’s not an accident that the past gets forgotten. Sometimes the squashing of history — and the continuation of history into the present — is deliberate. Feminists know this: Women are constantly having to reinvent feminism, refight the same battles, because they don’t stay won. A brief moment of small triumph very quickly gets drowned out by major cultural pushback; women may savor victory only long enough for it to be washed away. There’s that other saying: Two steps forward, one step back. With feminism, it’s more like: Half a baby step forward, a dozen steps back.

This was an enormous cultural event that transcended sports. And yet it’s been all but forgotten in the popular consciousness.
tweet

That’s how it’s possible that the 1973 “battle of the sexes” tennis match, meant to settle the question of whether female athletes were the equals of their male counterparts, did no such thing. Does anyone who was too young to have watched or not yet alive at the time even know about it? (I’d love to hear that I’m wrong about this.) The match was played at the Houston Astrodome and drew 90 million viewers around the world at a time when live global TV was only in its infancy. It was an enormous cultural event that transcended the niche of sports. And yet it seems to have been all but forgotten in the popular consciousness. Certainly the “question” of women’s athletic prowess continues to be posed, though only so that it may be pooh-poohed, most recently in the “debate” over whether Serena Williams is the best tennis player ever or merely the best female tennis player. (Are women ever allowed to be considered the best of anything? Or must our accomplishments always be qualifed as lesser?) Male tennis legend John McEnroe appears to be itching now for a rerun of the 1973 match with Williams on the other side of the net.

If we were men, these $1 Virginia Slims contracts would be $1.50...

If we were men, these $1 Virginia Slims contracts would be $1.50…tweet

So, as usual, there’s a necessity to a movie like Battle of the Sexes, an urgency to be seen,tweet that goes beyond its sheer entertainment value, which is also enormous. It doesn’t feel like the essential history lesson that it is, though would that it didn’t make me rather depressed to see how little has really changed in 44 years. Somehow, the directing team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris — they of the not-good Ruby Sparks and the brilliant Little Miss Sunshine — has captured the amusement value of retro kitsch without their film being actually kitschytweet (perhaps because its subject matter sadly feels so au courant). Somehow they’ve made a film that quietly debunks the spurious notion that feminism can’t be funtweet by itself being fun, full of cheery bashes at outrageous sexism and an aura of sporting (in all senses of the word) can-do spirit.

“I’m gonna put the show back in chauvinism,” the larger-than-life Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell: The Big Short, Freeheld) — 55 years old and a former champion — announces at a televised press conference once Billie Jean King (Emma Stone: La La Land, Aloha) — the 29-year-old number-one-ranked woman in the world — has finally accepted his challenge to play him in an exhibition match. Everyone laughs, including King. But while he may be entertaining, he’s an entertaining asshole, entirely representative of attitudes she has been battling for years. She is under no illusions about how vital it is for her to win this game. To lose would give fuel to those who believe women inferior to men. To lose would be to transform a half-baby step forward into a hundred steps back.

“Oh, did that get you in the noggin, Riggs? My bad! So sorry.”

“Oh, did that get you in the noggin, Riggs? My bad! So sorry.”tweet

But the actual Battle comes at the end of the film. The movie opens with King — Stone is wonderful in the role, all quiet determination and ambitiontweet — pulling out of the tennis federation run by Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman: Independence Day: Resurgence, American Ultra) over his refusal to pay the women players the same prize money the men receive: the women, after all, sell as many tickets as the men do. But he’ll have none of it: he’s the kind of man who dismisses women with statements that start with “The thing about women is…” and end with some nugget of awful stereotyped nonsense, all delivered with suave “reasonable” gentlemanliness. The likes of Kramer, a respected authority figure, are the real problems, the most insidious misogynists, not a clown like Riggs. (Carell is an absolute hoot in the role. Ghastly, but a hoot nevertheless.) King doesn’t just pull out of Kramer’s organization: she leads other women players in boycotting his tourneys and setting up their own league, with the help of World Tennis magazine founder Gladys Heldman (a hilarious Sarah Silverman: A Million Ways to Die in the West, Wreck-It Ralph), who deals with the business end.

Steve Carell is an absolute hoot as outrageous chauvinist Bobby Riggs. Ghastly, but a hoot nevertheless.
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Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Everest, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) finds a lot of sly humor in how the women’s tournament grows and succeeds, stuff that wouldn’t have caused anyone at the time to bat an eye but seems amusingly ironic today, such as the fact that it’s tobacco company Philip Morris sponsoring what is billed as “the Virginia Slims* Tour”; Heldman, though, does get some wry mileage out of the disparity between athleticism and smoking cigarettes. The always delightful Alan Cumming (Strange Magic, The Smurfs 2) as former player turned fashion designer Ted Tinling represents a loosening up of the on-court etiquette with his colorful dresses for King and her fellow players to wear while competing; no more boring whites. And our eye today cannot help but pick out the appalling condescension and casual abuse that was misogyny passing unnoticed in 1973, as how Battle of the Sexes commentator Howard Cosell — a legend of sports journalism and another authority figure — has no compunction about delivering his televised blow-by-blow with his arm draped possessively around the shoulders of his cocommentator, King colleague and fellow tennis player Rosemary Casals (Natalie Morales [Going the Distance, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps], very convincingly CGI’ed into the original Cosell footage). It’s so… ugh. (One interesting positive change in the intervening years: the filmmakers have had to age up Carell to play Riggs, even though the actor is the same age the player was back then. Fifty-five today is younger than it was 44 years ago.)

“I can give you an iconic hairstyle and better orgasms than a man ever has...” “Deal!”

“I can give you an iconic hairstyle and better orgasms than a man ever has…” “Deal!”tweet

Perhaps the more trenchant history lesson, though, that Battle of the Sexes has to offer is this one: behind every victory, even a shortlived one, is another campaign for dignity and respect waiting to be started. Battle does a lovely job of depicting the absolute necessity of King keeping her homosexuality a secret. She was married at the time of the Battle, to Larry (Austin Stowell: Colossal, Bridge of Spies), who at first seems like a Ken-doll beard for her, but we come to see that there is real affection and friendship between them. He is genuinely hurt when his wife takes up with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough: Mindhorn, Birdman), a hairdresser who — wow! — gave King that famous 70s “Billie Jean” hairstyle. This is as much a tender, gentle romance between the two women as it is a story about a push for fairness in professional sports across gender lines. But that relationship had to be conducted outside the public eye, lest suggestions of “licentiousness, immorality, and sin,” as a disapproving player on the women’s tour deems King’s sexuality, taint the ongoing fight for equal pay and equal esteem. Battle of the Sexes is a bittersweet reminder that not all battles can be fought at once.tweet And that that other battle is still ongoing, too.

*Oh, my babies, you may not know this since cigarettes are not advertised like they used to be, but Virginia Slims cigarettes were (still are) a brand directed at women, the marketing of which harnessed notions of female liberation but also, ironically, strict adherence to beauty standards as selling tools.


green light 4.5 stars

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Battle of the Sexes (2017) | directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
US/Can release: Sep 22 2017
UK/Ire release: Nov 24 2017

MPAA: rated PG-13 for some sexual content and partial nudity
BBFC: rated 12A (infrequent moderate sex)

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card (now updated for 2017’s trolls!) you might want to reconsider.

  • Bluejay

    Wow. Emma Stone AND Steve Carell AND Alan Cumming AND Natalie Morales? SOLD. This has just shot to the top of my must-see list.

    I remember the Virginia Slims “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” ads — which are only horrifying me now, after not having thought about them since childhood. Women aren’t anyone’s “baby,” and sadly, they haven’t come far enough.

  • Kathy_A

    I was born in 1966, and have very vague memories of this match. I think I remember more the lingering pop-cultural references to it for the rest of the 1970s. Billie Jean was always a feminist icon to me, and Bobby Riggs was always a clown–I had no idea he was an actual former tennis champ until recently.

    I just popped over here hoping that you had posted a review of this, and was delighted to read this! I am going to look up my local theater online and hope that they have it booked for this weekend.

  • This is opening on only 20 screens in the US tomorrow, but it goes wide next Friday.

    I was born in 1969, and I have vague memories of King, and somehow I was aware of this match, but I can’t recall how or where I first heard about it. I certainly have no memory of the event from 1973.

  • Kathy_A

    It is playing at the big multiplex near my apartment, and is actually going to be on two screens there. Looking forward to seeing it!

  • There’s a great collection of Virginia Slims magazine ads from the 60s through the 80s here:

    http://flashbak.com/youve-come-a-long-way-baby-virginia-slims-advertising-year-by-year-365664/

    The constant harping on the NOT FATNESS of these cigarettes is disturbing. Combined with the notion — unspoken, but everyone knew it, even those who didn’t smoke — that cigarettes suppress appetite, you’d almost think they were selling these as a dieting aid.

  • Enjoy!

  • Anna

    Interesting point – if Emma Stone gets nominated for an Oscar, she’ll be the first woman to be nominated for one for playing a real-life athlete: http://www.goldderby.com/article/2017/battle-of-the-sexes-emma-stone-oscar-history-billie-jean-king/

    Are there any sex scenes? My aunt wants to see this with me and I’m interested in the history, but I can’t watch sex scenes in front of her.

  • There is one demure sex scene between King and Barnett. It’s romantic, and not explicit.

  • Anna

    Ok cool. I’m also happy this is being released while Billie Jean King is still alive, by the way. So often it seems like women get recognized posthumously.

  • Allen W

    I was also born in 1966, and didn’t see the match, but was vaguely aware of it at the time. Oddly enough, my only direct exposure to Bobby Riggs was when he guest-starred on The Odd Couple.

  • Allen W

    (And my main memory of Billie Jean is network news stories about the palimony suit.)

  • Robert P

    That’s how it’s possible that the 1973 “battle of the
    sexes” tennis match, meant to settle the question of whether female
    athletes were the equals of their male counterparts, did no such
    thing.

    The reason it did no such thing isn’t
    because of any alleged steps backward for “feminism”, it did no such
    thing because it wasn’t meant to. It was a money-making stunt – period.

    Are
    women ever allowed to be considered the best of anything? Or must our
    accomplishments always be qualifed as lesser?

    Sure – in arenas where it’s not ludicrous and unfair to compare them head to head against men.

    It
    doesn’t take a thing away from King to say that Riggs in his prime
    would have crushed her, just as the top male players of King’s day would
    have. 50-something Riggs did beat Margaret Court who was the top-ranked
    female player at the time and one of King’s top rivals. As it was King
    struggled to beat Riggs even with the advantage of analyzing his match against Court.

    The top female golfer in the world
    Annika Sorenstam gave it a shot and couldn’t hang with the men. Both
    Williams sisters were beaten by the 203rd ranked man
    in the world – after making the bodacious claim they could beat any man
    out of the top 200. It doesn’t change that all of these women are superb
    athletes, they’re just not working with the same tools – it’s not an
    affront to womanhood to acknowledge reality.

  • Bluejay

    I think it’s a much more complex issue. Biology undoubtedly plays a role (though not the ONLY role) in determining how male and female athletes perform. But I think people are too quick to seize on results from specific matches between specific athletes in order to make generalizations about the sexes as a whole.

    Sure, King beating Riggs didn’t settle the question of whether female athletes are on par with male athletes. But by the same token, Riggs beating Court didn’t settle it either. There have been other male-female matches in tennis where sometimes the men won and sometimes the women did. There are other sports in which women have done better than men. Ranking doesn’t definitively prove anything either; sometimes top-ranked athletes and sports teams lose to lower-ranked underdogs of the same sex. There are so many factors to consider: age, health, background, training, personality and state of mind (grit, determination, etc), support infrastructure, capability not just in strength but in strategic thinking, whether someone’s simply having a bad day. Not to mention simply existing in a culture that puts different expectations on boys and girls from the start — e.g. by <a href="“>funneling them into different sports — which means women have additional sociological hurdles to clear. And it could be argued that most sports have been designed by men to be played by men and are therefore rigged against women to begin with.

    The problem I have with the biological argument is that, while it may be true in certain narrow contexts — i.e. comparing purely physical ability between top athletes in the same sport in peak condition, ALL other physical and cultural factors being equal — it’s too easy to use it in a lazy claim like “men are stronger than women” when the truth is that, in general, everyone’s abilities are all over the place. Some women are stronger than some men and weaker than others, and vice versa. And it’s too easy to cry “biology” in making broader claims, like the Google memo guy who thinks women make worse coders and engineers, or those who say women (and LGBT folks) shouldn’t serve in the military. In fact, I’d say “biology” has been THE reason used to justify keeping women restricted to certain roles throughout history: women were “made” to be in the kitchen and serve men, and weren’t “made” to fight in wars, to play sports, to be in the workplace, to be leaders. I can understand why women would want to push hard against that, in any and every field that they possibly can.

  • Bluejay

    Sorry, bad link. The “funneling them into different sports” link should be this:

    http://www.espn.com/espnw/news/article/6495612/women-pro-sports-women-play-men

  • Robert P

    Of course we’re talking about the elite levels of sport where you have people who are uniquely talented and train at an extremely intense level.

    Certainly many women can beat many men players. I think it was tennis phenom Tracy Austin whose coach as a prank would have her play varsity men college players when she was like 13 or so before she was famous and she would wipe the court with these older guys who were decent players, but she was already on track to be a top player and ate, slept and breathed tennis. In my home town there was an exhibition match between a local club pro and a teen girl who had played at Wimbledon. He was doing good to get a racquet on the ball. I don’t think he won a single game. But there’s a huge chasm between a local club pro and the top players in the world.

    In many sports “strength” isn’t how much can you bench type strength. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus etc. weren’t powerlifters but they could generate tremendous rotational power combined with a long list of other skills. None of the top men in tennis are going to get jobs as bouncers but they hit consistently harder than the women encounter against other women. He’s going to wear her down with the amount of energy she has to expend to try and keep up. The fastest serve recorded by a woman wouldn’t put her in the top 30 men’s fastest serves.

    Maybe someday there’ll be a woman placekicker in the NFL, I don’t see there ever being a woman in any other position at the pro level. Even playing quarterback would be suicide.

    It should be pointed out that in some of those other matchups you mentioned the men were by design handicapped such as the women being able to use the doubles area where the men had to hit into the singles area. That’s a huge handicap to overcome, which is why it was done.

  • amanohyo

    It’s true that comparing men and women at elite levels in most popular sports is a silly exercise, but this exhibition, in addition to being a profitable publicity stunt, was a symbolic of a larger change in society – a young, professional woman refusing to be bullied or talked down to by an older man in her field. No one with any sense would conclude from the outcome that women were better than or even as good as men at the highest levels of tennis or (most) professional sports in general (equally entertaining/profitable is a separate, possibly more important question).

    The more fundamental problem is the privileged place sports and other competitions involving physical strength hold in society. Because men have held the highest positions of power for so long, everything that men, on average, seem to enjoy due to a combination of biological and social reasons is held in high regard. Even in areas that women dominated at lower levels like cooking and designing clothes, you once found mostly men in the elite, although there have recently been many women who have made their way to the top, suggesting that in an alternate universe where men and women were equally encouraged to be competitive and ambitious, the ratio of women to men at professional levels might be higher (maybe not 50/50, but probably higher than we see today).

    The most pernicious message is therefore not that “men are better than women at sports,” or even that “football, soccer, and basketball are more exciting than long distance swimming, ballet, and gymnastics,” although that gets closer to the truth. No, the most pernicious message is that everything in society at large that men enjoy and are good at is more important and valuable than everything women enjoy and are good at. Fantasy football is serious business, figuratively and literally, but fan fiction is a silly hobby for teens (despite the ludicrous success of Twilight and Fifty Shades). A man (or woman) can sit and watch football all afternoon and be admired and respected, but a woman (or man) who watches Project Runway all afternoon is belittled for wasting time.

    I’m not saying that Project Runway and its ilk are objectively better or worse than football (I happen to enjoy both) – I’m saying that generations of men in power have woven the idea that sports, war, hunting, and all things projectile and penetration related are the most important, exciting, and admirable elements of life. With the advent of the internet, we’re seeing the rapid growth of powerful (i.e. profitable) subcultures where the creative combination of elements (cooking, writing, music, make-up, design, one could even argue reality TV is a creative combination of personalities) is valued more than various depictions of projection, collision, penetration, and explosion (Dragonball Z comes to mind, a series of phalluses ejaculating at each other with rising intensity).

    In these subcultures, we catch glimpses of what a society that valued activities centered around collaboration, combination, and creation might look like. Please note that I am not pulling a James Damore and claiming that women favor collaboration and creation and men favor competition and explosion solely due to biology – for one thing, I think it’s obvious that women cam be equally as competitive as men, for another there is a huge variety in tastes and personalities among both men and women, and for another social forces have amplified and altered slight biological tendencies in ways we don’t fully understand.

    Obviously, some women enjoy collision and explosion from time to time, but on average, living in the world that we live in, men seem to enjoy it more. Tennis and all other popular professional sports were invented by men for men to play. Once upon a time, men decided that playing tennis was important and valuable. We are at a stage where the institutions that men built have reluctantly opened their doors to women (even the most important ones – business and politics, although the line between the two is blurred). The message of the film is that women in these institutions should be respected as fellow professionals (I agree with the message, but dislike the way the movie hammers it home so bluntly).

    So, even if the film and the real life event don’t have anything significant to say about relative skill at sports, they have something important to say about earning respect as a member of a slowly transitioning institution and they hint that gaining that respect is not sufficient to completely change society. It’s a step, but it takes many women at the executive levels of these institutions to change their fundamental structure, and even then, it will take years to undo generations of sociological hard wiring, and even then it will take decades to redefine which of our institutions are held in high regard, and even then it will take centuries for women to build their own unique mainstream institutions from scratch. Focusing on the “feel-good feminism” or “he’s better/she’s better” sports aspects neglects a larger perspective and longer road.

  • When a friend of mine was a teenager, her mother offered to buy her cigarettes so that she could lose weight. My friend, who had asthma, asked if her mother would prefer that she be thin and dead.

    A moment of silence followed. According to my friend, her mom had to think about it before answering.

  • Bluejay

    in some of those other matchups you mentioned the men were by design handicapped

    Some, but not all. Women won in 1933 and 1985 (and of course 1973) in what were, as far as I can tell, non-handicapped matches. And beyond tennis there are women who have won on equal terms. Pamela Reed, Danica Patrick, Gertrude Ederle, and Kelly Kulick didn’t need handicaps to win in their sport, using the same reflexes and skills and facing the same challenges as the men.

    The larger issue isn’t which particular athlete wins which particular contest on which particular day; it’s the way we as a society talk about it. It’s telling that when the man loses, he gets the benefit of excuses: he’s too old, or the game was handicapped, or he wasn’t taking it seriously. When the woman loses, it’s… because she’s a woman. And when she wins, it always has to be qualified: she was in her prime and he wasn’t, or she won but she only BARELY won, or she wouldn’t have won against some OTHER guy, and so on.

    This is what MaryAnn is pointing out — that women’s achievements are always qualified as lesser. We EXPECT the man to win, and when he doesn’t, we find every reasonable excuse and mitigating circumstance to explain it. We EXPECT the woman to lose, and when she doesn’t, ways must be found to diminish her victory.

  • Ugh.

  • It was a money-making stunt – period.

    For Riggs, sure. Not for King.

    It doesn’t take a thing away from King to say that Riggs in his prime would have crushed her

    I’d love to live in the same world you do. But I live in the world in which men are considered neutral and women are considered Other. If that were not the case, we would not have, for instance, the NBA and the WNBA.

  • All of this.

  • Robert P

    It was a money-making stunt – period.

    For Riggs, sure. Not for King.

    ??…. As I understand it, she won the 100k purse. Riggs got a 50k endorsement from the Sugar Daddy people. Nonetheless, it was a stunt. It couldn’t possibly have shown that the top women tennis players were the equal of the top men because they aren’t. They weren’t then they aren’t now. Why does this fact of reality apparently bother you so much? Sports fans get why the women don’t play against the men but they’re still great players, their matches against other women still generate a lot of interest.

    If that were not the case, we would not have, for instance, the NBA and the WNBA.

    You seriously don’t accept that it’s for a legitimate reason? You’re convinced it’s only because of some social conspiracy?

  • Robert P

    Why would men’s and women’s leagues/associations/divisions bother you any more than the fact that there are weight divisions in various sports? A lightweight lifter or wrestler isn’t going to compete against a superheavyweight.

  • The point is that the extra qualifier only appears in the title of the womens’ leagues (NBA vs. WNBA, NHL vs. NWHL).

  • Your posts seem tangential,given that neither King nor the Williams sisters were asking to play with the men. The issue is around recognition and pay equity, which presumably requires comparable audiences and revenues for men’s and women’s sports. I’m curious on where you think the audiences are going to come from, given that for most people time and money are limited. Are women’s sports being “undervalued” by existing sports fans (mostly male) that watch other sports, or by the people that elect to pursue other activities in their leisure time?

    I follow the NBA (and not much else), but unless they shorten the length of the season (something that would be fine with me) and move the WNBA out of the summer (a time when I would rather be outdoors enjoying the weather), I don’t see myself following the latter league (though I do know that the Sparks and the Lynx are in the finals).

  • Robert P

    Ah, so the beef is the W, L etc.. I think for the simple fact that the men’s leagues/associations existed first and that there’s a financial/business structure relationship and benefit from it.

    So you’d be happier if women’s leagues/associations existed with no affiliation with the NBA, LPGA, etc.? The thing is they have the marketing and promotional power of the larger business entity behind them. The on-tv sports are all about $$. They don’t exist period if they don’t turn a profit.

  • Danielm80

    There’s room on the TV dial for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNews, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, the Longhorn Network, and the SEC Network, among other channels.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESPN#Related_channels

    I don’t think it’s lack of time that’s discouraging sports fans from watching women’s games.

  • I’m not sure what you’re trying to argue. So ESPN runs a bunch of niche channels. There are also all kinds of cable channels specializing on various non-sports-related themes. They still compete with one another. Or do you want to argue that people automatically find more time to watch television as the number of channels increases?

  • Danielm80

    *Headdesk*

    I’m arguing that people who like sports find the time to watch sports—lots of sports, in fact—even though there are plenty of other leisure activities they could be pursuing, and plenty of other channels on the remote. If they wanted to watch women’s sports, it’s not lack of opportunity that’s stopping them. So maybe other social factors are involved.

  • *Headdesk*

    Someone that denies that time and money are limited has no understanding of economic issues. Whether or not you want to concede the point, increased popularity of women’s sports necessarily involves reduced popularity of something else, whether it happens to be men’s sports or some other activity, since time and attention *are* limited.

  • Just because King won prize money does not mean that she engaged in this as a stunt, or to make money.

  • Why don’t we rename the NBA the MNBA? Men are not the default human, and women are not the Other.

  • In this film, King’s demand to be paid the same prize money as the men is based on the fact that the women players were drawing the same crowds the men were.

  • Fair enough. I wasn’t thinking of the WTA, where there’s been parity for a long time. I was thinking of newer leagues like the WNBA (which isn’t so new anymore) or the NWHL. Or even NCAA, where there continues to be big differences in the viewership between, for example, men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

  • Robert P

    Strictly speaking I don’t think there’s anything in the rules of the NBA and I’m pretty sure Baseball, the NFL, the PGA, the NHL that says women can’t participate. Woman have participated in PGA tour events. If a woman came along who could be competitive it seems it would be a guaranteed moneymaker for their sport.

  • Robert P

    As per my mention below, as it turns out a lot of the “men’s” associations/leagues don’t actually exclude women by official rule. The only thing excluding them has been performance level. While I feel it’s a safe bet there’s never going to be a female NFL lineman women *have* tried out for the NFL as placekickers and women have participated in PGA events. Maybe someday one of them will make it.

  • Yeah, and there are also MASSIVE differences in the levels of promotion, marketing, investment, etc.

  • Based on your name, I’m gonna guess that you’ve never been a girl/woman who tried to enter a male space.

    I have. It’s not fun.

  • There are already a number of established incumbents that are better situated to promote their own leagues. You can promote any product you want, but there still has to be a market for it to matter. I’m asking where the market for the WNBA is going to come from. Contrary to Danielm80’s ridiculous stereotypes of sports fans, most fans I know (including myself) only follow a few sports with any regularity. And in addition to the incumbents, there are also other sports that attempting to grow their audience (e.g. male lacrosse). So again…do you imagine that the WNBA is going to pull fans away from existing sports or pull in new fans?

  • Danielm80

    Once again: If you believe that male sports fans aren’t interested in watching female players, what social factors might have caused that sort of response?

  • Possibly the same social factors that contribute to women being much less likely to watching sports than men. [1] But there’s an intertwining of cultural factors and history that have led us to the current moment, and the reality is that men’s professional sports are well-established, while for the most part women’s are a relatively new phenomena. Any attempt at growing out women’s sports is going to have to deal with that current reality.

    [1] http://demographicpartitions.org/demographics-of-sports-fans-u-s/

  • Danielm80

    What a strange coincidence that our society put so much effort into developing sports for men and so little into sports for women. Maybe we just didn’t have enough leisure time.

  • Robert P

    I’ll bet if, for example, a woman makes it into Major League Baseball she won’t have to deal with a fraction of the b.s. that Jackie Robinson did and would likely have financial opportunities that he never had. Look at Danica Patrick – a talented if not dominant driver who also happens to be photogenic she’s made a fortune in endorsements, ads etc. A talented woman in a traditionally male sport by virtue of her uniqueness is going to bring attention to the sport which in this day of corporate sports is certainly going to be welcomed.

    I don’t think you really want the leagues renamed with a masculine modifier because it would be a symbolic barrier. In many sports at least in the US there isn’t a “No Girls Allowed” sign over the door. Unless someone can show me evidence to the contrary in modern times in the US, I believe if a woman comes along who performs at the level of the men at the pro level she’ll be in.

    If you look at sports like auto and horse racing where it’s not all about size, strength & physical speed there have been a number of women participants.

  • Yeah…because sports are the only possibly way to spend leisure time.

  • ” However, the big takeaway is this: if we want to see female athletes
    receiving more recognition, we need to become women’s sports fans
    ourselves.”

    https://www.entitymag.com/expert-backed-reasons-women-not-watch-womens-sports/

  • Danielm80

    Yes, that article makes a lot of the points I’ve been trying to make all along. It’s possible that we’ve been furiously agreeing with each other the whole time but at least one of us made his points so badly that the message got muddled. If I was the one, then I apologize.

    My main point is that lots of men refuse to watch women play sports not just because they’re lacking in leisure time but also because we live in a sexist society that, for generations, has discouraged and ridiculed female athletes.

    If you’ve been making the same argument, then we’re in agreement. I think. If not, then I honestly have no idea what you’re trying to say.

  • What I’m interested in is the future (short- and medium-term) prospects for women’s professional sports, given the current state of the industry. But I think is the wrong forum for it. Apologies.

  • amanohyo

    I hated this script – not because it was uniformly awful, but because every time it started to do something right, someone spouted some didactic platitude hammering home exactly how the audience was supposed to feel about what was happening. The almost ASMR-inducing initial haircut scene is perfect, the setting, costume design, acting, all on point. The contrast drawn between the casual, publicity-stunt driven attitude of Riggs and the deadly serious mood of King is a little heavy-handed, but I appreciate the effort that went into showing that beneath the clownish exterior, Riggs was serious about trying to prove something to himself. The lesbian love affair never escalates to histrionics which seems to be true to life and is also a good choice stylistically for a movie that centers on a calm, intensely determined central character.

    It’s just the writing. No one talks like a human being for more than a few seconds before they start opining on the social and historical significance of their actions, delivering pithy one-liners at an annoying high frequency. The villains and heroes are clearly delineated without any subtlety or shades of grey. The most interesting character on paper is Riggs, but even he’s reduced to a one-vice pony. Some of the camera work is beautiful, it’s just a shame that every time a character opens their mouth, a clumsily told feminist morality tale is shoved into the audience’s face. I agree with the message of the film. I am a proud feminist. I did not like this movie, although, along with It, I think it would be a fantastic movie to watch with your preteen or teen children.

    My hope is that one day, there will so many based-on-a-true-story films with female protagonists that this kind of edgy-as-a-doughnut, feel-good edutainment won’t be forced to weigh itself down with so many ideological badges. I’m happy to have bought a ticket and am a proud supporter of this movie in theory (Zeus knows we’ve had plenty of mediocre cinematic celebrations of famous [and not-famous] male historical figures), but in practice, it’s not my cup of tea. I want characters to be given the room to be human beings, and audiences to be given the room to make up their own minds. Less Ayn Rand and William Golding, more Dostoyevsky and George Eliot. Less Hawthorne, more Melville.

    On a lighter note, there is an extended scene where King’s husband is the spitting image of Fred from Scooby Doo (down to the amount of personality he possesses). So heads up all you Fred/Velma fanfic writers out there, your day has finally come.

  • LA Julian

    Yes. The ads were certainly subtexting that cigarettes were a good way to get thin/stay thin, reinforcing what ‘everybody knew’…

  • LA Julian

    It’s Joanna Russ on ‘How to Suppress Women’s Writing’ but for ‘writing’ you can substitute [activity]…

  • there are also other sports that attempting to grow their audience (e.g. male lacrosse).

    By your argument, this is pointless. There is no room left for more sports. Or are you suggesting there is only room left for men’s sports?

  • Ah, so it’s a feminist thing that we have the NBA and the WNBA? Got it! Thanks for setting me straight.

  • I’m saying that given the saturation of the market, it’s not going to be easy to grow new sports (either men’s or women’s) without finding new fan bases (or peeling fans from existing sports). The biggest untapped potential market for sports are women (roughly 70 percent of the NBA audience are men).

  • Robert P

    I consider it self-evident that when the NBA started it was a different era. Women had only been able to vote for 25 years. So far there’s never been a woman capable of being competitive with the men but there’s obviously an audience interested in seeing women play as evidenced by the WNBA’s existence and sustained profitability – and the LPGA & women’s pro tennis. You don’t see this as a positive?

    I’m incredulous that you of all people would genuinely want an explicit label of exclusion applied. Whatever attitudes you think exist, in various sports the door is open if a woman comes along who can compete at the level of the men just as women -have- entered the “boys club” in pro auto racing.

  • Robert P

    …women’s achievements are always qualified as lesser. We EXPECT the man
    to win, and when he doesn’t, we find every reasonable excuse and
    mitigating circumstance to explain it. We EXPECT the woman to lose, and
    when she doesn’t, ways must be found to diminish her victory.

    I think you’re kidding yourself and flying in the face of reality. It isn’t because of expectations – in this day and age with a large pool of players and highly evolved training and understanding of the science of sport there are essentially -0- times a female is going to beat a top male player in the kind of sports that involve a head to head contesting of fitness, strength, skill and agility.

    Billie Jean King was a superb athlete who was in her prime, playing a guy who was several decades past his and in only okay shape for his age. If she’d played a 55-year-old John McEnroe it would have been a completely different and much shorter story.

    Women’s sports have been around for some time now and for some time the top women like golfer Annika Sorenstam have been totally focused on performance optimization. Science being used is old news – nutrition, supplemental conditioning, psychology, video and computer analysis of mechanics to squeeze every bit of performance.

    An optimally tweaked pro-mod car isn’t going to beat an optimally tweaked top-fuel car.

  • amanohyo

    You’re correct – in all but a few sports (long distance swimming, gymnastics, equestrian sports, shooting sports, driving sports, being some exceptions) it would be ridiculous to expect a professional woman to beat a professional man without some significant handicap.

    That’s not the point of the match in this film – King explicitly states that it is not about whether or not men are better than women at tennis. It’s presented as a matter of personal pride and pride in the professionalism and validity of women’s tennis, and by extension a matter of respecting and valuing women’s and men’s contributions equally. A male colleague is ridiculing the most important thing in King’s life for the sake of spectacle and profit, and in the process is feeding a narrative that equates absolute skill at a sport (which just happens to correlate perfectly with the possession of a penis) with value as a human being.

    That narrative is what I hoped the film would question. It does mention that the crowd sizes are equal, suggesting that women’s and men’s tennis are equally entertaining/profitable. It does not question why absolute skill at a sport should be connected in any way to respect as a human being or even entertainment value. The classic, “yeah, but I could still kick your ass at (insert sport here)” dick-waving justification for unequal treatment is reinforced by the film.

    Sure, the best female athlete can beat a lot of men. Yeah, the best male athlete can beat all the women. So what. Is it only hard numbers that entertain? Is a 160 mph tennis serve more entertaining and valuable than a 130 mph serve? Is a 10.5 second 100m more entertaining, valuable, and worthy of respect than a 9.6 sec 100m?

    In the scientific, stat-based, hyper-competitive culture of most professional sports, it’s taken for granted that better numbers equal better person, but professional sports are competitions staged for entertainment purposes. Women’s tennis (and golf) is equally as entertaining and inspiring to me as men’s tennis. It’s one of the few sports to have a mixed gender event. In a world in which all athletes were encouraged, celebrated, and promoted equally throughout their lives, would all genders be equally entertaining across every sport? No one knows the answer until we try.

  • Bluejay

    I think you’re missing (and also proving) my point. My point is about how we TALK about these matches. When a woman wins against a man, the conversation immediately goes to “Well, she won, and that’s great, but that doesn’t REALLY mean she could have beaten a hypothetical man in top condition. It doesn’t REALLY mean that women are the equal of men in sports.” That’s the angle you yourself took right off the bat, and continue to take: “Sure, let’s celebrate amazing female athletes, but NEVER FORGET that they’ll never be as good as the best men.”

  • Danielm80

    People are still insisting that women aren’t biologically capable of doing math. Even if a whole team of women wins the Super Bowl, people will say it was a fluke.

  • Bluejay

    And it may or may not be a fluke (I’m sure Robert P will respond soon to explain the hypotheticals), but whatever the actual outcome, the point is that the conversation will IMMEDIATELY be about insisting on male superiority.

  • Bluejay

    I didn’t make the connection, but you’re absolutely right. It’s even all on the cover.

  • RogerBW

    See also: when a “women’s” film does well at the box office, the conversation immediately goes to “Well, it made money, and that’s great, but that doesn’t REALLY mean it could have beaten a really good man’s film released the same weekend. It doesn’t REALLY mean that audiences want to see films about women.”

  • Bluejay

    Yep. As LA Julian has pointed out, it’s pretty much Joanna Russ’s book as applied to everything.

  • AA

    Yes, the biggest problem across the board in all politics is the existing control of assets and how control of those assets get passed on. Paying one group higher than another as a matter of course, inherently hurts the whole by undermining the idea of unbiased meritocracy. Pushing the group median to a higher level is our goal as a society, and pushing the majority at the cost of the minority often hurts that. I’ll definitely watch and celebrate this individual battle which has and continued to be a seminal moment of inspiration for both sides of the group.

  • You have an event that is marketed and framed as being the “Battle of the Sexes.” Presumably King and Riggs must represent some aspect(s) of their respective sexes, and I think it’s fair that we ask what aspects those are. Arguably King is representing “female tennis excellence.” I don’t see how you could make the same argument for Riggs at his age, though he was clearly representing “male chauvinism.” Certainly some of the satisfaction of the outcome was seeing that chauvinism get its comeuppance. And yet for some reason, you get upset with anyone that wants to add qualifiers in the *specific* case of a completely contrived event. Could it be that these battle of the sexes matches, which by their very nature invite comparisons, aren’t the best way to promote women’s sports?

  • Bluejay

    Arguably King is representing “female tennis excellence.” I don’t see how you could make the same argument for Riggs at his age

    Again, excuses for the losing man. :-)

    you get upset with anyone that wants to add qualifiers in the *specific* case of a completely contrived event.

    How do you know I’m upset? And Robert P mentions other athletes and makes general statements about male and female athletic ability, not just limited to this one event.

    Could it be that these battle of the sexes matches, which by their very nature invite comparisons, aren’t the best way to promote women’s sports?

    Hmm, I don’t know, what do you think? Clearly you have an opinion. Best state it right out; I’d prefer that to patronizing rhetorical questions.

    And did I claim anything about “best ways” to promote women’s sports? My argument has been along an entirely different line, which doesn’t seem to be the line you want to talk about. If you want to talk about the future prospects of the industry, be my guest. (Though I believe you said you thought this was the wrong forum for it.)

  • My main point, which I think was clear, is that a match framed as a “Battle of the Sexes” will by its very nature lead to questions of whether the participants are truly “best-of-class.”

    Your comments refer to “these matches,” (i.e. battle of the sexes) rather than general perceptions of male and female sports. As I noted before when I said your earlier comments were largely tangential when it came to issues of recognition and pay equity, I don’t see any indication that female athletes have much interest in direct comparisons with male sports.They’re generally more interested in relative comparisons (i.e. where they stand in their own sports relative to their male counterparts).

    And no, I don’t see much value to battle of the sexes matches, given that the women’s sports I’m aware of that are being promoted commercially are female variants of established male sports (soccer, hockey and basketball).

  • Bluejay

    a match framed as a “Battle of the Sexes” will by its very nature lead to questions of whether the participants are truly “best-of-class.”

    And since it’s so difficult to determine whether any particular athlete is best-of-class, these matches are best viewed as specific contests between specific people, not necessarily representative of entire genders. And yet people will go ahead and make claims about entire genders anyway. Which is what I was talking about.

    your earlier comments were largely tangential when it came to issues of recognition and pay equity

    Pay equity is an important issue, but I never mentioned it in any of my comments. I agree that my comments were tangential to something that I wasn’t talking about in the first place. Clearly YOU would like to talk about pay equity, so go ahead!

  • Robert P

    How would you like the match to be talked about? Apparently you want to ignore all aspects of reality and declare without qualification – “She beat a man so therefore women are the athletic equal of men.”

    “But it was really just a sideshow event and…”

    “No, no – you’re trying to make excuses – she beat a man.”

    “He’s been out of the game for decades and is old enough to be her fa….”

    “No excuses – she beat a man – point proven!”

    “What point do you think is pro…”

    “No! She beat a man!”

    “Why doesn’t she play John Newcombe or Stan Sm…”

    “Excuses!! She already beat a man! It makes no difference which one.”

    The “angle” I took was addressing what I see as an inaccurate assertion by MAJ – what the match was supposedly meant to prove – “the question of whether female athletes were the equals of their male counterparts” and that this has supposedly been diluted because of alleged steps backward suffered by feminism – because “The Man” is always trying to keep a sister down.

    She doesn’t clarify what she means by “equal”. Equal as in equal interest generated or equal as in equal athletic abilities?

  • Robert P


    Arguably King is representing “female tennis excellence.” I don’t see
    how you could make the same argument for Riggs at his age, though he was
    clearly representing “male chauvinism.”

    I guess it would really annoy Blue to point out that there’s a strong possibility that Riggs threw the match to get out of hot water with mobsters he owed money to and made a killing himself betting on Billie Jean.

  • Bluejay

    Apparently you want to ignore all aspects of reality and declare without qualification – “She beat a man so therefore women are the athletic equal of men.”

    I have repeatedly said and said that the issue isn’t which specific athlete wins or loses, and that these contests don’t definitively settle any larger claims about gender (in either direction). You keep not hearing it. I’ve made my points; you go ahead and enjoy your imaginary conversation.

  • Bluejay

    Not annoyed, because my point isn’t about who wins or loses any particular contest.

  • Robert P

    Again, how do you think people ideally should talk about the occasional man against woman contest?

  • Bluejay

    I like how MaryAnn talks about it.

    I like how ESPN talks about it.
    https://www.espn.com/sportscentury/features/00016060.html

    I like how the NY Times reported it.
    http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/sports/year_in_sports/09.20.html

    In none of those pieces are broad claims made about the physical superiority of men or women. But they recognize that a woman’s victory IS important, as a blow against sexism and chauvinism, as an inspiration to girls and women, as a prod to society to give women’s sports more respect and infrastructural support, and as a reminder for us to take off our cultural blinders and recognize and cultivate ALL talent, regardless of sex (or race, etc), because that’s better for all of us.

    When Obama (whatever you think of him) won the presidency, it didn’t mean that all black people would be better presidents than all white people. (Of course, the reverse isn’t true either.) But it struck a cathartic symbolic blow against our nation’s racist history (even if, alas, that racism continues), expanded our imagination of who COULD be president, and inspired minorities by showing that this was now within the realm of the possible. When Lauryn Hill became the first hip-hop artist to win Album of the Year at the Grammys, it didn’t mean all hip-hop artists would always be better than all rock or country artists. (And the reverse also isn’t true.) But it signaled a greater cultural acceptance of hip-hop as a genre EQUALLY worthy of respect. Arguing “Well, Obama wouldn’t have won against a different white candidate” or “Well, Hill wouldn’t have won if Country Superstar X had put out an album that year” is kind of wildly missing the whole point.

  • trina85

    That “disapproving player” was Margaret Court, former tennis champ, current homophobe making headlines in Australia for her opposition to same-sex marriage (we’re having a referendum on it here at the moment). The movie portrayed her more respectfully than she deserves.

  • I’m incredulous that you of all people would genuinely want an explicit label of exclusion applied.

    What I want is for the world to stop acting like male is the default and female is a deviation from it.

  • Let’s wait until there is a truly level playing field before we decide definitively that there’s no way a woman could ever beat a man. When even a top-ranked badass athlete like Serena Williams is subjected to horrendous abuse, that is a disincentive for women to dedicate themselves to sports. When female athletes are still judged more on their looks on their athletic abilities, that is a disincentive for women to dedicate themselves to sports. There may well be women out there who could beat men at their own games, but the whole universe is telling them it’s not worth the beating they would take, not on the field/court/whatever, but in the culture.

  • You seem very intent on “proving” that women can never be any sort of equal, by any sort of measure, of men.

    This attitude is precisely the one that the 1973 match and this movie are trying to highlight as ridiculous. That “an inaccurate assertion by MAJ” is in fact an assertion of the movie. You can disagree with it if you want — and clearly, you do disagree — but your dismissal of the knocks that women and feminism are *constantly* taking indicates that you really do not understand anything about the respect and the dignity that women have been fighting for since *at least* the middle of the 19th century.

  • Well, it does make a point of Court’s disapproval of King’s sexuality.

    Sorry to hear she’s still being awful. :-(

  • Robert P

    You seem very intent on “proving” that women can never be any sort of equal, by any sort of measure, of men.

    Not at all – my points have been related to a certain type of sport, which is a point I’ve consistently made. What I saw as problematic is your assertion that the match was

    …meant to settle the question of whether female athletes were the equals of their male counterparts

    We’re doing lather, rinse, repeat here but this simply isn’t accurate. Nobody including Billie Jean King thought she was settling anything of the sort. The BOTS was fun, was good publicity for the sport, but her male counterparts were the top players of the day not Bobby Riggs.

    Obviously you’re convinced that women don’t get their due. In the world of sports I don’t think that’s true. Obviously there’s a large audience able to appreciate and applaud women athletes just like they applaud fighters of different weight classes. Or different classes of cars at the dragstrip – the idea is matching competitors who are within a certain range of parameters, have approximately the same physical tools.

  • Robert P

    before we decide definitively that there’s no way a woman could ever beat a man

    There’s no question that there are women who can beat many men – the question at hand is comparing the top players of both sexes.

    a disincentive for women to dedicate themselves to sports

    This just isn’t reality – elite athletes are absolutely fixated on performance enhancement and push themselves to incredible extremes – they wouldn’t be the top performers if they weren’t absolutely dedicated, there’s a whole bunch of others who are striving to take their place. The women are just as competitive as the men.

  • Danielm80

    Some people think that because Barack Obama was elected president, racism is no longer a serious problem. See if you can figure out how that’s relevant to this argument.

  • In the world of sports I don’t think that’s true.

    The mind boggles.

  • It’s almost like you simply do not want to acknowledge the cultural context in which all these sports and athletes exist. I DID NOT say that NO women are dedicated to sports or that women are not very competitive. But there are fewer women competing because they do not respect the same levels of respect as the men. That is the reality.

  • Robert P

    There’s a huge sea of reality that you’re not taking into account. The main disincentive for women and men to be a top-level competitor is the extreme physical difficulty of achieving it. The reality is there are a *lot* of women pursuing sports – the competitors you see on any of the on-tv sports – even including the also-rans in tournaments and competitions represent a fraction of a fraction of those who participate. Sometime look into what’s involved just to get on the pro tour in golf – PGA or LPGA, let alone be at the top or even just make a living at it.

    You’re dismissing those who’ve spent years of their lives in a sport often for no particular glory – and not all sports have a potential of a big payday for men or women. And at any point after busting butt you can be taken out by an injury. You can be on track to be the best in the world and suddenly all the countless hours and years are right down the toilet.

    I don’t see that it’s anything but a myth to say that women as a whole face some cultural barrier to competing. How many girls do you figure there are in gymnastics schools – and various winter and summer Olympic training environments – look into how many Olympic sports there are.

    Tennis teams, golf, basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball and on and on – little league, middle school, high school, college, club teams. Then there are amateur recreational leagues, masters programs, para/adaptive sports. The answer is there are a helluva lot of women in sports. This wouldn’t be the case if a cultural barrier/disincentive was real. 100 years ago maybe – but certainly not today and not for a long time. I’m talking about of course the industrialized Western world not backwards, repressive religious regimes. Okay, the Tour de France doesn’t currently allow women but that’s one narrow alley of the larger sports picture.

    I personally can’t say I’ve ever heard a woman say her athletic dreams were thwarted because her parents said nice young ladies don’t do such things or whatever. If it happens it’s a rarity.

  • Robert P

    I see there’s a controversy in the world of Ironman triathlon competition, that there are more slots for men than women. The governing body of Ironman presents a case that there’s a valid reason for this – but whether their point is valid or not, rather than demonstrating that women are somehow disillusioned with and avoid competing it demonstrates quite the opposite – that women athletes are extremely enthusiastic. If they open more slots it’s guaranteed there will be women to fill them. If you search images of women triathletes, Ironman you see photo after photo of smiling women competitors in large numbers. Certainly there isn’t any pushback from those who make money off the bikes, shoes and other gear. I just don’t see evidence of some great cultural conspiracy to crush the female athletic spirit.

  • Danielm80

    Just because there are a lot of stupid, bigoted people in the world doesn’t mean they’ve all formed a conspiracy. If there are enough of them, unfortunately, they don’t have to.

  • Bluejay
  • Danielm80

    I’m still a little stunned that he decided to “But Alien!” women’s sports.

  • Bluejay

    And these links are just as important. If we’re going to talk about cultural barriers discouraging girls and women from continuing with sports, we HAVE to talk about harassment and abuse.

    Olympic Gymnast McKayla Maroney Says She Was Molested For Years By Team Doctor

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/former-team-usa-gymnasts-describe-doctors-alleged-sexual-abuse/“>Former Team USA gymnasts describe doctor’s alleged sexual abuse

    WomenSport International brochure on sexual harassment in sport

    Many females drop out of sport rather than continue being subjected to the undermining effects of constant harassment and abuse: others endure the sexual attention of their male coaches or peers because of fear, desire for athletic reward, low self-esteem or ignorance of who to turn to for help.”

    Sexual Harassment in Sport (UN Women – End Violence Against Women initiative)

    “sexual harassment and abuse happen in all sports and at all levels. Prevalence appears to be higher in elite sport. Members of the athlete’s entourage who are in positions of power and authority appear to be the primary perpetrators…Research demonstrates that sexual harassment and abuse in sport seriously and negatively impact on athletes’ physical and psychological health. It can result in impaired performance and lead to athlete drop-out. Clinical data indicate that psychosomatic illnesses, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, self harm and suicide are some of the serious health consequences.”

  • Robert P

    I looked at a couple of these, they seem to be specious at best. “The vast majority of girls quit sport” – just the title alone is an exercise in fallacious use of language. At some point a lot of people “quit sport”. When’s the last time Mary Lou Retton or Nadia Comaneci entered any kind of sports competition?

    In the “5 reasons many girls don’t play sports” article, four of the five are just as applicable to boys. The one applicable to girls is football not being open to girls and there not being a girl’s team. This isn’t universal however, I see there are a number of high school programs that have girls on the team, numbering in the thousands.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/more-girls-are-playing-high-school-football-2016-10

    Personally I think tackle football is a stupid sport. I wouldn’t have a problem if they got rid of it altogether, which I realize is utter heresy to a lot of people.

    People might drop out and get back into sports at some point. Personal circumstances, waning interest are going to play a role. And the act of pushing oneself physically just isn’t appealing to a lot of people.

    Ultimately, I call bullshit. Every school I’ve ever attended or worked in as an adult has ongoing, active recruitment for all sports boys and girls. Morning announcements always include congrats for sports team wins “let’s hear it for our girl’s basketball team who beat Central last night 60 to 48 – GO GIRL TIGERS!! WOO HOO!!” You see girls walking around in their various uniforms all the time. Around town you can’t avoid flyers, billboards, electric kiosks “Sign up for summer (fill in the sport of your choice)”

    “Girls who don’t play sport at 16 are unlikely to ever again”. Uh huh. You’d better tell that to all the people who take up sports as adults. I have a Facebook friend who was in my high school class who took up triathlon well into adulthood. In high school she was into band, just didn’t have any particular interest in sports. There’s a huge number of people just like her. She’s constantly posting pics of herself and other women in her age bracket and older, many of whom weren’t jocks when they were younger.

    People talk about the influence of mass media – where do you see anything but encouraging, glamorized images of women athletes?

    Certainly sexual abuse is a problem, as we’ve been hearing about in the Weinstein case it’s hardly limited to the world of sports and it also isn’t limited to girls.

  • Danielm80

    I4

  • Robert P

    If you’re not talking about an interstate in Florida I don’t get your “I4” reference. Or was it keyboard fumbliness?

  • Bluejay

    So it’s your personal anecdata versus articles from — and formal research cited by — US News and World Report, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, the Atlantic, the University of Southern California, major publications and sports foundations in the UK and Australia, and Billie Jean King’s Women’s Sports Foundation. You can probably guess which side I think carries more weight. Your positive school experiences and your Facebook friends aren’t a representative sample of the country, or the world.

    People might drop out and get back into sports at some point. Personal circumstances, waning interest are going to play a role.

    And what factors might induce women to drop out? What cultural expectations might influence their personal circumstances? What social factors contribute to waning interest? Are you really saying there’s NOTHING in the way society is set up that influences personal choices and circumstances, and levels of interest and enthusiasm?

    People talk about the influence of mass media – where do you see anything but encouraging, glamorized images of women athletes?

    There are HUGE problems with how women athletes are portrayed in the media. Start with the fact that 96% of sports coverage is still about men. Then consider the sexism in media coverage of female athletes and that whole can of worms.

    Certainly sexual abuse is a problem, as we’ve been hearing about in the Weinstein case it’s hardly limited to the world of sports and it also isn’t limited to girls.

    And none of that negates the fact that it’s a factor in girls dropping out of sports. You asked about cultural barriers. There’s a big one.

  • Danielm80
  • Robert P

    And of course studies are never biased or poorly constructed or run. Anything that comes out of the People’s Republic Of California is questionable. As far as much of mainstream media I’d want corroboration if they said the sun rose in the morning. These sources you cite are no doubt some of the same esteemed organizations that dismissed the Trump candidacy as not having a chance because of their gloriously accurate data.

    I’m sure you put full faith in studies, I’ll go with what’s obvious in the real world and that is there’s no shortage of girls and women of various ages eager to participate in sports. But I’ll be sure to tell my friend to pass the word to her teammates and all the competitors all over the country and the world how oppressed and downtrodden she and the literal ocean full of competitors really are and how in reality they’re dropping out because, you know, studies. I’m sure they’ll be glad to know that their zeal for and enjoyment from participation isn’t reality.

    And none of that negates the fact that it’s a factor in girls dropping
    out of sports. You asked about cultural barriers. There’s a big one.

    As far as inappropriate behavior what negates it as a significant factor to driving away participants are some points you’re missing – it hasn’t been widely known about so therefore wouldn’t be a factor among the larger pool of potential participants in sports. In the case of the gymnasts profiled it didn’t cause these girls who *were* participating and experiencing it to drop out so it’s silly to assert it would have a significant impact on a population that didn’t even know about it.

    Whatever you think of the coverage of female athletes, you’re not going to be able to present a case that they’re actively trying to discourage anyone from participating. Athletic females are by default going to look good. They’re the definition of fit, they frequently wear brief attire to facilitate movement and dissipation of body heat. And it’s a reality of femaledom that many of them want to be glamorous. Even MAJ has posted professional glam shots of herself. You think because Florence Griffith Joyner was flamboyant in her appearance it in any way negated her drive to be a top athlete? Because Danica Patrick enjoys showing off in bikini pictorials she isn’t a fierce competitor and hasn’t had to be restrained from getting into altercations with men twice her size she’s had a beef with? I really doubt Ronda Rousey was forced to do nude and bodypaint photos against her will.

  • Robert P

    And what factors might induce women to drop out? What cultural
    expectations might influence their personal circumstances? What social
    factors contribute to waning interest? Are you really saying there’s
    NOTHING in the way society is set up that influences personal choices
    and circumstances, and levels of interest and enthusiasm?

    I’m sure the same potentially endless reasons that can cause men to drop out. They discover it’s more work than they thought it was and they just don’t find it enjoyable. Or they realize they’re not particularly talented. Conflict with some other activity and they have to make a choice. Family circumstances, lack of a support system to even get transportation to participate or afford whatever expenses are involved. If it’s a school athletic program their grades are poor and they’re ineligible. They have a serious conflict with the coach or another player or other behavior issues get them kicked off the team. Maybe their parents have an issue with the coach or some religious objection. Health issues. If they’re a girl maybe they get pregnant.

    Societal issues? Cultural expectations? Like what? You mean like the expectations that they show up regularly, work hard, do what the coach tells them, don’t be an asshole or a prima donna? Who in this day and age other than maybe some religious fundamentalist seriously has a problem with girls participating in sports? I don’t envision it as being seen as anything but cool if for example some girl was the captain of a sports team and also the Homecoming Queen.

    Here’s a prom queen who’s also on the football team. Her ear to ear grin sure doesn’t suggest to me she’s feeling any societal barriers.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4978746/Michigan-female-football-player-wins-Homecoming-Queen.html

  • Danielm80

    Have you read the comments under that article? Those are the kinds of societal barriers she’s facing. But, based on what you’ve written here, I’d say you agree with a lot of those comments, which means you’re one of the societal barriers she’s up against.

  • Bluejay

    And of course studies are never biased or poorly constructed or run.

    And therefore you mistrust all of them, without looking into the details to see if they ARE biased or poorly constructed. How rational of you. And because doctors are human and can make mistakes, I bet you haven’t had a physical in years.

    Anything that comes out of the People’s Republic Of California is questionable.

    If I said “anything that comes out of the South is questionable,” you’d rightly call me out on lazy kneejerk prejudice. Shall I extend the same courtesy to you?

    there’s no shortage of girls and women of various ages eager to participate in sports.

    Sure. But whether the cultural and infrastructural support is there so they can enjoy sustained access to sports as much as boys do, is another question. (If you only “looked at a couple” of the links, it’s no surprise you missed that.) Also, you seem to think that “Women’s sports have made great progress over the decades” and “There are still inequalities in access, participation, and media coverage between men’s and women’s sports” can’t both be true at once. Interesting.

    I’m sure they’ll be glad to know that their zeal for and enjoyment from participation isn’t reality.

    Of course it’s reality — FOR THEM. Ah, but I forgot that you enjoy pushing back against arguments that I never made. Have fun with that.

    You think because Florence Griffith Joyner was flamboyant in her appearance it in any way negated her drive to be a top athlete? Because Danica Patrick enjoys showing off in bikini pictorials she isn’t a fierce competitor and hasn’t had to be restrained from getting into altercations with men twice her size she’s had a beef with?

    It’s hilarious that you keep knocking down these straw-man arguments. Boy, you’re really cutting Imaginary Bluejay down to size! Again, have fun with that.

    A few points:

    1. Context matters. MAJ’s “professional glam shots,” power poses showing off athletic ability, and seductive “fuck me” poses are all different, and send different messages.

    2. Athletes (and lots of other people) do whatever they have to do to get ahead, in the system they have to work in. Sometimes even willingly. Would they do so if it were 100% optional, with ZERO pressure or expectation, and ZERO advantage or disadvantage to their career? That remains to be seen.

    3. Intent and result are two different things.

    4. The issue of media coverage of female athletes is not JUST about magazine photoshoots. And it’s not JUST about how it affects the athletes themselves.

    I’m not going to get into all that here. Do some reading and understand what’s actually being said. Or not. *shrug*

  • Bluejay

    Conflict with some other activity and they have to make a choice. Family circumstances, lack of a support system … They have a serious conflict with the coach … Maybe their parents have an issue with the coach or some religious objection

    And are you sure these conflicts with other activities, family circumstances and lack of support, conflicts with the coach, and parental objections play out in exactly the same way for boys and girls?

    If they’re a girl maybe they get pregnant.

    And if she brings the baby to term, maybe she has to stay home and take care of it and give up afterschool sports. Because there’s no way she can ask her boyfriend to stay home and take care of it, while SHE plays sports, right? Or maybe there’s no affordable nannies or day care centers in her neighborhood. So, again, cultural biases and lack of social infrastructural support. You’re so close to seeing it!

    That prom queen/football player is awesome. But one inspiring story (or even a few dozen or a few hundred) doesn’t mean gender inequity in sports isn’t a problem. We can come up with lists of successful black people — Obama, Oprah, Beyonce, hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs, athletes — but that doesn’t mean racism is solved or that all black people have nothing more to complain about.

    And as Danielm80 suggests, read the comments section if you want to see people who have a problem with girls in sports. They’re not all religious fundamentalists.

  • Robert P

    And therefore you mistrust all of them, without looking into the details to see if they ARE biased or poorly constructed.

    How much time do you anticipate I’m going to devote to analyzing each and every study? Two of the citations I looked at are glaringly flawed, it doesn’t inspire confidence in your standards to evaluate the rest of them – sorry your list failed the audition.

    Then of course there’s that annoying issue of observable reality.

    Of course it’s reality — FOR THEM. Ah, but I forgot that you enjoy
    pushing back against arguments that I never made. Have fun with that.

    As stated more than once the “them” referred to isn’t just my friend, it’s the entirety of the population of women participants the world over which is huge, who apparently do so out of ignorance of your studies. That’s just in that particular sport – obviously there’s a long list of others. Which absolutely is encompassed in your argument. I assumed of course we’re limiting the pool to women on Earth.

    And if she brings the baby to term, maybe she has to stay home and take
    care of it and give up afterschool sports. Because there’s no way she
    can ask her boyfriend to stay home and take care of it, while SHE plays
    sports, right?

    And are you sure these conflicts with other activities, family circumstances and lack of support, conflicts with the coach, and
    parental objections play out in exactly the same way for boys and girls?

    You asked for potential reasons a girl might drop out of athletics. There might be sub-variants of each possible scenario. They might not play out exactly the same for all boys or for all girls.

    However you apparently don’t have the first clue re: the impact having a baby has on a young girl’s life. If a high school girl gets pregnant and has the baby, unless she comes from affluent circumstances and/or a very secure support system, she’s going to be doing good just to graduate school, very likely will have to take an alternate path. Even if the father isn’t a deadbeat knucklehead and wants to step up, what do you think the earning potential of a typical high school kid is? There might be examples of girls who continue with a relatively normal high school experience, there are a lot who don’t. But if she’s carrying a child obviously crashing into other people on a field isn’t what she should be doing. Sorry, if she gets pregnant and keeps it she’s the one who has to carry and birth the child – clearly yet another manifestation of the conspiracy by the patriarchy.

    I know someone whose daughter got pregnant while in college – it completely derailed her life. Even with assistance and support from upper-middle class parents she had to drop out of school and is just getting back to taking classes three years later. And she’s damned lucky she had the parents she does – I assure you these people aren’t trailer trash. She’s been doing shifts at a restaurant, caring for her child – diapers, feeding, baths, doctor visits, grocery shopping, cuddle time etc. etc. etc. – and trying to find time to eat, sleep and go to the bathroom – any notion of being on a sports team while going to school would have been ludicrous. Assistance from the father is negligible at best. It’s a long, screwed-up story that would probably make a great movie script but he’s an idiot she should have never had anything to do with but the reality is a lot of girls go off the rails psychologically and emotionally and get themselves into bullshit circumstances due to irrational, immature behavior. But that’s reality.

  • Robert P

    1. Context matters. MAJ’s “professional glam shots,” power poses showing off athletic ability, and seductive “fuck me” poses are all different, and send different messages.

    All of them send a message that they want people to find them attractive. None of them send the message “we don’t want you to participate in sports”.

    2. Athletes (and lots of other people) do whatever they have to do to get ahead, in the system they have to work in. Sometimes even willingly. Would they do so if it were 100% optional, with ZERO pressure or expectation, and ZERO
    advantage or disadvantage to their career? That remains to be seen.

    I realize the accepted mantra is “women are victims, always”.

    Would they do so if it were 100% optional?

    Have you ever been to the beach? Particularly around Spring Break or the like – you’ll see young girls wearing skimpy outfits, sunning themselves with no top on. Various festivals where they go topless or naked, wear body paint, participate in bikini and wet t-shirt contests, various occasions where they wear sexy outfits. Women pay to have
    erotic, professional Playboy-style photos taken of themselves because they want to capture their hotness.

    I know, you’ll die before you’ll consider the possibility that a lot of women genuinely enjoy exhibiting themselves in a sexy/sexual way. The only acceptable explanation is some kind of dysfunctionality, something that frames them as a victim. Society did something to damage them. Even if it’s of
    their own desire and free will, it’s not of their own desire and free will.

  • Robert P

    You can say I was on the first moon landing mission, that we discovered it was in fact made of green cheese and we brought back 1000 lbs of it to be served in finer delicatessens but it wouldn’t be true.

    By all means point out where I’ve said I have any objection to women participating in sports or that I have an objection to them playing alongside or against men if they’re capable of it or that I don’t think they should get paid what the market will bear at the professional level.

  • Bluejay

    it’s the entirety of the population of women participants the world over which is huge, who apparently do so out of ignorance of your studies.

    And again, you think “great progress has been made” and “more needs to be done” are mutually exclusive ideas.

    But if she’s carrying a child obviously crashing into other people on a field isn’t what she should be doing.

    LOL! And THAT’s what I’ve been saying, you think? You’re hopeless.

    Assistance from the father is negligible at best.

    You’re so close to getting it. SO CLOSE.

  • Bluejay

    I realize the accepted mantra is “women are victims, always”.

    We can recognize that women can be strong and badass and proactive and high-achieving and responsible for their actions, AND that they’re still playing on an uneven field that we can do a lot to fix. Again, this problem of yours, with holding two ideas as valid at the same time.

    I know, you’ll die before you’ll consider the possibility that a lot of women genuinely enjoy exhibiting themselves in a sexy/sexual way.

    BAHAHAHA! More straw-manning. And that’s why I’ve defended women who cosplay, I suppose. But as with our discussion there, you seem to have trouble with context. How a woman chooses to present her own body is different from how a woman’s body (and skill, professionalism, agency, etc) is presented and talked about in a still-mostly-male media.

    But I’m not interested in rehashing that argument, so I’m dropping this tiresome thread. Go have fun debating Imaginary Bluejay. I’m sure you’ll easily win!

  • You’re dismissing

    I’m not dismissing anybody or anything. But *you* are dismissing anything that you haven’t personally witnessed yourself. So I am done with you.

  • Robert P

    Re:

    But if she’s carrying a child obviously crashing into other people on a field isn’t what she should be doing.

    LOL! And THAT’s what I’ve been saying, you think?

    Here’s what you’ve said:

    And if she brings the baby to term, maybe she has to stay home and take
    care of it and give up afterschool sports. Because there’s no way she
    can ask her boyfriend to stay home and take care of it, while SHE plays
    sports, right? Or maybe there’s no affordable nannies or day care
    centers in her neighborhood. So, again, cultural biases and lack of social infrastructural support.

    You miss the boat on some important points. It isn’t cultural bias, it’s a girl doing something stupid she isn’t yet prepared to deal with that she’s assuredly been made aware is something she shouldn’t do. Like a little kid jumping behind the wheel of a car when his legs aren’t long enough to fully control the pedals and he can’t really see over the dashboard well. What they *should* do is complete school, get themselves into a position where they’re better prepared to deal with life themselves, have an understanding of what it takes to raise children and what a huge responsibility it is, have them when their life is established and stable with a partner who’s also themselves prepared. If she has a baby – *that’s* the focus of her life now, not playing on the soccer team. That baby needs ’round the clock tending 365 days a year.

    You seem to hold some fantasy notion that “the way things should be” is a boyfriend staying home and taking care of the baby while she plays sports with no notion of what about his completion of high school, who’s paying the bills to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table and the utilities paid.

    It isn’t a failing of society that there isn’t boutique 24/7 childcare available to any girl who gets herself knocked up so she can stroll along unaffected by her bad decisions.

    Anyway, you asked about reasons a girl might drop out of sports, this is one and it isn’t the fault of society just as it isn’t society’s fault if they have to choose between activities with conflicting schedules, or they’re not willing to work hard or if they act like a hosebag and get kicked off the team.

  • It isn’t a failing of society that there isn’t boutique 24/7 childcare available

    Yes, it is.

    to any girl who gets herself knocked up

    As far as I am aware, there has been only one immaculate conception in all of human history, and I think that one is total fantasy.

    so she can stroll along unaffected by her bad decisions.

    Did she have access to birth control? To sex education? To abortion?

    You have ZERO understanding of the world women live in. You’re just digging yourself in deeper.

  • Robert P
    It isn’t a failing of society that there isn’t boutique 24/7 childcare available

    Yes, it is.

    This is consistent with the rest of what you say.

    The world I live in is the one where only women have babies and certainly at least by the time they’re a little way into grade school – almost surely even earlier, they know this.

    The ready availability of man-made measures aside, the most important birth control a girl has access to is her own mind and control over her own actions. Unless she’s been kept in some bizarre captivity or sheltered to the point where interacting with boys wouldn’t even be a consideration, by the time she gets to middle and high school the notion that she wouldn’t know where babies come from is ridiculous.

    You talk a lot about female empowerment, yet you’ve demonstrated here you don’t regard making responsible decisions as a priority. Unless she’s raped – surely you’re not part of the wild-eyed “all sex is rape!!” crowd? – her getting pregnant is a result of her decision process. Sure, the father should be held accountable financially but a lot of “shoulds” fall apart in reality. If he too is a young kid how much can you realistically expect? Hell, he might die – but she’s still going to be pregnant. I’m positive you believe a woman should have 100% control as to whether she carries a pregnancy to term – so why don’t you hold equally vehement conviction that she be 100% accountable for her behavioral choices. If she has to drop out of sports or school because of it, it’s on her not “society”.

  • Wow, you really are astonishing. You talk about “reality,” but you clearly have absolutely no idea of what girls’ and women’s realities are. You clearly don’t understand how our culture gives girls and women conflicting ideas about their own sexuality and how to interact with boys and men. You clearly have zero fucking clue about the challenges girls and women face, even when they have total clarity in their own minds and bodies, when it comes to accessing the health care they need.

    You’re damn straight I talk a lot about “female empowerment.” Including the absolute need to get girls and women to understand what that even means when so much of the culture works AGAINST that. We do not live in the equal and perfect world you seem to think we do.

    I’m done. I will not respond to you again.

  • Robert P

    you clearly have absolutely no idea of what girls’ and women’s realities are

    A reality I have a pretty good handle on is that only females get pregnant. I know I encounter a consistent message that having kids you’re not prepared for is a great way to stay poor and generally have a tougher life as is chasing after undependable or abusive men. I hear this a lot. I see girls and women determined to ignore this message a lot. Certain “feminists” are the only voices I’ve ever heard encouraging women to raise children without a father.

    You’re damn straight I talk a lot about “female empowerment.”

    You skipped over the “yet”. Yet you’re indignant at the suggestion that a major component of empowerment is that women and girls exercise judgment over something like engaging in sexual behavior – that there are potential consequences. From what I’ve seen that doesn’t even fit into your paradigm. As you’ve stated here your concept of “empowerment” includes insisting there should be subsidized child care for all – you apparently don’t see the glaring contradiction with a message of empowerment. You’re part of “society” – do you spend energy broadcasting a message to girls and women to make smart choices?

    “Birth control” is about a result, not a device. Did she refrain from behavior that could get her pregnant? You angrily dismiss this as even being a valid question. Everything you’ve said indicates that you regard it as someone else’s fault. You’d be the first one to insist on a woman’s right to choose…except according to you she’s powerless to choose her behavior in the first place.

  • Robert P

    Btw as a heads-up one atheist to another I’m sure you mean virgin birth – immaculate conception is related to the birth of Mary, not the birth of Jesus.

  • Robert P

    P.S. Women don’t have an exclusive on mixed messages about how they’re supposed to interact with the opposite sex – a fluffier example among a list of others it would be great to have a heads-up on who’s going to regard you as a boorish meathead if you don’t open a door for a woman and who’s going to regard you as an unenlightened stooge if you do. Personally I always do since I figure the odds are still in my favor. I’d rather unfairly be labeled a chauvinist than be seen as an inconsiderate jerk.

  • Danielm80
  • a message to girls and women to make smart choices

    For the last damn time: You appear to have no understanding of the larger social context in which girls and women make their choices, and how those choices are supported (or not). Those choices do not happen in a vacuum, and the not-a-vacuum IS NOT SUPPORTIVE of girls and women’s best interests.

  • Yes, that’s what I meant. And my point holds: girls and women DO NOT GET PREGNANT BY THEMSELVES.

  • bronxbee

    subsidised child care would benefit fathers as well. in a two parent household, it sometimes happens that neither parent is making enough to pay for excellent childcare after household bills and expenses are taken care of. excellent childcare is the basis for getting an excellent education, which is necessary to the future of any nation.

  • Bluejay

    If I had to guess, I’d wager that the people arguing that women are entirely and solely responsible for their lot in life are probably also the same people arguing that we should move heaven and earth to help the struggling white (male) working class. Guy loses his job at the factory or mine, can’t feed his family, falls into despair, gets hooked on opioids? We can’t just leave him to his misery! We must loosen regulations so that the coal industry can come back! We must change corporate tax incentives so that manufacturing can come back! We must provide job retraining opportunities! We must declare the opioid crisis a national health emergency! And it’s not just laws and policies; the culture has to be more supportive as well: the media must stop ignoring the “forgotten Americans”! The liberal-coastal-Hollywood elite must quit condescending! Movies must stop shitting on men and start pumping them up again, like this guy says!

    But when it comes to issues that impact women most? If a girl gets pregnant, and has no access to abortion, and no support for raising her child well without derailing the rest of her life? Well, tough. It’s her own fault, and there’s not a damn thing society or government can or should do to help.

  • Danielm80
  • Robert P

    Take some deep, cleansing breaths. You’re wandering far off the conceptual thread. While I realize white-guy bashing is a favorite pastime and some of the utter nonsense you’ve invoked aside – I have to chuckle at the mental gymnastics you engage in that somehow envisions “the middle class” and any impact on it as only including and applying to white males, your polemic has nothing to do with the original point I addressed – which is there are circumstances that would reasonably cause a girl to drop out of sports that don’t add up to some conspiracy by or failing of society. And it’s not the fault of “society” if a girl fails to exercise good judgment and her life is altered by it. It never ceases to amaze how much ire the notion of making responsible choices inspires in many folks who talk like you. You clearly regard this suggestion as being tantamount to a hate crime.

    While I’m not all for throwing young mothers out into the street, “help” doesn’t mean it’s reasonable to expect that her life is going to be unimpacted by her actions and choices which seems to be what you demand of the world. Even if she has an abortion – which I don’t a problem with, it’s still going to have an impact. If she has a child, *that’s* her priority, not playing on the soccer team.

  • Bluejay

    I was talking to MaryAnn, not to you. But I’ll address your comment anyway.

    I have to chuckle at the mental gymnastics you engage in that somehow envisions “the middle class” and any impact on it as only including and applying to white males

    Not at all. But there are those who have no problem calling for social support and government intervention as long as the class being affected INCLUDES white males. If the problem affects mainly/only women, or mainly/only minorities, suddenly it’s their own fault; cue the speeches on personal responsibility. I’m not attacking personal responsibility; I’m calling out hypocrisy.

    It never ceases to amaze how much ire the notion of making responsible choices inspires in many folks who talk like you. You clearly regard this suggestion as being tantamount to a hate crime.

    Again: nice straw man. No one here is against personal responsibility or making responsible choices. What never ceases to amaze me is how YOU seem to insist on denying that the way we’ve set up society makes some choices easier than others. Again, you seem incapable of accepting two ideas in your head as valid at the same time: that people are responsible for their choices, AND that these choices take place in a social/cultural/political context that influences what people do.

    If she has a child, *that’s* her priority, not playing on the soccer team.

    Interesting that no one ever pressured David Beckham to retire after the births of each of his four kids. Somehow, society makes it possible for male soccer players to have kids and still play soccer. Probably because society has set it up so that dads can easily play soccer while the kids are raised by their moms. That’s just the way it is, and can’t ever be changed, amirite, bro?

    Take some deep, cleansing breaths.

    I type this calmly, and with a big smile: Fuck you. :-)

  • Robert P

    Apparently those cleansing breaths aren’t helping. I’m guessing your effew isn’t making the impression you were hoping it would. Interestingly, I don’t feel anything like the seething, quivering contempt you’re clearly struggling with.

    Interesting that no one ever pressured David Beckham to retire after the births of each of his four kids.

    Sooo…you seriously don’t grasp the distinction between the circumstances of a married, working adult – a multimillionaire sports star at that, who as it happens is married to a multimillionaire pop-star/model/etc. and the circumstances of a high school girl whose family is of far more modest means.

    Okee doke.

    Not at all. But there are those who have no problem calling for social
    support and government intervention as long as the class being affected
    INCLUDES white males.

    I’m curious what some examples of these programs are that outrageously include white guys (but not including or impacting white women/girls?) Since programs are frequently meant to benefit Americans, it might be hard to exclude white guys…but apparently you’d be much happier with programs that exclude white males?

    If the problem affects mainly/only women, or
    mainly/only minorities, suddenly it’s their own fault;

    Because there’s not a huge welfare state already in place in the US that minorities disproportionately participate in. And of course in no case are their circumstances in any way related to behavior and choices. And it isn’t true that a great way to end up on public assistance is to have kids when you’re not personally and financially prepared.

    Btw, if you want to play “go far afield of the point” – and speaking of programs that are supposedly deviously engineered to “include white males” wondering how you feel about all the illegals – and legal immigrants for that matter – that I’ll bet a buck you feel should be unquestioningly accommodated no matter what their numbers who compete for taxpayer-funded social welfare bens with all the teen mothers who you feel should be buffered from any inconvenience resulting from their actions.

  • Robert P

    You keep saying I don’t have a clue but you don’t provide any specifics that run counter to my understanding. I’d be curious to hear you enumerate specifics of how the not-a-vacuum doesn’t support a young girl who refrains from behavior that could get her pregnant before she’s personally and financially prepared to deal with it. If she applies herself academically and doesn’t get pregnant is she less likely to win a scholarship, less likely to expand the choice of colleges she could potentially get into if she’s inclined to go to college? If she’s serious about a sport and doesn’t get pregnant is she less likely to go on to the college level?

    Seriously, fill in the blanks for me. What segment of society, what institution do you hear widely broadcasting an insidious, impossible to resist message to girls that getting pregnant as a kid in school is a really nifty idea? I’ve been working in public schools for a number of years and I have yet to hear of any teacher, administrator, guidance counselor, support staff, nurse, coach, military recruiter, employment or college recruiter, cafeteria worker, janitor, anyone connected with a school articulating such a message.

    Interestingly I’ve heard you say you think there should be subsidized childcare for all, I haven’t heard you say anything, not one syllable that would indicate you think it’s a bad idea for a school girl to get pregnant. I haven’t heard you say anything to the effect of how important you think it is that girls and women engage their brains to make considered, smart decisions. I hear you say how downtrodden they are and how the deck is impossibly stacked against them.

  • Bluejay

    Apparently those cleansing breaths aren’t helping. I’m guessing your effew isn’t making the impression you were hoping it would.

    What “impression” do you think I was hoping for? It felt good to say it. Fuck you. :-)

    I don’t feel anything like the seething, quivering contempt you’re clearly struggling with.

    LOL! Believe what you want. Fuck you. :-)

    I’m curious what some examples of these programs are that outrageously include white guys (but not including or impacting white women/girls?)

    And right on cue, yet another misrepresentation of what I said, which you quoted directly above your statement. If you’re going to keep failing basic reading comprehension, then there really IS no point in engaging with you.

    Bye.

  • Seriously, fill in the blanks for me.

    Seriously, I am not your feminist mommy.

  • Robert P

    Nope, don’t seek a feminist mommy, just curious if there’s any actual substantiation behind generalities and rhetoric that seem flawed and resting on a philosophy that’s fundamentally at odds with the superficial labels of the rhetoric.

  • If you genuinely want to learn about these topics, you can do your own research. Google is your friend. But you have demonstrated over and over again that you’re not interested in actually learning anything (as when you dismissed the long list of sources another commenter offered). I have far better ways to spend my time than to educate you when you can damn well do it yourself.

  • Robert P

    as when you dismissed the long list of sources another commenter offered

    I didn’t dismiss them, I looked at four of them, specifically commented on three and they blatantly, demonstrably don’t support his point, only the titles give a superficial appearance of doing so. When analyzed the substance of them is a fail – they only amount to “evidence” to someone invested in a particular orthodoxy. Clearly he regards everything on his list as supporting his point – it doesn’t.

  • Bluejay

    I didn’t dismiss them

    https://www.flickfilosopher.com/2017/09/battle-sexes-movie-review-totally-ace.html#comment-3575655594

    “Anything that comes out of the People’s Republic Of California is questionable. As far as much of mainstream media I’d want corroboration if they said the sun rose in the morning. These sources you cite are no doubt some of the same esteemed organizations that dismissed the Trump candidacy as not having a chance because of their gloriously accurate data.”

    :-)

  • Robert P

    Do you think you’re fooling anyone but yourself? Another of your “zingers” that falls flat on its face. Of course I would expect you to now ignore the rest of what I said about the articles I looked at given that your goal is confirmation bias, not objective analysis of reality. People like you who resort to invective don’t make intellectual honesty a priority. Your “evidence” failed.

  • Danielm80

    You remember when you said he was THIS CLOSE to getting it? Don’t place bets on Marco Polo games.

  • Bluejay

    your goal is confirmation bias, not objective analysis of reality.

    LOL! Says the guy who ignores comprehensive formal studies taking into account lots of people’s different realities, in favor of personal anecdata and Facebook friends and a cherry-picked article about a football-playing prom queen. Your lack of self-awareness is staggering.

  • Robert P

    people’s different realities

    Says the guy who displays non-comprehension re: the difference in circumstances between a middle of the bell curve teen girl and a multimillionaire pro sports star married to a multimillionaire pop singer.

  • Bluejay

    And once again you demonstrate your impressive ability to miss the point. And round and round we go. Yawn.

  • Danielm80

    I’m pretty sure it won’t help, but can I plead for an end to this discussion? It’s long since become clear that he has nothing worthwhile to say, and I think he’s concluded the same thing about us. Please, please stop responding to him.

  • MPNavrozjee

    I’m old enough to remember the match well.

    The movie is terrific, and honest, in that it captures that much of the public mood around the match viewed it as intentionally campy, and self-referential satire, which it was.

    I’m not sure our times are loose enough to carry off that mix of simultaneous seriousness and satirical fun; so the rest of the movie tends to play it more as a simple women vs. the chauvinists story.

    Good see it; two hours entertainingly spent.

    Emma Stone and Steve Carrell’s impersonations are uncanny.

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