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Do women's sports empower women, or fuel stereotypes?
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macintologist
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Oct 5, 2007, 04:59 AM
 
I was thinking about this the other day. When you normally think of women's sports, most especially team sports like women's basketball, you think of how in recent decades it has empowered women, making them more equal to men since they are performing the same physical activities.

But actually I'm starting to see it differently. I always see women athletes walking around campus. Athletes in general stick out like a sour thumb because they always wear track pants or running shorts and logo tshirts or hoodies. Women athletes always congregate together and walk in groups together. I rarely see men and women athletes walking together like in a big social group. This has made me think that women's sports actually do the opposite of empowering, but actually keep them down to a level less than men, when you're talking about perception. Yes they are playing sports, but they are voluntarily playing "dumbed down sports", ie. softball instead of baseball, other women's iterations of sports that intentionally have easier or dumbed down rules with minimal or no physical contact. For example the WNBA basketball is smaller than the NBA's.

Rather than promoting "women's sports" why not encourage women to play sports ALONGSIDE men. I think that would be the most empowering thing to do. I want EQUALITY, not this segregation bullshit.
( Last edited by macintologist; Oct 5, 2007 at 05:06 AM. )
     
Dork.
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Oct 5, 2007, 07:51 AM
 
Interesting. If you're citing women tending to congregate with other women they know as evidence of this, though, I would suggest you don't know women very well. They always travel in packs, even to go to the bathroom!

I can understand your point of view, but remember that, both in the average population and in the population likely to make up College-level athletes, there are real physical differences between the sexes. Does this mean that a given female athlete couldn't play ball with the men, or that any college-level female athlete couldn't whoop my ass at anything (if my wife let her )? Of course not. But it does mean that if your goal is to promote equal competition, then you're better off leaving men's sports and women's sports separate, because if you combine them women will probably end up migrating towards roles where their physical differences are an asset, which would kind of defeat the purpose of integrating the leagues in the first place. As it stands, there is plenty of equal competition within each type of league, and integrating men's and women's leagues woudl probably upset that balance.

There's also another obvious difference, and that is that the Men's professional sports leagues are so established, and with a few exceptions (Tennis and Golf comes to mind), women's sports leagues are relatively young here in the U.S. (and perhaps non-existent elsewhere). This means that while an extremely talented male college-level athlete can dream of making it big in the Big Leagues as a career, that option is open to very few women. As a result, even extremely talented women need to spend their time while in College actually preparing to enter a career. It might be in an athletics-related field where their college playing time is an asset, but right there is a big inequity that would not be solved by integrating collegiate leagues. (I understand that most men in sports leagues would not play professional ball, either, but I don't think Greg Oden, Reggie Bush, or Vince Young had any plans for a career outside of pro sports).

I think the point of Title IX on the college level wasn't necessarily to provide the same level of playing experience to women as men, but to provide the same opportunities to excel in a team environment, using their physical skills. So what if the Women's basketball is smaller? Women who play college basketball still have to execute a game plan and work as a team to be successful.
( Last edited by Dork.; Oct 5, 2007 at 07:58 AM. )
     
wallinbl
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Oct 5, 2007, 09:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by macintologist View Post
Rather than promoting "women's sports" why not encourage women to play sports ALONGSIDE men. I think that would be the most empowering thing to do. I want EQUALITY, not this segregation bullshit.
If I'm not mistaken, biology leads to men being bigger, faster, and stronger than women. It's not about keeping women down or anything, it's just that very few women would be able to compete with men at a collegiate or professional level in sports. It doesn't even work out in golf or tennis (see Annika Sorenstam, Michelle Wie and Serena Williams), which are more likely to even out physical differences than basketball, football, or soccer.

Also, most men's sports do not prohibit women from playing - it's just that when they have tried, they haven't made the cut.
     
andi*pandi
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Oct 5, 2007, 11:14 AM
 
^If this were true, there'd never have been a need for title IX in the first place. It's still difficult for a girl to play on a men's team (my niece played football).

and also, see Bobby Riggs vs. Billie Jean King in regard to ability.

It does bother me that the rules, balls, etc are different for women's sports, some of them date back to the turn of the century when women playing sports was new. Softball isn't a "women" sport any longer, I know many leagues that are co-ed. At least now women are allowed to dribble in basketball, early forms of the game required passing only--dribbling would have got the ball tangled in long skirts.
     
besson3c
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Oct 5, 2007, 11:24 AM
 
There are some sports, football comes to mind, where it would be difficult for women to play alongside of men because of their physical differences. However, I'd say that with a significant quantity of sports that involve mastering a particular technique, it shouldn't matter at all, and there should be more integration and less brainless tradition. I mean, can anybody come up with a logical reason why mens and womens curling should be separate?
     
maxintosh
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Oct 5, 2007, 12:07 PM
 
I had a good friend in high school who became the league's first women's wrestler, though they rarely found match-ups for her, she still practiced with "the guys."

I've also witnessed more than once a woman beat the crap out of guys sparring in boxing. Though I question whether co-ed bouts would be practical. There are obvious physical differences between the sexes though if a woman wanted to compete in a specific, male-dominated league I don't see why she shouldn't be able to try. It's the same weird argument for keeping women out of combat in the military--if she is physically capable and wants to, why the heck not?
     
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Oct 5, 2007, 12:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl View Post
If I'm not mistaken, biology leads to men being bigger, faster, and stronger than women.
Isn't that also true about blacks vs. whites and asians? Maybe we should have separate leagues for us short, slow white people.
     
besson3c
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Oct 5, 2007, 12:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by maxintosh View Post
I had a good friend in high school who became the league's first women's wrestler, though they rarely found match-ups for her, she still practiced with "the guys."

I've also witnessed more than once a woman beat the crap out of guys sparring in boxing. Though I question whether co-ed bouts would be practical. There are obvious physical differences between the sexes though if a woman wanted to compete in a specific, male-dominated league I don't see why she shouldn't be able to try. It's the same weird argument for keeping women out of combat in the military--if she is physically capable and wants to, why the heck not?

Maybe for a similar reason that some don't want gays in the military?
     
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Oct 5, 2007, 12:42 PM
 
The simple truth is that women are not able to compete with top level male athletes. It's a biological fact.

It's not sexist or anything, it's just how it is.

That said, if a woman is good enough to compete with men, I say let her.

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besson3c
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Oct 5, 2007, 12:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
The simple truth is that women are not able to compete with top level male athletes. It's a biological fact.

It's not sexist or anything, it's just how it is.

That said, if a woman is good enough to compete with men, I say let her.

But this should be qualified by saying that this applies to sports that are not simply based on a particular technique - i.e. physical sports. Obviously curling, darts, archery, etc. have nothing to do with physical strength.
     
Dork.
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Oct 5, 2007, 12:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
The simple truth is that women are not able to compete with top level male athletes. It's a biological fact.

It's not sexist or anything, it's just how it is.

That said, if a woman is good enough to compete with men, I say let her.
If you're going to be using biology to make your case, you have to acknowledge that you're speaking about general trends, and it's possible for a particular woman to have the right physical attributes to be able to excel alongside top male athletes.

All I know is that if the Mets have the opportunity to sign a woman who can throw a baseball past the best hitters in the Major Leagues, I expect them to sign her, and make room for a Ladies' clubhouse in the new stadium. Heck, they won't have to worry about blowing her arm out early, because before she's 30 she'll sit out a season or two pregnant, anyway!

<Dork. ducks....>
( Last edited by Dork.; Oct 5, 2007 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Forgot we have interleague play now, silly me!)
     
maxintosh
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Oct 5, 2007, 01:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Maybe for a similar reason that some don't want gays in the military?
Women would be distracted by the hot military beefcake? lol...
     
invisibleX
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Oct 5, 2007, 01:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by maxintosh View Post
Women would be distracted by the hot military beefcake? lol...
That is one thing I'll never quite understand.
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Oct 5, 2007, 03:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
it's possible for a particular woman to have the right physical attributes to be able to excel alongside top male athletes.
Name one example.
     
wallinbl
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Oct 5, 2007, 03:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
Name one example.
Not sure it can be done - the best female athlete of all time (Babe Zaharias) failed when attempting to compete with professional male athletes.
     
Dork.
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Oct 5, 2007, 03:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
Name one example.
Why should I have to? Even if there has never been a female athlete that has competed with the top male athletes, that doesn't mean there can never be.
     
besson3c
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Oct 5, 2007, 04:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
Why should I have to? Even if there has never been a female athlete that has competed with the top male athletes, that doesn't mean there can never be.
Right!

I see no fundamental reason why women couldn't outdo men in marathon running, tennis, some positions in baseball, etc. Then there are a whole category of sports that are sort of in the gray area when it comes to defining them as physically demanding sports, such as certain skiing activities, certain track and field activities, etc. Then, there are sports that are judged in terms of style, such as figure skating, ballet skiing, ski ariel jumping, syncronized swimming, etc.
     
TETENAL
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Oct 5, 2007, 04:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
Why should I have to?
Because you made that claim, so it's up to you to support it. Until you can I call it preposterous.
Even if there has never been a female athlete that has competed with the top male athletes, that doesn't mean there can never be.
A lot if things can happen, theoretically. Until then I guess most female athletes would want to compete amongst themselves, because it's kind of boring to compete where you never stand a chance to succeed.
     
analogika
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Oct 5, 2007, 04:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
Name one example.
World records in athletics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Discus world record held by a woman - TWO METERS ahead of the next (male) competitor.

That was just the first one I noticed - I'm sure there's others on that page.
     
TETENAL
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Oct 5, 2007, 04:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogika View Post
Discus world record held by a woman - TWO METERS ahead of the next (male) competitor.
You know that women throw discs half the weight of those for men, don't you?
     
Laminar
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Oct 5, 2007, 05:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Right!

I see no fundamental reason why women couldn't outdo men in marathon running,
Uh...because there's no athletic ability required to run a marathon?
     
analogika
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Oct 5, 2007, 05:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
You know that women throw discs half the weight of those for men, don't you?
Nope, had no idea.

I'm not really interested in sports at all (I *am* interested in women, though - lest you ask what I'm doing in this thread. )

Edit: I see that the same applies to the shot put, which is the only other discipline in which women come out ahead.
( Last edited by analogika; Oct 5, 2007 at 05:46 PM. )
     
besson3c
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Oct 5, 2007, 05:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
Because you made that claim, so it's up to you to support it. Until you can I call it preposterous.

A lot if things can happen, theoretically. Until then I guess most female athletes would want to compete amongst themselves, because it's kind of boring to compete where you never stand a chance to succeed.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I think that each of us need to refine what we are actually saying by stating what types of sports we are talking about. It is preposterous to say that women can never compete with men at all sports across the board.
     
besson3c
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Oct 5, 2007, 05:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Uh...because there's no athletic ability required to run a marathon?

How would you characterize the ability then?
     
iREZ
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Oct 5, 2007, 05:50 PM
 
i hope he was being sarcastic, training for the marathon...yet alone running a marathon is one of the hardest things ive ever done...and i played collegiate basketball.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
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Oct 5, 2007, 06:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dork. View Post
Why should I have to? Even if there has never been a female athlete that has competed with the top male athletes, that doesn't mean there can never be.
Just because the sun has never blinked out of existence for no good reason and plunged the earth into a postapocalyptic ice age doesn't mean it never will. Scared? (You shouldn't be. The fact that the sun has never failed to rise is generally considered good proof that it will continue to do so for a long time.)
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andi*pandi
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Oct 5, 2007, 06:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
Name one example.
and also, see Bobby Riggs vs. Billie Jean King in regard to ability.
     
Laminar
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Oct 5, 2007, 07:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
How would you characterize the ability then?
Uh...extremely athletic. Obviously there's a huge mental component to it, but men are going to do better.
     
macroy
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Oct 5, 2007, 07:58 PM
 
IMO - Riggs and King is not a good example... while it has a huge symbolic meaning for women, the two were not exactly equal in talent. I believe Riggs was WAY over the hill... while King was the top woman player at the time.

However, I think from a "fundamental" skill level, woman can be just as good as men. I remember watching this years college equivalent of the 3-point contest. They had the top male go against the top female.... the chic won. Now, obviously if they played one on one, the girl may have gotten hurt.... Which goes to show that yes, from a build/strength stand point.. men have an advantage. But women can be as talented in terms of fundamental skills. And in fact, I think many are also better because than cannot rely on other attributes such as strength and speed (i.e I think womens basketball and golf have better fundamentals than the mens). The problem is that in most sports, its very hard to separate the two.
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Sherman Homan
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Oct 5, 2007, 08:17 PM
 
I have one word for y'all: Beach Volleyball.
     
Jawbone54
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Oct 5, 2007, 09:54 PM
 
This topic really, really, really annoys me.

I'm not a chauvinist. I don't go around laughing it up and talking about how stupid women are and how they need to stay in the kitchen and such.

...HOWEVER, women's sports generally suck, and they suck bad. The WNBA is intolerable. Women's soccer...bleh. Women absolutely can be athletic, but there are physical differences between the sexes that will never disappear no matter how many nutjobs think that the WNBA deserves as much TV time as the NBA. There are a few sports in which there are exceptions. Female tennis is entertaining to watch, and you can tell these women are extraordinarily talented. Women's golf isn't mind-numbing to watch (unless you just hate golf).

Put a woman (no matter how beefy) on a football field and watch her take a hit from a 250-pound linebacker. Stick a 5'10'' girl with a vertical of 5" and laughable coordination in a basketball game with giants who can leap through the roof. See how "equal" she feels about herself then.

Equality doesn't mean doing every freakin' little thing the same as each other. It doesn't mean giving women's sport the same level of attention as men's. It means respecting what each other does. If a woman is great at tennis, I'll respect her for it. If a woman is great at interior design, I'll respect her for it. If a woman, GOD FORBID, is a good mother, I'll respect her for it. If she's a CEO of a company, I'll definitely respect her for it.

But don't serve me a steak from Ryan's and tell me it's Ruth's Chris. The difference is evident to everyone.
     
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Oct 6, 2007, 01:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by Sherman Homan View Post
I have one word for y'all: Beach Volleyball.
I fear no one. There's a reason the co-ed intramural leagues have a rule requiring a member from each sex touch the ball if more than one hit is made on a side. I am that reason.

     
besson3c
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Oct 6, 2007, 01:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Uh...extremely athletic. Obviously there's a huge mental component to it, but men are going to do better.

Why?
     
besson3c
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Oct 6, 2007, 01:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
This topic really, really, really annoys me.

I'm not a chauvinist. I don't go around laughing it up and talking about how stupid women are and how they need to stay in the kitchen and such.

...HOWEVER, women's sports generally suck, and they suck bad. The WNBA is intolerable. Women's soccer...bleh. Women absolutely can be athletic, but there are physical differences between the sexes that will never disappear no matter how many nutjobs think that the WNBA deserves as much TV time as the NBA. There are a few sports in which there are exceptions. Female tennis is entertaining to watch, and you can tell these women are extraordinarily talented. Women's golf isn't mind-numbing to watch (unless you just hate golf).

Put a woman (no matter how beefy) on a football field and watch her take a hit from a 250-pound linebacker. Stick a 5'10'' girl with a vertical of 5" and laughable coordination in a basketball game with giants who can leap through the roof. See how "equal" she feels about herself then.

Equality doesn't mean doing every freakin' little thing the same as each other. It doesn't mean giving women's sport the same level of attention as men's. It means respecting what each other does. If a woman is great at tennis, I'll respect her for it. If a woman is great at interior design, I'll respect her for it. If a woman, GOD FORBID, is a good mother, I'll respect her for it. If she's a CEO of a company, I'll definitely respect her for it.

But don't serve me a steak from Ryan's and tell me it's Ruth's Chris. The difference is evident to everyone.

It just depends on what you like in your sports, no? There are many sports that don't revolve around strength and pushing your body to its limits.
     
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Oct 6, 2007, 07:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
The simple truth is that women are not able to compete with top level male athletes. It's a biological fact.

It's not sexist or anything, it's just how it is.

That said, if a woman is good enough to compete with men, I say let her.


Right on the money.
     
andi*pandi
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Oct 6, 2007, 08:08 AM
 
The simple truth is that 98% of men are not able to compete with top level male athletes either. What are we comparing here? Middle-aged housewives with Nomar? No. Your average geek posting here would fare no better. Are we arguing the basic merits of allowing the girlies to even attempt sport? No? I'm glad to see that no one has yet proposed that, we've evolved past that 1900 mindset. So we're somewhere in the middle.

As long as we're in that middle, there's a place for women's sports.
     
Kevin
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Oct 6, 2007, 08:43 AM
 
I don't think that is what those people here are saying. At least that isn't what I am saying.

Biologically, man is just made this way. The best male athlete against the best female, where size and strength matters, the female usually will always lose out.

This doesn't mean they are inferior. This just means that "nature" made us differently. To have different purposes.

It's like this with most all other animals on the planet. Why not humans?

I mean men can't have babies. But I wouldn't say that me claiming so was sexist or outdated.

Men will always be the "Stronger" of the two. It has been so since our inception.

I don't know why this bothers people. Or why claiming so is a bad thing.
     
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Oct 6, 2007, 08:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
Name one example.
Babe Zaharias and Billy Jean King. Oh, that was two. Sorry.

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Oct 6, 2007, 08:56 AM
 
I'd like to see examples of women beating a man in a sport where strength and size matters. I've really yet to see that.

Lets take arm wrestling. Who do you think would win? The best female arm wrestler or the best male?
     
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Oct 6, 2007, 08:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
...HOWEVER, women's sports generally suck, and they suck bad. The WNBA is intolerable. Women's soccer...bleh. <...> Stick a 5'10'' girl with a vertical of 5" and laughable coordination in a basketball game with giants who can leap through the roof. See how "equal" she feels about herself then.
You've never seen the college women's basketball I have. The "Lady Longhorns" women's basketball program at the University of Texas at one time made NCAA men's basketball teams look like special ed gym classes. These ladies had serious moves, verticals that make the NBA (not the WNBA) take notice, and (here's the good part) actual teamwork, leading to ending out seasons in playoffs for several years running.

Suggesting that women who play basketball have poor coordination in general is something I find very odd-in my experience females overall have better and smoother coordination than males. In fact, the earlier maturation of females leads to better coordination and integration at younger ages.

The idea that women aren't good at sports in general is almost certainly 95% or more socialization than gender-related. If you take any kid and start him or her out with a sport at an early age (think of pee wee football and baseball, with kids who started playing when they could barely walk), then that kid will be good at the game. Introduce someone who's already almost completely physically mature to a new game, and they'll look far less coordinated until they've mastered it-and may never be as smooth as the person who started playing while barely able to walk. That's just mismatching the physical learning to the person's growth.

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Oct 6, 2007, 09:22 AM
 
There are really two questions here. The first is the age-old question of whether women can be just as good at sports than men. Maybe we should leave the answer for that one to the ages, too.

The second is that if we can find a woman who can compete with the top male athletes, should we let them compete together in team sports? Let's take Glenn's UT Lady Longhorns. (I know next to nothing about basketball, so I may get some of the details wrong.)

Since they're so good, they've probably sent women to the WNBA. And I'd wager they've sent them to the WNBA playing all positions. But if they were feeding athletes to the NBA, would they really be supplying women who play all positions? Or would the NBA team take a power forward and try to convert her to a guard, since even though she might be big enough to be a forward while playing against other women, she would be undersized for the male-dominated NBA.

An individual woman might be good enough to play in a male sports league, and might even be able to play a strength-dominated position. But biology dictates that men, on average, will be stronger, and if we integrate the sports leagues, then there will me many fewer women in the strength and power-oriented positions, and the women that could compete might very well be converted to more agility and skill positions, like point guard, or placekicker, or shortstop. We would have started out with the intent to equalize opportunity for women, but ended up with women even more stereotyped, because they would, by and large, only appear in certain positions on the field.
     
Dork.
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Oct 6, 2007, 01:21 PM
 
A fun off-topic note: I went to Buffalo for my undergraduate degree, and their Men's teams are the Buffalo Bulls. At the time I was there, the Womens' teams were known as the Royals, presumably because the young women objected to being called the Lady Bulls.

In the years since I left, though, apparently all the women's teams have been renamed the Bulls in what I can only percieve to be a fit of misplaced equality. Maybe this generations' young women objected being associated with Kansas City more than being associated with testosterone? I suppose if the players are OK with it, who am I to argue?
     
Chuckit
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Oct 6, 2007, 01:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
It just depends on what you like in your sports, no? There are many sports that don't revolve around strength and pushing your body to its limits.
I have a feeling you're talking about "sports" (as in competitive Halo playing) rather than sports (as in strenuous physical competition).
Chuck
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besson3c
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Oct 6, 2007, 02:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
I have a feeling you're talking about "sports" (as in competitive Halo playing) rather than sports (as in strenuous physical competition).
No, but the thing is "sport" simply cannot be defined.

Many people think of archery, bowling, or hunting as a sport, just to name a few of the countless examples. There are competitive teams and competitions for many of these activities I'm listed here and in my prior posts here, including olympic events for several of them.

So, again, perhaps we ought to define what sports we are talking about here...
     
Laminar
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Oct 6, 2007, 03:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Why?
Are you seriously asking why a man will do better in a marathon than a woman?
     
besson3c
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Oct 6, 2007, 03:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Are you seriously asking why a man will do better in a marathon than a woman?
Yes. Women are just as able to develop their cardio systems, and are just as able to develop the leg strength to carry their mass. Look at the physique of marathon runners, they hardly look anything like weight lifters...

The 100m is different, because this is all about drive and power, I will not dispute this.
     
Laminar
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Oct 6, 2007, 05:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Yes. Women are just as able to develop their cardio systems, and are just as able to develop the leg strength to carry their mass. Look at the physique of marathon runners, they hardly look anything like weight lifters...

The 100m is different, because this is all about drive and power, I will not dispute this.
Well then why is the current women's marathon record still a full 11 minutes slower than men's? Is that due only to socialization?
     
besson3c
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Oct 6, 2007, 06:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Well then why is the current women's marathon record still a full 11 minutes slower than men's? Is that due only to socialization?
It may mean something, or it may mean nothing at all...
     
turtle777
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Oct 6, 2007, 09:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
I'd like to see examples of women beating a man in a sport where strength and size matters. I've really yet to see that.

Lets take arm wrestling. Who do you think would win? The best female arm wrestler or the best male?
You forgot about those beard-growing female athletes from Eastern Germany

-t
     
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Oct 6, 2007, 10:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Well then why is the current women's marathon record still a full 11 minutes slower than men's? Is that due only to socialization?
It's due to the shorter stride of the women running. 11 minutes in a 2+ hour race is not terribly significant, and if you factor in the average height of female runners as compared to the average height of male runners, there's probably a very close correlation to their times. The distance is not "equal" for both sexes because men, with longer strides, can finish with comparatively fewer strides than women can. You'll note that shorter men finish later too-is that because women are "bad at sports?"

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
 
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