Over the past century, women have come along way in terms of equality. Ever since Women’s Suffrage (which, by the way, may be the worst name ever for women’s equality), in most aspects women have been put on a level playing field with their male counterparts. During the brunt of the 20th Century, women largely spent their time tending to the home. However, as a society we have since left those archaic times, and women currently comprise nearly 50% of the work force.
So, the next question that comes to mind is whether or not this equality issue should be taken to the next level, allowing women to participate in sports that are predominantly played by men. Here are my thoughts on the issue.
I generally feel as if I am a progressive thinker. In no way, shape or form do I believe that women are of a lesser life form than men. Women are just as intelligent, talented and capable as men, far surpassing men in some areas. However, when it comes to sports, it is a virtual certainty that men are bigger, faster and stronger than women. As a result, it is no secret that women find it rather difficult to compete with men. But, does that mean that women should be excluded from the male side of sports? Not necessarily. I feel that in sports like swimming, golf, track, and tennis, women should be allowed to compete with men if they feel up to the task. You may be wondering why women should be allowed to compete in some sports and not others. Here is why. The aforementioned sports are individual, non-contact sports. If there is no physical contact between the contestants, the outcome of the game depends less on physical prowess than on skill. Physicality still is a factor, but not nearly as much as in team or contact sports. When skill is the main determinant, I don’t see any reason why women should not be able to play with men.
However, when it comes to contact sports like football, basketball, soccer and hockey, I personally don’t think that women should be allowed to compete. My reasoning is two fold. First, when women and men play together, men find themselves at a distinct disadvantage. Men have been raised to treat women with respect and kindness. This notion definitely shows up on the playing field. For example, when in college I participated in co-ed intramural sports. As I found myself playing against a female opponent, I felt bad taking the ball away from her. Furthermore, even if I did decide to take the ball, I did it in a very unnatural way, trying not to be too rough. I simply did not want to be that “jerk” who was too physical with a girl. Because of experiences similar to my own, I feel that women should not be allowed to play contact sports with men.
The second reason I am against women in male team or contact sports is as follows. I have heard countless horror stories of sexist treatment of women who play male sports. The one that comes to mind occurred in 1999. At the University of Colorado, a young women by the name of Katie Hinda played on the football team as a replacement placekicker. During her tenure at Colorado, she was subjected to sexual harassment on a daily basis, eventually claiming that she had been raped by a fellow teammate. Regarding whether or not women should be allowed to play sports with men, I thing this instance speaks for itself.
In summation, I want to reiterate my belief that women are equal to men. However, when it comes to contact sports, there are just too many issues and obstacles in the way. Not only are men at a psychological disadvantage because of our society’s consensus towards gentle treatment of women, but also, women can often times find themselves in very compromising, even dangerous situations. Therefore, women in men’s sports is not a good idea.
Nishan Wilde is VP of Sales at RobbinsSports.com, an online resource for Gym Bags and Portable Scoreboards