I often write about sports elsewhere, but since this will not be about giving actual game analysis but instead will be about a social issue, I’ll post this here.
In our society, feminist ideas of alleged “gender equality” are becoming more and more common. To be fair, not all of it is bad: I agree that women in the workplace should be paid equally as men who do the same jobs at the same level of competence. I also do not think, as some more conservatively minded folks do, that women should not have careers, though I do agree that the household and family should still have the priority. For example, my sister is a tax consultant and she is as competent at her job as any dude is, so I have no problem with women working and getting good career opportunities.
However, this liberal/feminist agenda, when allowed to run amok without any sort of objective foundation, will run into absurdities. People start to define equality of worth as equality in every single aspect, and they also start to blur gender lines altogether because they find the very idea of distinction to be inherently “unequal.” When they do that, their train of bad logic runs to naive fantasies that we should obliterate all distinctions between male and female that will, eventually, lead to results they’re not going to like.
There are two examples in sports right now that show how shockingly naive people are about the differences between the sexes. The first is Britney Griner, Baylor’s dominant player who wrecked through women’s college basketball throughout her career. She stands at 6’8, she’s big and strong, and she physically dominated the majority of opponents. Her dominance led to debates that maybe, just maybe, she could play with the big boys in the NBA, and Mark Cuban added more fuel to this fire by suggesting that he’d give her a shot at trying out for the team.
Many people, seeing this as a way to show that girls can play with the boys, thought this was a great idea, and some even thought that thinking this was stupid was to show sexism. They lauded Cuban for being open-minded and criticized those who were skeptical. Fortunately, many WNBA writers knew how horrible an idea this was because they knew how completely outmatched she’d be by the sheer physical superiority of NBA athletes. In the women’s game, she’s a 6’8 center who is taller and stronger than everyone else, and despite her lack of polished offensive skill, she could wreck shop. In the NBA, a 6’8 center is considered undersized unless he has an unusually long wingspan for that size. That’s more a size for a forward, and if you’re a forward who has no handles and can’t play a lick in the perimeter, especially this day and age in the NBA where small ball is prevalent, then you aren’t very valuable. For example, Lebron is 6’8 and can handle the ball, drive to the bucket, shoot threes, etc. Griner would essentially be destroyed inside by bigger and stronger players, the only place she knows how to play, and if she was taken out to the perimeter, her lack of perimeter skills would cause her to be utterly humiliated. If the guys were playing their hardest against her, she’d turn the ball over incessantly, have her shots blocked regularly, have a hard time grabbing rebounds, and get bullied in the paint over and over again. I can’t fully express how unfair this would be.
Could she whip average dudes like me? Of course. But compared to guys on her playing level (D1 athletes and then professional players), she simply doesn’t belong. There are stories at every school where the women’s players sometimes go to the school gym and play pick up games with the guys, and often, they LOSE. Let me say that again: D1 women’s players can lose to random guys at the gym (good players, but not guys good enough to play college ball, obviously). Now just imagine how badly they’d lose to their male D1 counterparts. Many WNBA writers know this and correctly feared that if this ever happened, all it would do is to further marginalize women’s basketball as inferior rather than getting people to respect women players as world-class in their own sphere. Basically, these knucklehead feminists would simply cause women’s sports to be further scorned by the public by their blind insistence that men and women should be given “equal chance” at the NBA.
The next absurdity is Fallon Fox, the transgender MMA fighter who has caused a ruckus recently. Fox is a man who has undergone surgery to become anatomically female, and he wants to continue to fight women in the ring. Some in the media have given some pretty simpleminded analysis, like Loretta Hunt of Sports Illustrated, who painted Fox as being some sort of oppressed hero with zero consideration of competitive realities. A good critique of her article can be found here; basically, Hunt just assumes people who do not want Fox fighting women are prejudiced bigots who deserve to be ignored. Even if we were to ignore the moral issue here (which biblically minded folks would obviously not), the practical issue of competition would still surface. Fox spent the majority of his life with male hormones and developed as a man; it is therefore no surprise that he is undefeated so far and has finished every woman fighter off in the first round. Yep, he’s “brave,” right? Not surprisingly, it seems that women fighters aren’t entirely eager to fight him
But again, apparently those who bring up the competitive issues here are just meanies who want to just hate on women and transgendered people and who hold to antiquated ideas of gender. The Barking Carnival article linked above shows how messy this poorly thought-out mindset of “equality” is (and this is not even close to a Christian article):
So maybe we just stop acknowledging this confusing and malleable notion of gender altogether. That’s real fairness, isn’t it?
Let’s end gender discrimination in athletics. Athletes compete against athletes. Male or female. And after women are run from almost all competitive sports, various advocacy groups who valued principle over reasonable application can turn on each other and wonder how all of this fairness and non-discrimination could have gone so horribly wrong.
And obviously, who would be the most upset that women are almost completely marginalized in competitive sports, that universities would no longer offer women a lot of athletic scholarships, and that there would be almost zero coverage in sports media? You guessed it, these very liberals. One comment in the article, from a woman, says it best:
It boggles the mind that people seriously advocate there are no real differences between the genders and believe that hormone therapy one way or the other evens the playing field. As a woman, I am all for Scip’s suggestion of abolishing all gender rules and letting the chips fall where they may. Sometimes, you have to give people exactly what they want to show them exactly how wrong they are.
I’d love to hear what kind of contradictory arguments they’d make to try to rescue women’s sports in that scenario.
This article principally agrees with this liberal agenda of ending gender distinctions but rightly recognizes the enormous practical difficulties that presents, something lost on many folks in California who want to obliterate such distinctions in their schools. Because there is no principle to fall back on, however, the author is understandably lost on how to draw lines when it comes to transgender folks, or even boys who want to consider themselves female and play women’s volleyball or something. For Christians, however, the answer is clearer: These difficulties arise precisely because people rebel against gender distinctions and take the differences of the sexes as differences of worth.
I think even evangelical egalitarians would agree that the Bible teaches two things: 1) Men and women are equal in worth and both created in the image of God and 2) Men and women are fundamentally different in many ways. We often debate what those differences are, but Christians should understand that we cannot ignore them because that would go against what God designed, so women can’t be fathers and vice versa, for example. When we understand this, we can embrace the worth we have as God’s creation while appreciating and even celebrating the differences that God built into women and men, who are designed to complement each other.
When we rebel against this, however, and try to define everything to our definitions of fairness, freedom, and equality, we get the silly messes like above: Confused gender, confused application, and eventually, undesired and contradictory results. That’s what happens when you ignore the objective truths of the Creator and try to act like God.