Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Let's Level the Playing Field

by Carl Trueman

Now that California looks set to mandate that transgender children be allowed to choose which bathrooms they use and which sports teams they join, it would seem an appropriate time to press for the purging of the remnants of a reactionary age.  Indeed, now that gender is, according to the courts, nothing more than an attitude of mind, could we dispense with all the talk of 'women's rights'?  Such terminology was minted in an era when the silly assumption was made that physiology and genetics had some determinate connection to gender.

A good place to start might be women's sports and the exorbitant amount of money which those who elect to be called 'women' athletes are paid for what are actually mediocre performances.  Take, for example, the women's mile record, which stands at 4:12:56, as set by Russian athlete, Svetlana Masterkova in 1996.  One would have to go back to 1915 to find a slower men's mile record.  Further, the fastest woman's mile between 1996 and 2012 was that by Maryam Yusuf Jamal in 2007, clocking in at 4:17:75.   To put it bluntly, I have personally seen a significant number of schoolboys run faster in the last four years. And the boys' high school mile time is sub-4 and has been since the 1960s. It seems somewhat unfair that these 'women' are paid for turning in such so-so to mediocre times while far superior school athletes receive neither fame nor fortune.  And the story is not unique to the mile: it replicates itself across the track and field world and spills into other sports, Billie Jean King's victory over a superannuated has-been chauvinist notwithstanding.

The whining about unequal pay and prestige for women athletes could now be nicely brought to an end: if gender is just an attitude of mind, then when it comes to athletics, let human beings compete on a level -- nay, on the same -- playing field.     Of course, it might just be that gender is actually a little more than an attitude of mind -- but there I go again, committing a hate crime.