Question from Maryland Resident:
Research shows that men are more interested in sports on all levels — whether it is playing intramural, club, and high school sports, watching sports, exercising, etc. Knowing that, can Title IX enforcement ever be fair?
Mary Jo Kane:
We should not be surprised that on average, males in this culture are more interested in sports than are females. Historically, the entire sports structure, from social values and norms, to economic investment, encouraged males to play sports, and stigmatized males who were not interested. The reverse has been true for women. Women were actively discouraged from participating in sports, and were labeled and stigmatized if they did so. The point is, when you measure interest, females start out with a distinct disadvantage. But Title IX proves that females were and are deeply and passionately interested in playing sports.
In the wake of Title IX, we built them a ballpark, and they have come in overwhelming numbers. Title IX is one of the most successful civil rights legislations this country has ever enacted. It must be protected.
Is this the forefront of modern civil rights battles? Righting sexism is historical levels of sport interest? Dream of a day when women’s sports can prove as large a distraction from academics as men’s sports are. Tear down that ballpark. Build a lab or something.