A few years ago I made some trouble with a piece about women's sports that pointed out that women really can't compete with men on the playing field. I was egged on by ads from Gatorade and Nike and the WNBA which all carried the same general theme: Women are just as strong and fast and athletic as men are. Which is crazy. The most telling of the examples I found was Marion Jones, whose 2000 Olympic gold medal performance in the 200m would have earned her a fourth-place finish in the high school boys state finals that year in New Jersey.
It seems that the political line has changed on women's sports, as now exemplified by a new Nike ad:
"Are boys bigger, stronger, and faster? Yes. Is that all that has to do with being an athlete? No."
"It's not a girl thing. It's not a boy thing. It's a skills ["skillz"? -ed] thing."
Well, okay. Except that the logic of this points either to (a) uni-sex professional sports leagues, or (b) no longer bothering to keep score. (We'll leave aside that on the question of skills, too, men tend to be better than women. If you have any doubts, watch the passing and dribbling during a WNBA game some time.)
In another set of Nike ads for the U.S. women's World Cup team, the slogan tells us that they're "The best team you never heard of."
What I don't understand is why there's this vaguely accusatory stance from women's sports. Why do we have to pretend that female athletes are something that they're not? Shouldn't it be enough to appreciate them on their own terms?
51 minutes ago