The Thinking 

Maybe Women’s Basketball Fans Should be Paid

October 23, 2012


GENO AURIEMMA, the prominent women’s basketball coach at the University of Connecticut, has an idea for getting more people to watch the women’s games. He wants the standard height of the rim to be lowered about seven inches. That way the ball will get in the basket more often (or at least I think that’s how it works.)

According to CBS News, Auriemma said:

What makes fans not want to watch women’s basketball is that some of the players can’t shoot and they miss layups, and that forces the game to slow down.

This would be very, very funny if it weren’t for all the money and high-priced careers riding on women’s college basketball at a time when men’s college sports teams are curtailed to comply with Title IX, the coercive scheme for equality in sports.

Auriemma is actually hoping that women’s basketball will become as popular as women’s volleyball even though the aesthetics, so to speak, of the two sports are vastly different. Women basketball players are warriors in shorts. Women’s volleyball players are pert girls in underwear. One is machismo and the other soft porn.

I don't get it. Why don't people want to watch women's basketball?


— Comments —-

Karen C. writes:

I think it’s unfair to characterize volleyball as “soft porn” and ” women in underwear”. There is a big difference in the uniforms of traditional volleyball and beach volleyball. It’s true that some volleyball teams use short shorts, but that is not universal and even those uniforms are not nearly revealing as a gymnastics uniform, swim suit or even a ballerina’s outfit. I’m not in favor of taking away men’s sports in favor of women’s, but women should be allowed outlets for sport as well. Volleyball is a non-contact sport (apart from accidents) and takes skill, finesse and teamwork as opposed to brute strength. I don’t see why it would be so wrong for a women to participate in sport for fun. It’s important to stay active and healthy, no matter what your vocation in life is going to be.

Laura writes:

The volleyball uniforms at the University of Connecticut are not as bad as those for beach volleyball but they’re still immodest. I don’t think there are more fans for volleyball than for basketball because it’s a more exciting sport.

Here are some previous posts on women’s athletics. Ruthlessly competitive sports, in my opinion, do not benefit women. And when women perform in skimpy outfits they invariably draw attention that has nothing to do with athletics. It’s undignified and debases women.

Buck writes:

Anyone who denies that it is sex and titillation that brings the viewers to women’s and girl’s volleyball and gymnastics, and its opposite that turns viewers away from female basketball is clueless.

Karen C. writes that she thinks it’s “unfair to characterize volleyball as ‘soft porn’ and ‘women in underwear.’ How can anyone not understand why the female and male players dress so differently?

If I allowed my daughter to play in a uniform bottom that is most often no more than what she should be wearing under her clothes or if she is forced by regulations to wear a designer’s extremely tiny bikini bottom to compete in the Olympics, I would cringe (internally and hypocritically) as I sit “proudly” in the viewing stands or at home on the couch, or in a sports bar watching her perform along with titillated non-fathers. To say that it is “unfair” is to defy and deny nature.

It’s not unfair to our daughters if it is they (in agreement or conflict with their mothers) who choose to dress and act with no modesty. If it is unfair to anyone, it’s unfair to men, but not the players. Male volleyball players don’t wear tiny bikini bottoms except as underwear under their large baggy uniform shorts. Females are forced to wear tiny bikinis while males are prohibited from playing shirtless. Why? It’s ridiculous; why would anyone want to repeatedly dive into the sand wearing only a tiny sand trap over the very small place that you least want to trap sand? Why don’t they demand the right to dress like the men? Ironic, isn’t it? The hypocrisy is very thick. Nearly naked attractive females gets ratings. Ratings bring these unfairly treated women endorsements, money and fame. These aren’t stupid females. They know that sexy sells and makes profitable careers out of playing games.

Tangentially; I find it mind boggling to see an endless variety of “dressed” females, young and mature, who are constantly (often every couple of seconds) tugging and pulling and adjusting at the very clothes that they demand the right to wear; when the skimpy, too tight, too short, too revealing clothes are making them so unbearably and obviously self-conscious that they can not relax in public for even a second. It so obvious and contradictory that it has to be a mental or psychological defect or obsession. Or a disease.

Why do the very young female Olympic gymnasts pose as young girls in tight skin-like outfits for magazines and web sites if it is only their athletic prowess being admired? So their parents can be proud? So that women can be proud?

The hypocrisy and dishonesty rampant in our sex driven society is off the charts. Sex is the first thought and the first opportunity seized at the instant that any women reveals her natural beauty outside of her own bedroom. That bedroom is now an open venue available around the world.

Laura writes:

To say that it is “unfair” is to defy and deny nature.

Well said.

Amy H. writes:

In general, I don’t think girls or women playing sports is the worst thing they could be doing, but I do understand and agree with your point about sports encouraging an aggressiveness and masculine style of competitiveness that women may not necessarily or naturally feel.

I was not given to athletics as a child. My hand-eye coordination makes me look like the worst of bumblers on a field with any type of object: balls, frisbees, bats. I much preferred running and riding my bicycle, and ballet, as physical activity.

My mother played field hockey and basketball in high school. She was not seeking athletic scholarships or Olympic fame; at that time (she graduated high school in ’72), she was looking for something to do to make friends and socialize. Her parents had moved from the city to the country, and if she wanted to see her friends, she needed to do it at school. Playing sports extended some of her socialization time before she returned home to help with her younger brothers and sister. I love looking at those old pictures of my mom in her uniforms, which are a far cry from the way young girls dress today. Whether playing field hockey or basketball, the girls all wore jerseys with sleeves that came to just above the elbow, modest v-neck collars, and knee-length skirts with bloomers underneath. The girls had a code of conduct to obey as well: grades must be kept above a “C” level, no loitering about the school building, no cavorting with boys in an unchaperoned fashion, dressing formally before and after all games home or away, and obedience to a curfew were a few of the rules. And this was at a PUBLIC SCHOOL! I almost can’t believe that a public school would expect so much out of its student athletes, especially at that time when a liberal mindset was falling like a shroud over the last bastions of respectable America.

Perhaps it is not sports that are to blame, but the ever eroding set of standards of femininity and good conduct to which girls are no longer expected to adhere. We expect our girls to be boys in every sense, often going against their nature. My own experience with the aggressiveness of sports, and by extension academic competition with other girls and boys, made me feel constantly frustrated by the daily failure when I could not direct my intelligence and interests into pursuits of my choosing, lest I let the entire feminist ethos crumble into dust by not being a woman and a man, too.

Art writes:

Volleyball uniforms seemed to have lead the way in exercise wear that shows a lot of leg. In Japan, one of the most common gym uniforms since the late 60’s was simply spandex bloomers and a T shirt, partially to imitate the uniforms used in the 1964 Olympics.

Mary writes:

Buck wrote: “Females are forced to wear tiny bikinis while males are prohibited from playing shirtless. Why? It’s ridiculous; why would anyone want to repeatedly dive into the sand wearing only a tiny sand trap over the very small place that you least want to trap sand? Why don’t they demand the right to dress like the men?”

I hate to say it but I’m not sure any of these women athletes are “forced” to wear the uniforms they wear. If they found them that distasteful they surely would have quit whatever sport was involved long ago. I think the problem is that modesty is leached out of girls in school, at home if they are exposed to a lot of trashy TV, in gym class and by extension in sports.

In “health” and sex ed classes, girls are taught that they should love their bodies, not be ashamed or embarrassed of them, everything’s perfectly natural, etc. Girls get terrible messages from movies, TV and magazines in regards to modesty. In gym class, girls are treated just like boys in regards to the locker room all through middle school and high school; there are no provisions for privacy whatsoever. As a result, female athletes simply don’t feel uncomfortable with exposing their bodies. I’m guessing they would think it quaint that we are concerned.

Amy H.’s mother sure was lucky.

Laura writes:

Mary writes:

As a result, female athletes simply don’t feel uncomfortable with exposing their bodies.

I agree. But this loss of sensitivity is a terrible thing. It means they have lost the distinction between the public and private. They have lost the ability to have a meaningful inner life, and to think. They have been turned inside out.

Mary writes:

Laura wrote: “They have been turned inside out.”

Exactly. Their interior lives have been destroyed. Without an interior life a spiritual life is impossible which is perhaps the most tragic thing of all, for they will not be whole.

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