In the continuation of Chapter 7, Rhoads explains the benefits of sports to women. It provides medical benefits, self-esteem benefits and helps with confidence leading to success in careers. The discussion of Title IX in all of this brings up the question, is something being forced on women or is it providing opportunities?
Team sports in particular can take women beyond the small groups they tend to gravitate toward and get them competing, cooperating, and striving to reach larger goals. (Page 174)
Parents often involve their kids in sports to keep them active, socialize and experience activities like they did. Studies show that both mothers and fathers can live vicariously through their children when they play sports. Studies also show that as children get older, more and more girls drop out.
They tend to think of themselves more as cheerleaders. They think about dating and not wanting their hair messed up. They get distracted. (Page 174)
Rhoads explains that as girls enter their teens, their estrogen levels increase leading to a preference for cooperation over competition and an “increasing gender gap” in the amount of boys and girls in sports. And as he learns from college coaches, women that compete on that level search for a strong team relationship as they stay involved. Sports that seem synonymous with girls include: figure skating, gymnastics and cheer leading. However, cheer leading is not considered a sport under Title IX.
The Office of Civil Rights deems that at least half of their appearances must be in a competitive setting, or their activity is not a sport. (Page 178)
Title IX gives assistance to women who compete in sports. But since cheer leading and competitive dance are not considered sports, it’s not covered in Title IX funding. But, if a woman wants to play crew, she can get funding under Title IX, even though she has never played.
Taking sex differences seriously means that we look into the mirror and become honest with ourselves about Title IX. Is it healthy for us? Or should we focus on providing opportunities for men and women to play whatever sport they would like to play through recreational leagues and clubs, rather than forcing funds to be used for students who may not necessarily be athletically qualified for a spot on a team?
I’ve played sports almost my entire life. From the pre-school co-ed YMCA league my Dad coached to the varsity girls soccer team, cross country team and tennis team, sports provided me with many opportunities for growth and development that I would have not gotten any where else. I do remember when I was on the co-ed teams and the trophies would be boys and I even had a co-ed basketball coach place the two girls on our team on the bench because he thought the boys would help us win (thus, I am not very good at basketball these days). The trophies have changed by now and there aren’t as many co-ed teams, but I do wish that my basketball coach would have just given me a try. It wasn’t a competitive league and if the boys and him were good enough that is where they should have been playing, but in a place where anyone of any level can join, it should not be forced to have numerical discrimination of boys and girls, and there shouldn’t be discrimination because of your sex. Title IX I believe had good intentions at the beginning, but then got to the point of forcing athletes to give up their spots for someone that wanted to play, but wasn’t good enough. In my opinion, I would have rather been on a lower team where I could have played than a higher team where I sat the bench and was given a spot. But, that happens quite a bit these days with Title IX.
How does all of this title IX business affect women? affect men? After reading the chapter over the last two weeks, has your mindset changed about what Title IX means? Why do you feel that way?