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There’s nowt so complicated as folk

To begin today, first a necessary disclaimer paragraph or two.

Women and men – never mind anyone technically (physically or mentally) somewhere in between – are simultaneously both very similar and very different. I’d suggest that logic and scientific research tells us this, though no doubt even this simple and tentative statement could and probably would be challenged by campaigners possessed of different viewpoints in terms of both principle and fact.

On the Rust we sometimes joke about the propensity of the world’s media one week to announce authoritatively that margarine is healthier for you than butter, that a glass or red wine a day is good for you, that pregnant women are prey to ‘baby brain’ scatty-ness, that the sperm of men over 40 is increasingly less fertile, that an aspirin a day guards you against a multitude of ailments … and then, the next week, pronounce with just as much zeal that the complete opposite is true.

Here’s a link to the sort of media story to which I refer – this one on the benefits of would-be male fathers of drinking coffee and/or tea every day, as appears today upon the website of the – DAILY MAIL

The ordinary punters in the street, certainly we older ones, could be forgiven for recoiling from the ubiquitous and frenzied 21st Century world of social media communication which – on the face of it – allows each and every crackpot theory to peddle itself (unadorned, unchecked and unchallenged) with just as much ‘authority’ as any theory produced after thirty years of research by the most advanced and scientifically-careful centres of university and/or governmental research.

Some would argue this is a plus, others that the absence of any supervisory control is a fundamental and fatal flaw because it allows the even the most mentally-challenged, stupid, misguided, brainwashed and/or evil and damaging/deranged to provide or find ‘supporting’ evidence for their ideas and ideologies. And thereby influence others.

Personally, I feel that some strange and/or unfortunate things on the planet – especially in the human world – exist and, like them or loathe them, we just have to get on with them, whatever they are and however they affect us individually or collectively. At the end of the day it was ever thus.

I also accept that – this perhaps a product of evolution in all species – historically the vast bulk of ‘societies’ are male-dominated.

The human race is unique in that it can rationalise such concepts as fairness, inequality and the notion that the weak, the disadvantaged, the broken and the disabled have as much right as anyone else to exist and to be treated with respect and dignity.

That said, the rise of campaigning political-correctness brings with it confusing degrees of illogicality and/or complexity.

Especially when it comes to sport.

Take football. In the UK we have been mounting a massive initiative to raise the profile and importance of the women’s game. It’s early days yet, of course, but – as happens in all walks of life – if you can commandeer the forces of the media to promote your cause you can make great strides.

Thus these days we are subjected to the phenomenon of developments in women’s football and now live matches at both club and international level being broadcast being given as much airtime and ‘prominence’ as those in the men’s game.

Even though Women’s Super League games are lucky to attract more than 2,500 paying spectators, the quality of the games is debatable at best and – frankly – if ‘the law of the jungle’ that exists generally in human society applied also to women’s football, the female version of the sport would barely merit a footnote, the chief motivation of its average television viewer being curiosity not entertainment.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, it seems to me that behind the laudable goals of promoting female sport – and thereby female health and fitness in an age where endless hours spent on social media, obesity and poor diets dominate the existences of the young – there is a misguided notion that female ‘inequality’ can be corrected by positive action.

To be specific, the theory runs that if elite male footballers can earn £250,000 per week, then their female counterparts should also be so entitled.

[The supposed logic runs “For men and women to be equal, as in this day and age they should be, they should be paid the same rate for doing the same job” – in this case playing top flight club and/or international football.]

I don’t need here to spend too long pointing out the flaw(s) in that logic.

On the same basis if, for example, the men’s Barcelona team plays in front of a crowd of 80,000 every week and attracts a £50 million sponsorship deal with Nike, then (obviously?) its female equivalent should be also so entitled.

I don’t get it.

And then there’s the elephant in the room of the ‘equality’ argument to which, of course, the PC brigade wisely wishes to to turn a blind eye or ignore.

Taken to its logical conclusion, real equality will only be reached when there is no ‘women only’ sport. And no transgender category either, while we’re at it.

Why? Because plainly – in a true equality situation – there’d be no need for them. Every gender and every minority would be competing alongside the very well-paid males players or competitors. And then receiving such remuneration as was due to anyone achieving their goals and attendant rewards.

One story that appears today on the newspaper websites is about a new initiative in motor racing designed to promote the entry of female drivers into Formula One – here’s a link to an example, penned by Giles Richards for – THE GUARDIAN

Even this is fraught with complications. Whilst there are many supporting and applauding this well-intentioned development, it also seems that there are just as many who oppose it.

My only comment is that the PC drive to advance the cause of elite female sport is a many-faceted and troubled issue which I shall always have difficulty getting my head around.


About J S Bird

A retired academic, Jeremy will contribute article on subjects that attract his interest. More Posts